17 September 2008

"Open the box Miss Teacher!"

  1. Have I said yet how much more I can come closer to understanding why my mother was so tired when she got home from work? And how I can come closer to understanding why the last thing she would have wanted to do when she got home every evening would have been to cook dinner? I'm teaching 10 45-minute periods in 3 days and it's definitely enough.
  2. Every day, I tend to be horrified of how I may have acted as a student. On the other hand, I also realize a) how normal I was, and b) how this is yet more proof that people everywhere are more alike than they are different (thus rendering war, for example, a very bad thing).
  3. For example: students, if you pass notes, I will see you, even if my back is turned. Why? Either a) I have eyes in the back of my head, b) I wasn't born yesterday, or c) both.
  4. It is highly annoying to have chalk all over me. It makes the students giggle, as if they have never seen such a thing, and I need to wash my hands after every class because it's just annoying.
Incidentally, there are sinks in every classroom and in the teacher's room, not in the bathrooms. The students wash the chalkboards themselves between classes. They may talk the entire class, but at least they are disciplined enough to wash the chalkboard after I'm done using it.

One of my main teaching tools this week was an empty box. The students didn't necessarily know it was empty, although one class thought that it was and kept yelling for me to open the box. This was not bad, because at least they were speaking to me 1) in English and 2) imperatively, regardless of whether or not they knew it. However, the line of questioning was something like this:
  • What is this?
  • What's in the box? (one of the more interesting answers: ambition, from a 9th grader)
  • What's outside of the box?
  • What's not in the box?
  • What would you put in the box?
  • To whom would you give the box? (One answer was Axl Rose.)
  • How would you wrap the box?
  • What color is the box?
  • Where would you send the box?
The goal was to encourage thinking outside the box. Alas, a highly funny moment happened with some 7th graders and the last question. One girl said, "under the table" so I put the box under the desk, at which point the bell rang. I got my things and left the classroom, and then realized I had forgotten my box. When I went back into the classroom, they were all laughing hysterically, and so was I. I'm learning that kids are much smarter than we give them credit for.

I'm also learning that being a language teacher requires a great deal of animation. Luckily, it seems my personality is conducive to this sort of behavior. ;) The rule of the week has been that "I don't know"/"Neviem" is not an answer. When someone says it, I've been writing it on the board and Xing it out to the max.

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