Tuesday, April 21, 2015

the lesson: a snapshot

I’m expecting four fifth graders, we are going to do a lesson on public transportation. I’ve put together four activities and a warmer, I have all of the PowerPoints pulled up and a coffee in my hand. I smile warmly as the door opens. One student walks in. She looks at me with a pained face and says “hospital,” I applaud her for using English and say one word “why.” She says “because” and points at her face. I let her leave, proud that she remembered the question “why” and the proper response “because *blah blah blah.” Another student walks in. She simply says my name and points at my phone where she knows my google translate lives. She types in some hangul, hands me the phone, and repeats the hangul out loud. I can see that she has to leave, but my phone simply says Noksan lead pipe. I let her go, wondering what on earth lead pipe is supposed to mean (Noksan makes sense, it’s the little town that my school is located in). One student shows up, responding to my “how are you” in his same predictable manner: “I am happy every day!” I make a mental note to introduce him to the phrase “I’m always happy.” He sits down, the fourth student doesn’t show up.

I am wondering what to do with this student, I don’t want to waste this well planned lesson when 75% of the class hasn’t shown up. Before I can find a solution one of my sixth grader comes tearing into the classroom. He hides behind a desk. The fifth grader jumps on top of him and they are giggling as they hide from, I assumed, me. “I can see you, you’re not very good at hiding” I say, knowing they only catch a few words. They giggle and say “no Ms. Krystle, we not hiding from  you,” again I feel a strange sense of satisfaction knowing that they can communicate (albeit roughly) with me. Moments later, as I’m wondering who they could be hiding from, I hear a knock on the door. Before I can call out the door opens and another sixth grader sprints in. They find each other and wind up a pile on the floor giggling.

The first sixth grader (who goes by Mario, despite me asking him not to use a pre-made English name) sits down. Excitedly saying, “teach teach, Ms. krystle, what you teach?” They want to play a game, the second sixth grader leaves. We wind up playing hangman. Eventually a third sixth grader joins (this lovely boy goes by Star) and we spend half an hour playing hangman.

After this unexpected class/club moment I met with four other teachers and we spent an hour playing the flute together. I found myself transposing all of my letter names into their fixed do system and teaching fingerings as well as basic acoustic properties of the instrument (air direction and etc.)

As you can see, teaching in Busan is anything but boring. I’m enjoying the ride.

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