Some lovely things
Being enough of an idealist to want to instil a sense of empowerment in my students, along with ownership of their own learning, I’ve been carrying out periodic learning reviews during this semester. These have basically asked students to reflect on their learning and my teaching and the results - whilst undoubtedly valuable - have also been apt to bring me down a peg or six at times. There was the kid who just scrawled TOO DIFFICULT all over his paper, or (worse) the one that wrote ‘I’m so sad I can’t speak to my friends in your class, because your class is too hard to me ㅠㅠ’. ‘ㅠㅠ’ are characters in the Korean alphabet used to represent crying eyes, and in this particular instance they initiated the appropriate response in me.
The reviews led to me jigging and re-jigging lesson plans to match the hugely varied needs of classes that include bilingual students, those who struggle to string a sentence, and those of every ability between. I definitely felt, as the weeks rolled on, that this was having an effect but suffice to say my last review of the semester had me girding my loins. However, I stuck this on the board and held my breath:
The first one handed in looked like this:
Then there was this one, complimenting me on my characteristics (which are apparently ‘very gay’) and asking me to please stop one of the other teachers shouting at them because it scares them and ‘harms class’s happy mood’
This one demonstrates both my attempts at the teaching of grammar and its limits, and also pulls my heartstrings til I ㅠㅠ:
Then there’s this…just..ㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠ:
I’m giving myself precisely two more hours to leaf through them and ㅠㅠ a bit more before I hit the planning for what is cruelly termed ‘summer vacation’ and is in fact a space of time between school semesters during which students stay at school and go to extra lessons. Though Korean culture shock hasn’t been anywhere near as tough as its Chinese counterpart, I’ve had my struggles with it and I’ve certainly questioned my decision to return to East Asia at times. This makes it better, and (gushy teacher moment) reminds me precisely why I chose this job, in this place, and why I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Wanderings and Ramblings of an ESL teacher currently based in a tiny mountain town near the North Korean border.