Monday, 26 April 2010

Teaching...

This is a bit of a random post. I'm becoming tired with the lack of support that the school provides in terms of materials. It's not that they don't provide materials – it's that barely any of the classes have appropriate materials or realistic teaching times. The lessons are way too long. My 5 year old class, who are progressing to the next level next week and means I won't be teaching them, are just about teachable. They are lovely kids and mainly use the structures that I teach them to make fun of me, which is actually semi-successful because they are correctly using the language that I teach them... just not in the right context! I often hear "Mr Lee wears a dress" or "Mr Lee has a girlfriend", whichever incarnation manifests itself, the class usually erupts in laughter. They've even managed to progress to passing notes around the class – although they're not old enough to realise that when you pass notes around the classroom you're not supposed to pass them to the teacher as well! With all of this banter and an almost endless use of kinaesthetic activities and ball games – I can just about fill a 60 minute lesson! I used to fall asleep at university after 60 minutes – hence my horrific attendance when I was there! Keeping the attention of a group of 5 year olds using the book provided is practically impossible...




The book that the school provides for my 12 year olds is also useless. The books are really easy for the students and take about 20 minutes for them to complete the amount of course materials assigned to the 80 minute lesson. Again the duration of the lesson is too long! At least younger kids are quite eager to participate in activities, by the time they get to the age of 12 they have blackberries and other interests beside accusing the teacher of having a girlfriend! There are also only so many games that you can play to fill time during the lesson. These kids are about to become teenagers and are lazy so you have to be very firm and ordered with them in the classroom if you don't want them to start trying to take the piss out of you. I don't mind providing supplementary materials in any lesson but when I have four lessons in a day it's almost impossible to successfully do so with the lack of scope of the school's course materials...



Teaching teenagers in a private school context is becoming a lot less desirable than it was at first. They are usually late, unkeen and disinterested. Two of my teenage classes are particularly lazy and the younger ones in particular get a very hard time from me. Although that class is a group of cocky 15 year old boys and a girl that refuses to speak. I'm making a little headway with them but I've given up using the book they are supposed to use, because it's terrible. I just use my own contexts and cover the grammar and skills points that they are supposed to be learning. Although this approach is only ever semi-successful because I never have enough time to plan their lessons to the extent that I need to, in order to deliver a successful lesson... and that is without the prospect of having to teach two two-hour lessons in a row, after teaching two 80 minute lessons with only a ten minute break between the last two lessons! Alongside the perpetual issue of lateness which really frustrates me! I have had moderate success with the other two teenage classes that I teach... I've managed to conduct a speed-dating lesson, which was quite fun, although transmitting the idea was a little difficult at first! Quote 1 of the week comes from Joseph in that class – he's a westlife fan... enough said... – when asked if he'd ever been on a date with a girl he just looked at me and said "of course not..." and then looked at me as if that was the strangest question to ask a 17 year old boy! The other teenage class that I've been teaching consists of a core of 3 girls who are really clever and eager to learn. I always manage to deliver a semi-successful lesson and they really are a pleasure to teach. Although Jessica decided to inadvertantly insult me in our last lesson! While complimenting a colleague of mine on losing weight , she said to my colleague "Sir, I think you've lost some weight, have you? I wasn't too sure whether to mention it though... I'm not sure whether you look slimmer or if you just look thinner because you're standing next to Mr Lee!"... Thanks Jessica I'll be off to comfort eat some donuts to make myself feel better!



All of that aside I've managed to have some brilliant lessons with my business class. The books that we use for our business course are actually really good however the time that the school assigns to the course is way too long and the material needs to be dragged out. I've had to write completely original lessons for the last fortnight... which isn't easy given my time restraints. So in the last two weeks – once we'd finished the material that the school assigned – I've been using a lot of group activities and games to cover the grammar points that we have discussed. My current business class are awesome though. There have been relatively few lateness/attendance issues and they are all very eager and interested in learning and participating in activities. This class have been a real pleasure to teach! It's just a shame that next week is my last week teaching them! :(... I'll probably get given a conversation class... and if I do, you're in for a world of bitching on here!... ;)



As a side note I'm going to mock the commercial use of English and western ideas. It is very fashionable here to be seen as westernised and the Chinese-Indonesians seem to spend a lot of cash to stay in accordance with this notion. But sometimes they are a little wide of the mark with the naming of some of their shops... in our local shopping centre we have an 'Athlete's Foot' shoestore, 'Shaga' health and fitness supplies accompanied by a French bistro aptly named "Cafe Gayo"...

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