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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Favorites of Teaching : SA9

Ok, so as I was thinking about all of my favorites of teaching, I realized two things:  I have a LOT of favorites and they are most easily organized by classes.  So, I'm going to do a series of posts, focusing on one of my classes at a time.  Let me first give you some background.  Most of my classes I only teach once a week, for two hours at a time.  The kids usually come for another two hour class on a different day, with a CT (Chinese Teacher).  The exceptions are Jump, which I teach both days and Honors, where there's only the two hour class I teach and one CT hour right before it.  TMI, I know.  But, this is for my own records.  Here's the schedule:

- Early class = SA9 (kids are 10 or 11)
- Late class = KC8 (kids are 7 - 9)

- Early class = KC1 (kids are 5 - 10)
- Late class = Jump (kids are 3 - 7)

- Early class = KC5 (kids are 7 or 8)
- Late class = None

- Early class = None
- Late class = Honors (12 - 15)

- Early class = SA13 (11 - 13)
- Late class = Jump (3 - 7)

- Random, but mostly Society Class (9 - 11)

Today I'm going to tell you my favorite things about teaching my SA9 class.  They're great!  I love this class!  Probably my favorite student is this girl named Peggy.  She's skinny and leggy and a total tomboy with attitude and for some reason we connect really well.  She sits in the back next to her "friend" Sean, who's a really sweet boy.  They are reeeeally good friends and everyone always does the, "Peggy and Sean, sitting in a tree" type jokes about them.  The great thing about Peggy is that even though she's hoooorrible at writing and not that great at speaking either, she isn't afraid to try.  She talks more than most of my students and is always trying to explain something.  She's really creative and funny too, which is something I've come to really appreciate since most of my students are scared to death to speak in class.  Honestly, I don't care how bad the students' grammar is, if they will just try to muscle through it and express themselves in English I am overjoyed.  The class really has a lot of great kids, but I'll just mention two others.

One of them is Ray.  He is, by far, the best student in the class.  He is super studious and smart.  He always knows the answer and pays attention and is the type of student every teacher wants.  He's not full of himself or anything though.  He's really good at helping the other students and is patient if I have to take longer than he needs to explain things to the rest.  He's also super chubby, with big glasses, which is just endearing.

Finally, there's Henry.  My goodness.  Henry is a handful.  I'm positive the poor kid has ADD and luckily I'm pretty patient with high energy kids.  Honestly, I find them endearing (most of the time).  Maybe they just remind me of my brother :) .  Anyway, all the rest of the kids sit in these long desks that fit two or three (think old fashioned schoolroom), but Henry gets his own desk right at the front.  Right under my feet, it feels like.  I put three stars on the board at the beginning of class, just for him, and erase one each time he gets out of hand.  It works pretty well and I don't stress about him.  It's kind of a game between us.  He knows I like him, but he also knows he's a pill and we give each other knowing looks to this effect.  Some of his favorite things to do are stand up and jump around, yell whatever we are reading instead of just saying it, sing "baby, baby, baby, ooooh baby" over and over or, like last class, say, "Teacher, you are so handsome" over and over and over to me throughout the class.  Amazingly, he really is a favorite though.

The last time I taught this class, I noticed one of the girls, Lilyan, staring hard at my eyes with a really confused facial expression.  I asked her why and she just pointed to my face and said, "stick?"  I naturally assumed she meant, "are your eyelashes stick ons?" and answered with a matter of fact, "nope."  She didn't believe me, so we got the CT to translate and, sure enough, that really is what she meant.  This is just one example of the strangeness of normal day-to-day communication here.  There have been several instances when someone has said something in Chinese, but I've been able to understand what they were saying just by context and body language and it totally throws them off.

To finish off with this class, in the end, I just love that we have a good time together, that we laugh a lot and that we seem to have a real respect and enjoyment of each other.  There are times when I have to crack down hard and lay down the law, but a little bit seems to go a long way with them.  That's SA9!

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