Monday, Wednesday, Friday we are going to be teaching at LangCon Academy all day. Tuesdays and Thursdays we will teach one class in the beginning, and then go to a different school that has the same owner. For what reason I am not sure, we are not going to the Tuesday/Thursday school until after we have our visas. No one seems to really know what is going on... and whenever we ask questions people turn and ask other questions in rapid Korean as we sit and patiently await our answer. Often they tell us they will go ask someone else and get back to us, to never return. Other times our response is, “Tomorrow, I will find out.” We have just decided to do whatever they tell us to do, and go wherever they tell us to go.
I will be teaching five classes at LangCon Academy. All of my classes are the same subject: Telescope. The names of the classes make no sense to me, but whatever. My students are between the ages of 8 and 10. The subject is working on basic words and concepts on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. On Wednesday it is learning about other things like Mammals, Birds, Transportation, Jobs, etc.
My first class was a hand full. There are only 6 kids, but it felt like 30! Two of the boys kept hitting each other and wouldn’t stop. One boy, Sunny kept calling me Miss Crazy. He then got the rest of the class to start yelling “MISS CRAZY! MISS CRAZY!” I wrote my name on the board and told them that no, my name was Miss Giese. I asked them if we could say it together, and they all started saying MISS CRAZY! MISS CRAZY!
I started writing the rules on the board.
Rule 1. No Korean
Rule 2. Raise your hand
Rule 3. No food
Rule 4. No Cell Phones
Rule 5. Respect
We are not allowed to have the kids speak Korean. Done. The punishment for speaking Korean is 5 minutes in a time out in the corner.
Raise your hand. Should be easy enough. Wrong.
No food. Easy.
No Cell Phones. You’d be surprised but most of the tiny kids have cell phones. The punishment for using your cell phone: I take it away and give it back tomorrow.
Respect. Their response: blank stares. I tried to explain it, but not one of my classes understood the concept of respect.
My troublesome first class got no better after the rules. I had to separate the two boys so they would stop hitting each other. As one of the boys moved down a chair - the other kids responded with “bye!!”
Sunny needed a time out because he wouldn't stop speaking in Korean. I told him to go sit in the corner, and he responded with, "NO!"
"Yes, the rule is no Korean. Only English in the classroom. You already had one warning, now you need to sit in the corner for a time out."
"Sunny, get in the corner."
"NO!!!!! NO!!! MISS CRAZY, NO!!!"
"Yes, Sunny, you need to sit in the corner. You can't speak Korean in the classroom."
-- blank stare --
I'm not really sure what did it, but he got in the corner and behaved the rest of the class. I'd like to say the same about the next day. This will no doubt be my most troublesome class.
My third class of my MWF schedule might be my favorite. I have four students: Brian, Angela, Kate, and Gary. Gary is extremely cute! He has the most squinty eyes I have ever seen. I am not usually sure if his eyes are open or closed. He blinks rapidly and is always smiling and giggling. Angela is a little weird. She loves to hold my hand and make weird faces. She follows me around wherever I go... and I don't just mean following, I mean literally six inches away from me wherever I go. Brian is a little shy, and Kate seems bored with a lot of things... but when she understands concepts she gets extremely excited.
My last class of my MWF classes has just two students, Amy and Max. They are my oldest students at age 10. It is absolutely impossible to get these kids to speak. I could say anything, do anything, make a weird sound, funny face... anything - and I can barely get a noise out of them. It is like trying to teach a brick wall the concept of warm-blooded mammals. Impossible. We started playing hangman at the end of class, and I would say, "Guess a letter!"
"Any letter... guess any letter. Here, let me give you a clue."
"Are you sure you understand the rules?"
"Okay, then guess a letter!"
My Tuesday/Thursday class has seven students. Two of which are named Sally. Now, if you have two students with the same name, you can call one by a nick name... or with the first letter of their last name. Impossible when a Korean child is given one English name. There is no last name or nickname. So I call them Sally 1 and Sally 2. They don't really understand this concept, but I'm sure we will work something else out.
I don't know how I did it, but I managed to make Sally 2 cry on the first day. I couldn't get her to stop. She had to be escorted out of class by a Korean speaking person. She returned 10 minutes later, still crying... with a Korean teacher sitting next to her. She sat, sniffling in class, trying to follow along. I later found she doesn't know how to read... and when I asked her to read to the class, she couldn't do it. I am not sure how this happened, because the students are tested in to the level they are in. Sometimes, parents want their children to be in a higher level than they were placed so they force them in to a higher level and they have no idea whats going on. Sally 2 will be under observation in the next week or so and we will see if she should be placed elsewhere.
After our fist day of class, I made that meal of mushed meat that we got at the grocery store with Howard. I have included some pictures of the process... hope you enjoy!