Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Back to Basics

Here is a class picture from my Basic class: Soon Jae, Han Min, Jin Ook, Jay Q, Yoo Kyong, Lynn, Amy, Na Yun, Si Hun, Billy, and Chan Young (Max, Anna, Julia, and Lee are missing).
I have had these students since I first started and I will have them until the end of July. Over that time, they have slowly become my favorite class. They are my youngest students (Korean age 11 which is roughly American age 10) and they have so much energy. When I come into the room, they are always running away from the board where they have been drawing crazy pictures and then start shouting "Teacher, teacher!!! Look!!"
They are also my lowest level students, which means that we read books that are like "I have the ball. I am running. I am not falling. I want to make a goal." Because they are at such a low level, I can get away with playing more games and doing more creative activities with them than I can with older and more advanced students.
It is kind of fun to demote my English level into really simple sentences in order to communicate with these kids. Sometimes though, I can tell that they are getting frustrated because they don't know how to say what they are thinking. The other day, they were trying to tell me that watermelon wasn't a fruit and I was trying to tell them that it was, but both of us were stubborn and I couldn't make any good arguments so I finally just said, "In Korea, watermelon is vegetable. In USA, watermelon is fruit. Okay."
I also love this class because so many of the students have great personalities. One of my favorites (in an annoying but gotta love him anyway kind of way) is named Billy. He is a wild bundle of energy. Every 10 minutes I have to tell him either to sit down or be quiet. One day I had to take his desk away because he kept moving it. Unfortunately, that backfired because all the kids (including Billy) thought it was funny that he didn't have a desk and had to keep his book in his lap.
Lately, Billy has been bringing ants to class. That's right - ants - big, black ants. One day it is crawling around in his pencil case and the next day it's all wrapped up in a little square of wax paper, squirming its legs trying to break free. He insisted on showing me every day and every day I would tell him to put it in his backpack. In the back of my mind, I was imagining having to explain to my boss why I have an ant infestation in my classroom.
One day last week, Billy showed up with about half a dozen ants crawling around in an empty cassette tape box. I decided that I had enough of the ants. I told him that if he brought ants to class anymore, I would throw them out the window of our 7th floor classroom. Billy immediately looked horror stricken, "Teacher, NO!" "YES!" I replied as I stood by the window, mimicking shaking ants outside.
Today, as I'm leaving the teachers' lounge to go to class, Billy runs up to me in the lobby area. Quickly and rather loudly, he says, "Teacher, today I have ant. I sorry. Tomorrow I no have ant. Please no kill ant." My boss and the counter teachers heard his plea and started laughing. I showed some mercy and spared the 1 very large ant Billy had in his pencil case. But I do not want to see that ant or any ant again tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Let me guess. Billy is the boy in the light blue shirt in the back row making horns on the head of the girl in front of him?

amei sonsaengnim said...

No, actually he's the boy on the far left with the glasses & the yellow striped shirt. For once, he's actually being relatively well behaved.

amei sonsaengnim said...

Oops...actually I meant the far right of the picture.