Friday, September 7, 2012

A Class at My New School

I haven't been thoughtful enough to take pictures of my new school or my new classroom, but I did take a few shots of some fifth graders this week. They were studying the past tense of a set of irregular verbs, and the review activity I did was to give them cards with which to create a story.

There were three categories of cards, and sentences were to be constructed in the format [noun]+[verb]+[object], where the verb was in infinitive and had to be converted into past tense.

They have small size white boards and markers (which I asked for at Youngil but never ended up getting), and worked in their usual groups of three or four. Like so:



Cuties! And the fifth grade seems (after two weeks) to be a particularly good group. Since I bought my new Nikon D5100 for Christmas, the old single body Canon has been kept at school so I can capture the odd moment without having to plan ahead. My young, enthusiastic co-teacher had the idea to display the resulting stories around the room and borrowed enough fresh boards for all four classes' work to be lined up. Here are two examples from the first session (Ted, Amy and Suji are characters in the text):



Without at all meaning to disparage my high school boys, some of these fifth graders did work as good as a mediocre group of them might do. Also, despite the horror stories, teaching has not been a constant battle for attention and appropriate classroom behavior--if left unsupervised, of course they get rowdy, but so far they are obedient, polite and manageable. Except for two of the sixth grade classes ... where the stopwatch may be introduced.

It hasn't all gone swimmingly, as I think the Vice-principal finds it unforgivable that I won't do their "English Festival" one Saturday a month. I am already committed to my public speaking class on many Saturdays, where I make a ton of money and get to interact with the best and brightest from all over the southern district of Seoul. We had the candidate interviews last Saturday, and about 40 of the 70 who finished the vetting process would do quite nicely. But we only keep 20.

From the director of the program, I heard that someone at my new school had called the main office (I suspect the VP) to ask if I could be taken off the public speaking class. When the main office called him, he told them to go jump in a lake. This really burns me. I'm sure you know that I am not all about money--I regularly turn down work because time matters more to me, but I made the exception for this class. And this VP lady tried to take away a package of approx. 3.2 million won, in exchange for 4 Saturday mornings at 25,000 W per hour. Definitely uncool.

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