Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Go with the flow... or shoot someone out of frustration.

So here is an example of everyday classroom antics that take place...

Last week:
Co: Natalie, the fifth graders have English village this week so we will have no fifth grade class.
Me: Oh ok thanks, good to know.
Co: Oh and I have moved our Friday 6th grade classes to Thursday as we have no fifth grade classes and I need to be somewhere on Friday.
Me: Ok I will write that down.

So no fifth grade students the whole week, yay! I can catch up my Korean homework and lesson plan! (What I actually did was sit on the internet and plan Seoul trips and my summer vacation. Oh so productive)

So Thursday arrives...
I am at the front of the class writing the date and day and weather and all that I ask my students everyday on the board. I also write out the key expressions we are using in that class and what activities we will be doing. My co has seen me do this by the way...
The bell rings, no sixth graders... So I think maybe they are a little late from homeroom class because that does happen sometimes.
After about 5 or so minutes my co teacher pops his head around the partition thing that separates our class from where our desks are.

Co: What are you doing?
Me: I am waiting for the sixth graders.
Co: We don't have sixth graders today.
Me: But you said that you moved our Friday sixth grade classes to today?
Co: No, we don't have sixth grade today. Sixth grade tomorrow.
Me: Ok I must have misunderstood (Not! Because I wrote it down in my diary)

Anyways so Friday arrives...
Again I am writing all the stuff on the board in preparation for the class. The sixth graders have 'Exams' coming up which is pretty much just listening, reading and writing tests. However they do not learn this in my class as the sole point of me being here is to teach them how to speak like a native English speaker so all of our classes are focused on speaking. I was told to prepare worksheets for the 6th graders for this test the day before so I spent quite a lot of time on it as I have ridiculously different levels in my class. Some kids I can kind of have a conversation with and others do not even know their alphabet so that made making worksheets a little harder and just meant that they had about 16 worksheets each. We have a month to do it in so it will be fine.

So now I am writing all this on the board and in waltz my sixth graders, oooh teacher are we singing the birthday song today? Me, yes we are!! Yaaay! Co teacher pops in, no actually we are not. We are doing worksheets and revision, said whilst handing out worksheets.
Me: Are we giving them ALL the worksheets now?
Co: Yes.
Me: There is quite a lot.
Co: Yes they can do it at home too.
So we proceeded to do the worksheets and not the lesson that was planned for that day...

This week:
Co: We don't have sixth grade class this week. They have classes on men and woman and how they should act around each other and what their roles in society are.
Me: (sex ed? Life orientation? What kind of class is this?) Oh ok thanks I will write that down.
Tuesday arrives...
I only had two fifth grade classes and now I am planning lessons for the next topic that they start next week.
In waltz my sixth graders.
Me: You don't have class now.
Students: Yes we do.
Me: Really?
Students: Yes. You are the teacher. Don't you know?
Me: (You would think so...) Sit down.
So I am now grabbing the textbook and going on from where we left off and thinking I would review and get the concepts in their heads while incorporating one or two new activities.
Co: We need to finish this topic quickly. I want to do a test with them.
And so he proceeds to speed me through about three lessons while the kids are quite confused. 
After class:
Me: Oh so did we only have that one 6th grade class today?
Co: No, we have all of them.
Me: But you said we don't have sixth grade this week because they have other classes.
Co: Really? Do they?
Me: (Seriously?!?!?) Nevermind... I didn't say anything.

This happens all the time... Moral of the story...Have lesson plans for at least a week in advance ready! and don't let it bother you, or you might shoot someone in frustration.