Wo jiu shi lao shi. That’s right, I said it.

7 12 2009

Today I was making up a class that I had missed on Thanksgiving – not because I was gone, but rather because the teacher had to do some sort of work with the students, so she asked me to make it up some other time. Because I didn’t want to bother rehashing a Thanksgiving lesson that bored me to death and would probably only do marginally more for the students, I decided to have them give me a report card for class, not unlike what Missy did with her classes a few weeks ago. This class was one of my better Junior 1 classes, by the way, and they all cheered when I showed up.

I had the kids answer the following questions:
1. What is your favorite thing we’ve done in class so far?
2. What is your least favorite thing we’ve done in class so far? 3. Jeremiah’s Grade: (A=I love class!; B=Class is good; C=Class is just so-so; D=Class is bad; F=Go back to America!)
4. What else would you like to do/learn about in class?

Most of the grades were A’s or A+’s, though the students were aware that I would be reading their replies. They seemed to genuinely enjoy giving me a grade, and I know it’s something that they never ever get to do with their Chinese English teachers. Anyway, all of the feedback was positive except for the two girls who gave me B’s and will live to regret it. I did have some interesting comments though to #4. I had one students who said she would like more homework (“Or not, it’s OK.”) and I had a couple students who said they would like to talk more. So this got me to thinking. Not about whether I should allow them to talk more, because that’s, frankly, unacceptable (kidding, of course), but rather about my lesson-planning. Here’s the deal: I haven’t been lesson-planning for the good classes. I’ve been lesson-planning to avoid excessive problems with the couple of classes I tend to have trouble with. (Yeah, I’m talking about you, 3B) It hasn’t really been a conscience thing … I know all the kids have been enjoying my classes, at least in most of them. But the thing is, I know I’ve had the tendency to at least debate switching courses on classes when I have a bad class. This usually happens on Monday (the make-up class is typically on Thursday), which is the day of my worst class, by far. This is really something I need to change, so here’s what I’m planning: From now on, I’m going to lesson plan with the good kids in mind, and if I have to throw some crap together for the class I have that could care less, I can do that. That way, whether or not I ever “make the breakthrough” with my one bad group of kids, at least I’ll be teaching the kids who want to learn something.
That’s my thought process.
Anyone have an opinion on that?

In other news, I finally quit my Monday night class I was teaching. I don’t think I’ve updated on it much, but I have it just Mondays, there are three kids in the class, and one typically doesn’t show. The other two don’t really speak English. I’ll hang on to my Tuesday and Thursday classes, but that’s it for Monday, and I couldn’t be happier.





One response

13 12 2009

I’ve had as many as 5 different preps a day. In those cases, one almost always suffers…I just spread it around and the required classes were never on the short list. It’s much easier to make a more difficult lesson easier on the spur of ‘have to’, than to make an easier lesson more difficult. It’s also amazing what the lower level kids will do when higher expections are set forth. So I’d say you’re right on to plan for the upper level and the want-to-learn kids.

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