Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Work stuff

Wednesday nights this term have very quickly become my night of the week to survive.

The day starts off pretty well with a 4:30 Reading Par class. I have only six students and they're all amazing. Five of them I taught last term and they all leveled-up from Bridge to Par. I was psyched to get them again for both Reading and Listening class. They're all bright and willing to do work and we have lots of fun. And since it's the exact same Par class I taught my very first term (the books only change every other term) and I have my old copy, it's completely prepped already which means I have little to do in order to teach that class besides print hand-outs and vocab tests.

My second class is a whole different story though. See within Level 1 and Level 2 all the classes are basically the same except for varying degrees of difficulty. So even if the highest level class in Level 2 has a few added components, the class structure is essentially the same as all the others so it's easy to adjust to. I'm teaching two Eagle classes this term (the order being Bridge, Par, Birdie, Eagle, Albatross, Albatross+) and it's the highest I've done so far but since the structure is the same it's not too bad. I knew I would be teaching Eagle since they had me observe an Eagle class last term and I was ready for it but then they threw me a curve-ball.

In addition to Level 1 and Level 2 classes, CDI also offers iBT courses- iBT being the Internet-Based Test for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). For students who want to study at American schools or universities they may have to take this exam and so many CDI students start preparing for it early. It's broken into Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking. Since we already cover those first two in our regular classes there is a separate course offered called iBT Speaking & Writing. The format of the S&W class is completely different from all the other classes and takes a while to get used to.

And Wednesday nights at 7:30 this term that's my class.

Last week, the first S&W class of the term, I could have accidentally set a student's hair on fire and it still would not have been any worse than I was already doing. I was totally unprepared for how different it would be and the sheer amount of paperwork involved. Like, multiple grading rubrics, all sorts of student evaluation forms, note-taking papers for speaking, note-taking papers for writing, hand-outs, syllabuses (shush, both plural forms are correct), essay sheets, homework papers, etc. etc. etc.

I had a stack of papers half a foot high and no way of organizing them yet. I'd been so concerned over the new Eagle class I was doing that I under-prepared for S&W and practically went in blind. Since the class I observed in week 13 was the last of the term, the format was different from week 1 of the new term and I was so confused about what I was supposed to be doing. The MP3 files for playing lectures wouldn't work and I had to read out a conversation in "Girl Voice" and "Guy Voice" so the students could differentiate. It probably doesn't sound so bad but really, when you are messing up left and right and making a fool of yourself it's frustrating and embarrassing. I was mad at myself for not being better prepared and mad at the administration for throwing me into this at the last minute without much guidance. I ended up crying in the break room and again when I was leaving for the night. Such a disaster.

So yesterday I prepped my Eagle class early and then before work hit up the stationary store on the first floor of our building for some much needed supplies. I got myself all organized last night and then went in early today to prepare. Two and half hours, a bulging accordion folder, a take-home-paper-grading folder, and two post-it-noted books later I was ready.

I wouldn't say the class went wonderfully but it wasn't the failure I produced last week. I was crazy organized and even had a little clipboard all set up like I was friggin Dolores Umbridge so I could walk around while the kids were responding to questions. The MP3 files worked and I didn't babble at them at 900mph which I'm pretty sure is what I was doing last week. I even got them to laugh a few times! Which is not unusual when you're teaching elementary kids but much less likely in a room of 15-year-olds (which it is).

I'm hoping that at some point this class will make sense to me and the kids will actually learn something but for now all I want is to survive each Wednesday night without another disaster class. That isn't asking too much right?

Here's to hoping that all potential future educators start off with baby steps.

Trivia of the Day:  Hanbok (South Korea) or Chos┼Ćn-ot (North Korea) is the traditional Korean dress. It is often characterized by vibrant colors and simple lines without pockets. Although the term literally means "Korean clothing", hanbok today often refers specifically to hanbok of Joseon Dynasty and is worn as semi-formal or formal wear during traditional festivals and celebrations. Modern hanbok does not exactly follow the actual style as worn in Joseon dynasty since it went through some major changes during the 20th century for practical reasons. Throughout history, Korea had a dual clothing tradition, in which rulers and aristocrats adopted different kinds of mixed foreign-influenced indigenous styles, while the commoners continued to use a distinct style of indigenous clothing that today is known as Hanbok.

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