Monday, March 7, 2011

Week 1 Conversation

Note: Longish, wordy blog to follow. 

This past week was the first week of "conversation" classes.  Basically it is just class where they want us to "free talk" and I know I have only been teaching for about 9 months or so but "free talk" is never a good idea.  So we were not to happy to find out the books we had been using were only to be used in one of the two classes a week, and some of the middle school classes we teach don't have have a book for either class.  To say the least this erks me to a new level and I now dread those classes, even the classes that I love.  

We started our new schedule on Wednesday and I got lucky and only had to teach one of my three conversation classes, due to students not showing up, and it went pretty well. The class was made up of students from one of my classes that does not speak, like at all, and some of my students who are very talkative but also very happy to come spend 45 minutes or so a week with either Ryan or I.  They are really not at the "conversation" level (most of our classes are not) so I spent the class reviewing things I knew they didn't know, like shapes (and I understand those are really never used in your daily life so they don't stick with them), antonyms and synonyms, and just easy questions about how their day was, what they did over the weekend, and so on and so forth. 

On Thursday I found out one of my conversation classes was going to hold over 14 students (our class rooms are only made to hold 10 tops) and it was going to be a mix of English levels, and ages.  So I took the beginners book Ryan used last semester for City Hall and ran off copies.  It could of gone better, with a class that large in a room that small some of the students decided they don't want to go along with the lesson it quickly catches on.  Some of the girls needed the review and did a good job of paying attention and trying to learn, where as the others just slept or did lord knows what.  I never wanted to be one of those teachers that just let students be lazy however I have come to realize that if at least half the class is learning it is better than holding up everything for those few who don't care. 

After my conversation class half the class stayed behind for their next class with me.  They all begged me not to make them do book work, so instead we did this:

First we tried to figure out what the "important" things in life are.  We went around the room and everyone had to tell me one things that was important to them.  You can see that list up in the left hand corner and as you can see I got some interesting answers. 

We then moved on to the whole "Your stuck on an island, you can only bring 3 things with you.  What do you bring?  You cannot bring a boat or an airplane."  Under every ones name you can see what they wanted to bring, I was a little tickled by some of these answers.  Once everyone finished, we moved on to talk about them.  I started asking what kind of food they were going to bring, and then once I got the answer that they were going to grow most of the food from seeds I agreed that food would work; however when they started telling me they were going to have a "mommy and daddy pig/cow/duck" we had a problem.  First off I had to ask them where these animals where, to which I got told they were in the "cargo hold" of the plane. 

We ended the class by doing a short project about going on a trip.  They had to tell me where they wanted to go, why they wanted to go there, what 5 (we started out at 10 but they talked me down) things they wanted to take with them, and why they wanted to take each thing.  It went pretty well; however as you can guess I got some crazy answers. 

Friday I had 3 conversation classes back to back with 14 plus kids in each with ages ranging from 10-16. The first class was made up of a mixture of younger kids who wanted to be there and then a group who didn't want to be there.  I decided to do something a little like what I did the night before and told them they all won a free trip!  They then had to tell me where they were going, who they were taking with them (4-5 people), why they were going to take those people, what 10 things they wanted to pack in their suitcase, and then on the back they had to draw me their suitcase and all 10 items inside.   Here are some of the answers I got:
For where they wanted to go:
  • New York- To see the Statue of Liberty (One little girl asked me if they speak English in New York)
  • The Sea- Pretty
  • South Pole - Penguins
  • Lotte Mart- Shopping (I think this one was a little confused)
  • Manchester- Soccer
  • Vietnam- USA (Also maybe a little lost)
  • America - Movies
  • Germany-
  • Ski- Skiing is fun
  • Italy- It is so-so
  • Space- Very large
  • Egypt - Mystery
  • USA - Relative lives there

For who they were taking I got answers anywhere from Megan Teacher and Ryan Teacher, Mom and Dad, Grandmother and Grandfather, Friends, Brothers and Sisters ect.

Now some of the things they wanted to take with them really made me smile.  Here is a combined list of some of them.
  • money- smart kids
  • cell phone
  • cell phone charger
  • computer
  • teddy bear
  • bed - I tried to explain that most places had these
  • pillow
  • T-Shirt
  • socks
  • TV -I tried to explain that most places also had these
  • Pants
  • Nintendo
  • Father, Mom, Friend - She didn't have room for them because she wanted to take Megan and Ryan teacher, so she just packed them in her suitcase. 
  • Food
  • Book
  • Pencil Case
  • Puppy
  • Nintendo DS and Wii
  • Notebook
  • Soccer Ball, Basket Ball, Baseball Set, Bat
  • Cookies, Dolls, Water, Bird- I think she was making a shopping list.
  • Knife, Mind, House, Meat (beef), Very Big Ship, Very Big Airplane, Car (Limo) Money (999,9999,999,999,999......) Smart Phone - I found this list to be very odd.
  • Coffee, milk, mirror, rice - I worry these kids think there is no food outside of Korea
  • Flowers
  • Underwear
  • Guide Book -smart girl
  • Legos- His favorite toy
  • Fans
  • Cap
The next two classes were made up of older kids who were not too happy to be there, so we spent our class time making list of things they want to talk about in the conversation class. I got crazy answers and sadly still don't know what to do with them, I have my fingers crossed that the books we ordered for the classes show up soon! 

Well that was last week, today starts this weeks crazy conversation classes.  I'll let you know how they went! 

1 comment:

Chas said...

Wow! Sorry the books didn't show up but you were great at improvising. That sounded like a fun and interesting game..how do you not just crack up in class ?