Sunday, October 9, 2011

Do you believe there are treasures in the ocean?

It is late on Sunday morning and I'm nestled on the couch in a yellow sundress sipping coffee mixed with chocolate milk, listening to tunes, and trying to figure out where to start writing..
so much has happened this week..

My first week of teaching was simultaneously exciting, terrifying, endearing, and reassuring. Being such a prestigious private language school in Taiwan, KNS and its teachers abide by extremely rigid rules and teaching techniques which I have come to (often) find as limiting to the point of intrusiveness. Being able to tell others that your children attend KNS is something people value here. Sometimes, it seems, above the importance and beauty of letting kids be kids.
I am definitely learning a lot and gaining experience teaching grades 1-6 is invaluable. I have had, however, to leave my 'global love' shoes at the door. These language schools seem more concerned with finishing the books than with teaching for understanding. And this becomes even more conflicting for me when I realise exactly what these student's realities entail. Chinese school followed by language school followed by homework, (they have a test everyday). When a coworker of mine asked a student if she was excited for the long weekend, she replied that she was but had math class on Saturday.
Learning this, I can't help but want to change my teaching style. I have started getting the kids to stand up and "dance their hearts out" for one minute before going on to the next textbook. At first they seemed terrified and confused at the idea but now I think they appreciate the wiggle time. Those chairs are uncomfortable, I know it!
I have to try and teach their way and get through the curriculum on their schedule while also making class a safe and fun place for these kids to come AFTER they have already been at school all day. It's a challenge, to say the least. But definitely one I am up for.

The kids are the best part. The other day I was doing a recording for them during break and a couple of the students in my C3f class stayed in the classroom. I looked over at one point and Jimmy had sat him self down on the ground facing the wall and started to meditate. He's seven. He is amazing. I am smitten.

Another little boy named Andy stole my heart from the first day when he offered up the information to me that he LOVED lady gaga, asked if I would call him Andy Gaga and told me that he is "99 boy, and 1 girl." (He doesn't know how to say "percent" but I understood what he was getting at). Friday evening before class he let me listen to his headphones while he insisted on carrying my books up to class. Then he gave the class a show while he danced. THEN he told me a secret. This weekend he gets to go to his favorite girls house to play. Her name is Mimi and he loves her. He asked to borrow my red marker during break to draw hearts on a paper.

They have seemingly unbreakable spirits, say strange and wonderful things, and are so bright it is, at times, blinding.
I vow to do the best job I can for each and every one of them. Even when they drive me a little bit nuts.

I will start taking photos next week when I'm in the groove a little more. I still want to decorate my classroom some more and then I can capture the magic against a pretty backdrop. It will be worth the wait I promise you that.

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