Although it seems small, I thought it would be good to share my first day teaching on my own. When I say that, I mean it was my first day teaching without someone else in the room to make suggestions or without having someone to turn to when I start panicking about what to do next.
Luckily the 3 weeks of training really helped so it wasn’t a huge transition. Funny enough though, s few students asked me “where’s Ree-teacher?” It’s so funny because I’ve been here teaching the past 2 weeks and I guess a few of them still didn’t get that I was becoming the new teacher.
Anyway it went well, I think. I think I even felt better being on my own in the room. I felt more in control. Although I liked Ree being there to help and guide me and I really needed her there, I did feel a bit weird when the students would look to her for the “real” answer to their question or when they would want to look at her to get a second opinion on what I said. Now I think they might have the idea that I have some authority at least.
The first class kinda boosted up my self esteem though. In their workbook today there was a drawing section. One box wanted the kids to draw a bull pushing a fence. Weird, I know! And of course how do I explain that to non-native English speakers. “Oh it’s an big angry cow pushing a wall thing?”
“Teacher, teacher, draw!” They started saying. So of course being the artist I am and also not knowing how else to explain a bull pushing a fence, I drew on the chalkboard. And they were all very impressed. “Ciara-teacher draws better than Ree-Teacher!” They kept saying haha. Sorry Ree! 🙂
I purposely left the drawings on the board when the next class came in. This class has the lowest English level so most times they are staring blankly at me whenever I say anything. The silence is deafening and intimidating. This class also is the farthest from me. I mean, the other classes have warmed up to me. This class still seems on guard. I have no clue if they like me or not. So when they came in and saw the drawings I got some smiles out of students who normally don’t smile at all. So hopefully they can warm up to me.
The next class has only 5 students, but they are chatty and confident and surprisingly the hardest to reign in sometimes. But I was able to put my foot down today.
The next 2 classes are great. I like these students because they are not too young to be super rowdy, but also not too old that they are “too cool for school” and don’t say anything. I think they are 4th and 5th graders.
Class number 6 was good today. There are 11 students and only 3 are girls. So 8 boys. In one class. They remind me so much of my twin brothers. It’s almost comforting to teach them because I’m so used to that kind of rowdy, loud and playful behavior. Today they managed to behave well which could have been partly because Mrs. Kim, the school director, scolded them for being loud in the hallway and also stood in the classroom for awhile.
Then I had a break which gave me time to grade quizzes and prepare for the next few classes which were easy. The oldest kids are much easier to teach. Mostly because their English level is really high. The hardest thing about the oldest kids is fighting that “teenage mood” they have going on haha. It is like pulling teeth to get them to do anything: to pray before class (just a routine prayer that we do all the time) or answer a question. The workbook they use sometimes has questions and answers in Korean and knowing full well I would butcher it if I read the answer, I always ask a student to come read the answer to the class. No big deal right? All they have to do is read Korean (their native language!) to the class. And yet each time I pick someone, it seems to be the end of the world. Oh teenagers. So cute.
So that was my day! I’m sure I made mistakes. I know it wasn’t perfect, but I’m getting there. Ree told me last week to be patient with myself so I will not beat myself up about anything I did or didn’t do. I can only try my best each day. I have to say I like being a teacher so far. It felt good today. It felt right.