Saturday, October 20, 2007

English camp, week 2

Today was the second week of teaching English to kids. Last week went sort of rough, none of the new teachers had any idea what was going on and things were pretty hectic. Before I went to class I actually made a neat lesson plan, I got a short story off of the interwebs and found all of the words that the kids wouldn't know, then I illustrated those words with pictures. I planned to use my laptop to project this in the classroom so that all the kids could follow along with what I was reading and not get lost. However, when I went to the pre-class meeting, I found out that we would not actually be holding class in the main building, but in the HIS building, which is the international high school for professors' children and the like. It turned out that these rooms did not have projectors, and I was caught without a decent lesson plan that I could actually do. I fell back on the textbook material.

My first class, which I suspect fears me, was again quiet. With this class it's mostly me trying to get the kids to do something...anything related to English. Most of the time, they just pretend not to know what I'm saying, which is very frustrating because I can't get anyone to participate, which is something that the class material depends upon. It relies on the kids getting involved, or at least responding to what the teacher says to make the lesson complete. I couldn't get any of the ideas that the book suggested to work. (Do a play of the short story, have kids act out actions related to the short story, etc. This class wouldn't have any of it, and mostly it ended up being me standing in front of the class trying to find more material to present or some busywork for the kids to do. There's not really any other option when the book's lesson only takes 5 minutes because the teacher can't get anyone to do anything.

Fortunately, however, the other two classes went just fine. We covered the same material, but the kids would actually get involved instead of cowering in fear of the giant white man. The second class started...strangely, with several of the boys rubbing my arm in disbelief that there was such a thing as arm hair. At least these students would do something other than sit in their desks with the mouths glued shut. The planned book material didn't fly here either, but this time because the teacher that had just taught the previous session taught the material that I was planning on using. I ad-libbed with some work that had been skipped over previously, and it worked out fine. At the end of class some of the kids starting writing on the whiteboard in Korean, I was sort of worried it might be swear words or something, but nobody really reacted to it. The english caption underneath was 'she old'. I don't know who 'she' is but I thought she'd not be pleased, so I had the kids erase it before I left for the next class. (The kids stay in one room, teachers shift around)

My third class is rather good. They're the most competent of the classes, and will get all the work done that I ask them to do, as soon as they figure out what it is that they want. Some of them even volunteer information when I ask a general question. (One student knew what 'Jamaica' and 'carnival' meant, and accurately too) Most of the kids(in general) are good with reading English, but the speaking and listening is not so great. We got through twice the material that the other classes did with ten minutes to spare. The third period turns into homeroom when the class period ends, so I decided to start homeroom early. This time is generally to check homework(none this week), give handouts(also none) and take attendance, which I had done earlier. The kids were slightly amused/confused by the pronunciation of their Korean names, but we got through it. I had my laptop with me because I had been planning to do the projected lesson, so I decided to reward their good behavior with a little bit of Toy Story 2, which I happened to have. We had about 25 minutes, so there's plenty of incentive material left for them. I'd really like to find some subtitled movies so that they can be reading as they listen, because that would really help them with the subject. Because my laptop has little laptop speakers, all the kids had to be quiet to listen to the movie, and soon enough they all were. There was some confusion just after the movie started, however. One girl made an objection of "No movie, head cut" with a somewhat pained/concerned expression on her face. I thought she meant that her parents wouldn't let her watch the movie, and that they'd cut off her head if they found out. While I was trying to find out just what the problem was, if there was anything else we could watch, it came out that she just couldn't see the screen because other student's heads were in the way. After some chair scuffling we got back to the movie. At one point Mark(bossman) came in and didn't seem to take offense that the lights were out and everyone was staring at my laptop, so I think he's okay with it. Mark, if you're reading this, is it okay to watch movies during homeroom? Also, any chance at rooms with projector next week?

Anyway, I realized that I had previously agreed to attend a birthday party tonight at 6, and I realized that the post-class meeting was at 6. After some deliberation, I decided to go directly to the party(do not pass go) because I didn't have any concerns to express at the meeting and I hadn't really gotten anything out of last week's meeting. It turns out that somebody had brought birthday cake to the meeting, so I got only one chance at birthday cake, instead of two like the people who went to the meeting first and were late for the party. Oh well, I guess the meeting was mostly birthday party anyway. (Sorry Mark!)

Here are some pictures. I've put my camera in my backpack so that I'll have it with me now, so perhaps you can expect more pictures in the future. Perhaps.

The kids in my third class. Studious, aren't they?

Happy Birthday!

I don't remember why I decided to upload this picture.

Peace to you too!

Guess what kind of cake this is. Hint: It's green on the inside.
It's green tea. Weird, eh? Green tea is a popular flavor for everything here.

Essra being funny with the cake lid.

If you point a camera at any given Korean, there's a 96& chance that they'll throw up a peace sign. Point in case: random student working to food counter, whom I do not know.


Valerie and an unnamed bystander caught offguard. I expect to die tomorrow by Valerie's hand.

I tried to take a picture with Joe, but it seems that I accidentally eclipsed him.

More birthday festiveness.

This is what you see if you look down a table full of Koreans eating. Note the peace sign.

I was caught off guard when this picture was taken, which is why I'm not making a serious face. Birthdays are serious business. And no, I haven't had a haircut in a while.

Tyrell is very open to the power of suggestion. I told him to open his mouth, so he did.

If you tell him to kill people, he'll do that too. Toy guns here don't have the orange tip. Private gun ownership is illegal here, so maybe that's why- although I don't think it's a good idea to assume that anyone not in uniform and carrying what appears to be a gun has a plastic toy.

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