Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Here is a post I put in a word document a while ago, about my first day of teaching.
Monday~ My first day of teaching! I was teaching Level 6 kids, who have been learning English for about a year and a half. Each level lasts 3 months and has two tests, which consist of a written test & an oral test with me. This happened to be the day of the oral test, and supposedly kids are extremely scared of the oral test even when they know the teacher. So for the first 20 minutes I reviewed and got the kids laughing and stuff. The unit included stuff about playing sports and getting injured, and one of the questions on the test is “Are you OK? Is your arm broken?” so I asked them if my arm was broken and then did the double-jointed elbow thing. Apparently it will be as popular with 8-year-olds in Taiwan as it was with 8-year-olds in America.
Then I had to take them into the hallway one by one and ask them ten questions. They were so cute. One weird thing is that the kids are grouped by level (how long they've been learning English at Hess, basically) instead of by age, so I had these 10-year-old kids who were just rattling off answers, and then these tiny little kids who could barely whisper an answer. A big part of the oral tests is to encourage the kids to speak English, so you score them out of 30 and the lowest grade I gave was a 29 (on the advice of the Chinese co-teacher). And that was for kids for whom I had to tell them the answer and repeat it a couple of times before they would repeat it somewhat correctly. But I kept thinking, I couldn't answer most of these questions in Chinese!
Another big mistake was that I thought a few of the girls were boys... it was before I knew their names, and some of the boys have long hair and girls have short hair and a lot of people in Taiwan have what my training group referred to as the Chinese Mullet- it's not quite the classic American mullet but still this shaggy layered mullety thing. Plus a bunch of kids had on this khaki school uniform that made them all look like boys. Anyways, I pointed to this one kid like 5 times to say “Is he standing? Is he sitting down?” etc. and finally this kid was like “Teacher, not he, she!” :I But Chinese people always mix up he and she because it's the same word in Chinese, so maybe they thought I was just testing them... but how horrible is that? To be scared of the new teacher and then have her call you a boy.

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