Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I work in a job that is impossibly tied to people. I teach people, work with people, and for people. So, for better or for worse, the quality of my day is tied to those people.

Yesterday, I was at one of the smaller schools at which I teach. I haven't been for a couple weeks because they have had (last-minute) things come up that conflicted with the English schedule. I have missed the kids and my co-teacher. I have these kids for two-hour blocks, which is twice the time I have with most of my other students. I also had a fun experience running into some of the guys during my first outing off the island. One of those guys actually shares similar music tastes with me. I asked him what he was listening to on his mp3 player and it was the same band that I had listened to that morning (Keane.)

At this school, I teach only the third grade students (roughly equivalent to high school freshman in America). My first class stank. I was teaching a lesson that I had taught at my other school the day before. It was well-received, the students participted and understood. I trudged through both hours having to continually fight against students looking as if they were about to die of boredom. These students also aren't in the habit of letting me know if they don't understand.

So, I was a little down and frustrated. I had lunch, went to see the other English teacher's new puppies--really cute. The dogs were mix between two Korean breeds--Jindo and "Pun-sang-gay." The dogs were white and their fur was really soft. The picture below is from the wikipedia article on the breed (didn't have my camera handy).

So this cheered me up a bit. My afternoon class is definitely one of the two best classes I teach. They are active and participatory. There are even a couple really low students that can barely read English but also try really hard. The previous lesson, one of these students got up and gave the weather forecast. Anyway, everything was turned around. This class was completely different from the other other students next door. They were telling jokes, improvising, and all in all having fun.

As a teacher, I have to walk in to the classroom each time prepared and with a positive attitude. However, when dealing with people, there are so many variables that can't be accounted for. I have also learned that if I'm struggling with a difficult class, all those feelings of frustration are gone the second I walk out the door when a smiling student greets me with, "Nice to meet you!" (even though I've known them now for two months).

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