Friday, June 24, 2011

A Long Week

Sometimes in teaching, a week can go by really quickly.  Perhaps students are on break, taking tests, or participating in some kind of activity that makes the school week go by quicker for you.  Other times, the week can seem like it will never end, especially when you've been spoiled the weeks prior.

This week was plenty long for many of us, I suppose, as it was open class week.  All of the new teachers at Samyook were observed by the principal, vice principal, and various Korean teachers in order to learn more about our teaching styles.  Last week was open class week for the returning teachers.  I spent the good part of this week preparing for my open class, which happened today.  I was a little nervous, however, because the teachers were going to observe my first grade Level B class, who are notorious for having behavior and attention issues.  I worried that the teachers and administrators wouldn't be happy with how the class was progressing, even though I try very hard to help the students learn their phonics vocabulary.

Teaching first grade has been quite a different challenge than when I taught kindergarten students my first year in Gwangju.  Like I mentioned, behavior and attention are the main issues, and the usual discipline and reward system hasn't seemed to click with these students as it did before.  I try very hard to be firm with the students, but not angry at them.  What a balance that is!

I prepared a PowerPoint of the vocabulary we are studying (Long E words), made flashcards with pictures, and a review worksheet to go with their book work.  We went over the words together, did the book work, played a game, and then had the worksheet as a kind of test to see what they had learned that day.  I think it went well considering that most of the students were antsy to misbehave like they would have if someone else wasn't watching them.  I could almost hear the collective sigh of relief when the bell rang and class ended.

But that is over (at least until next semester) and now I can breathe a sigh of relief as well.  Looking forward to vacation coming up in 4 weeks; I can't believe it's almost July already.  It seems like just a little while ago I was at home, readying myself to come back and start the school year in March.  Time has flown!

In other things, rainy season has shifted into full gear.  With it is the constant mugginess and the feeling like you need a cool shower 24/7.  The first thing I do upon entering any room at school or my apartment is to turn on the AC.  That's the only thing that keeps me from melting into puddles all over the floor.  Outside however, not so lucky.

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