Friday, December 22, 2006

More teaching stories

One of my favorite classes is my Level 1, which is kids who are just starting to learn English. They range from 7 to 12 yrs old in American years and there are only 11 of them. Most of them are really enthusiastic and want to participate. Of course, they barely know any English but it still goes pretty well.

In the front row there is this kid, Michael, who is only six and such a sweet kid but so hyperactive. Literally, we will be drilling a sentence pattern or something and I will talk to him one second and the next second I look over and his feet are on the chair and his arms are under the desk or he's beating himself on his head with his book or something. He has this school uniform and it has a number that velcros onto the front of it and during reading he stood up on his desk adn put the velcro number over his eyes. I was like, "Michael, what are you doing?" and he said "I am Spiderman!" just so crazy. Next to him sits this tiny girl, Tina- she is so shy, she always just whispers the answers and like once a class I can get her to smile. Michael is always climbing on top of her or accidentally kicking her (when he's spinning around his desk) and she just shields her face and keeps working. She is so cute.

This past week we had oral tests. The Hess mascot is a hippo and they have these hippo puppets and a lot of times I will play games where the kids use the hippo to talk, and I knew the kids would be scared of the oral test so I let them use the hippos to talk. I tried to take the more shy/ quiet students first so they wouldn't be nervous- they were doing other activities while I took them out one by one for oral tests. I left Michael for the end because I figured he would not get scared. Anyways when I went to get him he was just sitting quietly and just kind of flopped the hippo onto the table, whereas usually he would be jumping around with it. So we got through the first couple of questions (What is your name, is this your pencil) and then I asked "How are you?" and he thought real hard and said "I..." and then in Chinese "My stomach hurts." So I said "Do you have to go to the bathroom?" and he just looked at me so I asked him in Chinese and he nodded real hard and went. I asked one of the people who works in the office to ask him in Chinese if he was OK and needed to go home and she was like "He needs to finish the oral test first!" He went to the bathroom a couple more times and I thought he was sick but later that class we played games and at first he just sat there but afterwards he was back to his old crazy self. I just hope he was not so nervous it made him sick!

For the rest of the class we just played games. They have this thing called a sticky ball that is basically a ball w/ suction cups so you can throw it at the white-board and it sticks. Supposedly it is the refuge of lazy teachers b/c it's so easy to play games with it but I used it that night. I drew a bunch of circles w/ vocab words in it and a kid would throw the ball and make a sentence (I have a cat or This is a farm). And if they missed a circle they had to say "Teacher, I love you!" And when that lost its punch, they had to sing "Teacher, I love you!" So most of the little kids would hit a circle sometimes and miss it sometimes, and the bigger kids kept trying to throw it too hard & missing, but little Tina would hit a circle every time, and always the ones with the easiest words (ie, cat or dog instead of frog or otter). So I thought it would be fun to have like Tina against the class, like have her compete against the big kids. So she hit the circle one time and then realized she would keep having to throw if she kept hitting it, so her very next throw she misses and almost before the ball hit the board she said "Teacher, I love you" and sat down. It's funny how sharp some of these kids are. And other kids how you can play the same trick a hundred times and they never catch on.

No comments: