Archive for the ‘2.2’ Category
This week we’re playing a review game in class, so whenever I walk down the halls in the second grade building I get students yelling at me “TEACHER! Come into our class!” which is sweet and all, but I try not to let it get to my head, seeing as they’re doing it because they know it’s a game day. On a normal day, it’s nothing like that.
Today as I walked down the hall 2.2 students (girls, by the way. 16 year old girls) pressed their faces up to the window and started yelling at me.
Emily Teacher! Today you are most beautiful!
Ah! Your dress! It is very blue!
Your face is so white and shiney!
YOUR HAIR IS LIKE BABY.
Your stockings are so schexy!
… my hair is like baby. I can’t even…
Today is Teacher’s Day, which means that unlike childrens’ day (where children don’t have to go to school) we go to school and do our thing as per usual. However, since I arrived this morning there have been random bursts of song coming from various classrooms, cakes produced out of thin air, and flowers arriving in the teacher’s office. Probably the cutest thing I’ve seen today was when a bunch of male third grade students came back into the second grade building to give their old homeroom teacher a present.
First period I taught 2.2, and they were very sad because they had bought their homeroom teacher a cake, but though he was very flattered he wanted them to eat and enjoy it and so wouldn’t touch any of it. They then asked me if I wanted some, and I tried to give them the same reasoning that their homeroom teacher gave them, and they wouldn’t take no for an answer, so we finished class 10 minutes early and ate cake. Then fourth period I taught 2.4 who told me it was Teacher’s Day (but didn’t wish me a happy Teacher’s Day) and when I asked if they got something for their homeroom teacher they responded “no,” so it’s not all cuteness and cake over here.
Neither American nor Korean education is perfect, but in my opinion if there’s one thing that Korea does unequivocally better it’s acknowledging and respecting teachers. From my experience this is shown internally (how students and teachers interact, how the administration deals with teachers) and on a broader scale (in terms of salary and prestige being a teacher is a highly sought-after job).
So, to all my fellow teachers out there, happy Teachers Day!
The girls in my 2.2 class just told me that with my new haircut I look like Jimmy Neutron.
So far this has been my hardest day, though I think that Friday will prove to be the most difficult (being my last day, and also my last class with class 2.1 – my advanced second grade students). I teach two of my best behaved classes on Wednesdays – class 2.6 (very low level, second grade, co-ed, approximately 10 students) and 2.2 (intermediate, second grade, co-ed, approximately 30 students – one of my two penpal project classes), and I also teach class 2.3 (low level, second grade, all girls, approximately 20 students) which is not exactly well-behaved, but well-meaning and full of spunk.
When I walked into class 2.6 today I found a giant pyramid of chocopies on my teacher’s podium, decorated with fish-flavored crackers, and I found out that there were only four out of my usual seven (which again, is out of my actual ten) students. Two students were sick, three were off doing sports things, and one was being disciplined. The four students that were there (three girls and a boy) participated well. It was actually interesting teaching only them – they are normally the shyest students in the class, and at the beginning of the year I couldn’t get them to talk. This class was my most difficult class in September 2010, and it’s become one of my favorites. Unfortunately the two girls that were sick, and one of the boys that was off doing sports things, are the three highest level English speakers in the class, and thus the ones that I end up talking to a lot outside of school and have really bonded with, and it was sad that I couldn’t say goodbye to them. I’ll have to go back to their homeroom later. Rose (her Korean name literally means Rose) is actually older than I am, has really awesome tattoos, and is an absolute sweetheart. The other girl is my only student that to date has written down everything I have written on the board. The other boy has a part time job and sometimes I see him late at night delivering pizzas. He runs with the cool gangster crowd, but every time he sees me says “hi” to me, which I think he gets some flak from them for doing. Not only does he say “hi” to me, he starts up conversations and makes them talk to me too.
before and after fish chip inspiration.
I left 2.6 late because I was chatting with them, then realized that I still needed to print papers for 2.2 which I was supposed to teach immediately afterwards. Therefore I ran to class, was a bit late, and didn’t think that it was odd that two students met me in the hallway and walked me into class.
On the chalkboard all the students had written messages to me (including my favorite message written by Smart Alec as I’m going to call him, which read “Hi Emily. I’m fine thank you and you?” – my least favorite phrase in the entirety of the English language) and they had a song cued up on the computer. Without missing a beat the students started singing at the top of their lungs. I didn’t catch all the words, but I caught “thank you.”
After class (where we played American Geography & Flat Stanley Penpal Project Jeopardy and then wrote letters to the new English teacher introducing ourselves) some students came up and gave me coffee, notes, and I even got one picture of me with some of the girls at Sports Day. I love this class, there are so many fun personalities. There’s Smart Alec who was the only boy in my winter English camp and totally lived it up, being a total, well, smart alec. There’s ILY Boy as I’m going to call him, who every time and everywhere I see him (much like I Miss You So Much(e)) starts screaming “EMILY TEACHER I LOVE YOU.” Literally everywhere. There’s my Piano Prodigy who every Tuesday and Thursday rides the train into Seoul and takes piano lessons there because she’s just that darn good, who also happens to be amazing at English. There’s Rock On Boy, who when the other students came to greet me, gave me a fist bump instead of a handshake and then bragged to his friends that we were friends on facebook. I Miss You So Much(e) also came into this class at the end to rub it in everyone’s faces that he would see me on Friday. He’s somehow taller than me now, I don’t know if that’s a recent development or he’s just always been taller than me and I never quite noticed…
During class they told me not to cry, and cheered when I promised to visit them. I made them promise to be nice to the new English teacher, and they harrumphed but obliged. I’m going to miss class 2.2 so much it’s not even funny… this is the closest I’ve come to crying over leaving yet.
Here are some excerpts from 2.2′s student notes. I debated whether or not to post these because they’re private letters, and also it seems somewhat self-serving, and like I’m trying to make myself seem like a better teacher than I am, but I decided to post them for numerous reasons, the biggest reason being that it’s my gosh darn blog, so I can do what I want with it ^_^. Also , because I’ll be moving around so much in the next few years, there’s a good chance I could lose these notes, which would be tragic, so if I post them here at least I’ll still have the message.
To. Emily teacher
Hi, Emily teacher ~~
Today of the last lesson. so, I’m sad.
In the meantime Sapgyo for high school passion very thanks and take the trouble ^_^
Spent with a teacher time I’ll never forget.
Do you know?
Emily techer is attitude makes popular with students.
You are the best a native speaking instructor I’ve ever had.
I hope you go to a new school that’s plug along.
Good luck <3
Bye ~ Bye~
Hi Emily! I’m Piano Prodigy.
I heard that you leave the Sapgyo high school. So, I’m very sad. ㅠ_ㅠ.
I’ll never forget recollection with you and Young Rim. (Cheonan).
Emily! thanks for teaching me.
When you teaching me I feel very happy and fun.
I never forget you. Contact me!
goodbye, I love you! <3
I then ended the day with class 2.3 which has always been a hit or miss class. They’re very sweet, and they’re very well-meaning, but they’re also very loud, which combined with the fact that they’re low-level, can be a difficult combination to work with. Started the class off on the wrong foot, when I went to their classroom and half the students were missing. The class captain then burst into the room, started screaming at another student, and wouldn’t answer any of my questions or even acknowledge me, then stormed out of the room. I immediately followed, yelling her name down the hall, as other students kind of stared at me, and she turned out of my sight around a corner. She then immediately came back, with a bunch of choco pies stacked into a cake along with the other half of the class. They weren’t late or disrespectful, they were just trying to surprise me. Oops.
They then sang me a song but my camera died halfway through, whoops.
Remember that pen pal project I’m doing with students? Almost everyday I receive pictures and a letter from someone writing to their Sapgyo High School penpal. I put the pictures onto Flickr and then I write the blog entry, and take the pictures from Flickr (to save space) and put them in the blog post. Then at the beginning of every class I choose one letter (I try to pick easy to understand letters, or letters from cool places with great pictures) to share with the class and we read through it and comprehend it together. After that I show all of the pictures from all of the other letters we received that week, give brief backgrounds about the people who went them and the locations of the letter, and then give physical copies of the letters to each student. I unfortunately don’t have time to go over all of the letters in detail with the whole class, but at least this way we can read one letter together, they can see all of the pictures, and people get physical copies of their individual letters.
It’s a fun project, but I’m never sure how much students are getting out of it. They’re always excited to receive letters, but how much do they pay attention to the letters versus the pictures? I tried to get people who live in many different places and have many different jobs and lifestyles to write back, do my students understand or internalize that at all? Do any of my students interact with the project outside of class?
I just found out that yes, in fact, at least some of the students are interacting with this project outside of class. A student dropped by the teacher’s office during the lunch period and asked for my help. She’s a 2nd grade intermediate student, which means she’s very busy, and spends most of her free time studying. She put down in front of me a letter she written to her penpal in response to his letter, and asked me to help her edit it. She was so pleased with her penpal’s letter, she wanted to write one back to respond and to say thank you. I never even suggested that students should write back, this was her idea entirely. I helped her edit it, and then she told me she would give me a copy so I could send it to her penpal. A student did work outside of class of her own free will, practicing English, because of my project. I feel really happy right now. Thanks everyone, who wrote a letter to a Sapgyo High School student – it means a lot to me, and it apparently means a lot more to them than I had thought or even hoped it would.