Wednesday, September 3, 2008


the majority of my walk to work

i teach 21 classes a week. at most i would teach 22, some of the native english teachers (as we are referred to) have 18. in my school there are 3 grades (it is middle school) and they are they are considered grades 1-3. each time they move up (from elementary to middle, from middle to high) they re-set to grade 1. so i have 7 classes with each grade & section (1-1, 1-2, 1-3, etc). 3 graders are by far the worst. i see each class once a week.

my classes, on average, have about 40 students in them, which is quite a lot of students, but since they sit in groups of 2, it somehow is less intimidating to see four rows with 5 units in them.

the scenic last 5 minutes of my walk to work

some basic differences in how the school is organized vs my experience in the west:
teachers go from room to room, the students have their space. this has positives (the emphasis is on the students, not the teachers) and some negatives (i cannot, for example set up an 'english zone' so that when students walk in they know they are in english class).

students have 7 periods, lunch is separate, and school is basically from 9am to 4pm. lunch is about 30 minutes, and they have two 15 minute breaks between periods throughout the day. they have class for half a day, two saturdays a month. i think that is a nice structure.

i have 4 co-teachers (their korean english teachers) and 3 of them are great, 1 is okay (competent, but shy) the other--and surprisingly the most experience--i dont like teaching with. she essentially abandons me, which is nerve racking as sometimes they do not want to talk, which is often when the korean co-teacher steps in to get things moving again.

this week has been horribly repetitive as i am just showing a power point of photos and talking about them. i only need come up with 3 lesson plans a week, but at least that will be 3 different 7 packs of lessons (i imagine the students later on in the week will benefit from the monday beta-testers) as opposed to "these are _ _ friends at my going away party" etc.

quickly learning power point

one thing i do enjoy quite a bit is the respect given to education as a whole, at least as i have experienced it. they seem to think it is interesting that i know about poetry and art, etc. also, when i show the slide with _ _ friends justin, ekrem, divya, and steve they all are very impressed when they find out they are getting advanced degrees or PhDs. literally 'ooohs' and 'ahhhs' and 'smart friends'.

that's enough for now, i need to prep a bit for next week.

the 24 convenience store (where 'billy' works) and i can sit and drink a beer not even in a brown bag


flight of clavicle said...

holy canoli, penguin books!

I love that our images have established you as
1. socially well adjusted
2. not racist
3. "smart"
4. able to brandish a camera

I've always wanted to be a prop in a grammatical exercise---I just never thought it would happen this way.

(also, I'm not Indian. Singaporean. Thanks a LOT, stud)

kevin.thurston said...

well, i said indian via singapore;)

the best part was my co-teacher saying 'not like..' then did the war dance type thing to which i shrieked and said, 'oh, sorry. we don't refer to them that way anymore.'

baby steps

(another post 'in the future' will deal with how i can't get as nuanced as i would like at nearly every turn)