Press "Enter" to skip to content

Never wearing a skirt to that class again

Week two of teaching my new classes went better than week one.  Week one was spent familiarizing myself with my students – learning names, getting a feel for the level of English I’d use in my classes, and trying to get a grasp on the individual personalities of my new charges.

I have 54 students.

I see each student once a week for about 50 minutes (on average).  It’s not a lot of time to get to know each person, but I’ve been surprised with how forward many of them have been.  The easiest have been the youngest kids.  I mentioned in my last post a 6 year old girl apparently very fond of my legs.

This week a 4 year old boy tried to take things a step further by getting a look up my skirt (he failed, for the record).  I was sitting on the floor, and our conversation went like this (him speaking Japanese, me speaking English):

Him (Pulling at my skirt, at my knees): “I want to SEE!”

Me (pushing his hands away): “NO.”

Him (grinning up at me): “WHY NOT?”

He tried later again from my waistline, and was also unsuccessful.

It’s times like this I want to stop using English and reprimand the kid in Japanese, but I can’t because his mother is sitting right outside the door, and I’ve been specifically asked not to use any Japanese in these classes because their parents are paying for a strictly English experience.  I’m slowly developing a firm, stern teacher persona I have to use with this kid and also with a junior-high school boy I teach later that day.

I’m typically not a stern person, so this is a challenge for me.  Thankfully, these are (at this time) my only “difficult students”.  Most of my kids are easy to work with and are often pretty funny, too.

This week, I played a game with some of my returnee kids.  I wrote their names on the board to keep score.  I wrote one boy’s name (Nobuharu) down, and was immediately corrected:

Him: “No, wait, just write ‘Nob’.”

Me: “What?  Not Nobuharu?”

Him: “Yeah, just Nob.”

Me: “Do you want me to call you Nob, too?”

Him: “No.”

Me: “So when it’s in writing, it’s Nob, and when it’s spoken, it’s Nobuharu?”

Him: “Yeah!”

I have no idea why this kid wants to be called “Nob” on paper (he says it like “knob”, by the way).  There have been several moments like this in classes where I have to hold back giggles caused by my gutter-brain.  If I burst into laughter I suddenly owe my students some kind of explanation, and I know I can’t provide them with one.  I’m sure I’m going to laugh the next time I write his name…but that won’t come until next week!

Fridays are the days I have the class I’m starting to refer to as “The Mob”.  Not “mob” as in the mafia, but mob as in a screaming, wriggling, mass of bodies I somehow wrangle into one coherent class.  “The Mob” is 6 kids, all age 7 (I think they’re all 7), and they are LOUD.  They were comfortable harassing me from day one, and I had to learn quickly how to suck their attention in to what I wanted them to do.

I had to burn off their energy today with “head, shoulders, knees and toes” this afternoon, and was unpleasantly surprised at how winded it made me.  Why is that so much harder when you’re wearing tall shoes?

I digress.

I quizzed the kids on actions they can and can’t do, what they like and don’t like, and even managed to get them to do a listening activity (with CD) today, which my colleague seemed impressed by.  I am slowly developing a child lasso, I suppose.

I won’t lie, though – I’m still glad I just have these kids for 50 minutes at a time.

I finish that class and my co-worker always gives me a moment of silence when I exit the room.  I won’t be surprised if one of these days he greets me with an army blanket and a cup of coffee to try to take the edge off of the intensity I have just experienced.

They’re great kids.  Just…loud.  And excited.  And they all want my attention.  All the time.

I guess I can sum up this week of teaching as another good experience – another learning experience, too.  I ended the week by getting some food with my colleague.  I asked him: “What do you think is the hardest part about teaching these kids?”  His answer:

“Continuing to come up with new things; always being creative about how you can teach the material to the kids, how you can keep them interested and enthused.”

I can already see how that’s a challenge – I’m on the lookout for new games to play with my students, so if you have any ideas, please please please leave a comment or email me!  I’d love to try them out!

I’m excited for the weekend – there’s a festival I’m going to check out on Sunday morning/afternoon at Mt. Takao, and I plan on putting together a video.  I’m really looking forward to it!  Until then!

7 Comments

  1. Mom Mom March 13, 2010

    I have given you a new name…”wee-one whisperer” has a nice ring in it.

    You are doing great can’t wait to see the vid from this weekend.

    oxoxoxo

  2. Steve Steve March 13, 2010

    Ah yes… Classroom management. Several of my female teachers here have had some similar experiences with boys trying to get glimpses of their chest. I will say that I am very jealous that you only have 54 students during the week. I’d love to have that few, since it takes me almost 3 months to learn a new class (on average I have about 150 students per week). Thankfully, after a year at being at this school, I know most of my students quite well.

  3. Betsy Betsy March 14, 2010

    Hey sis,

    Check out http://www.edhelper.com. Lots of cute games and content you can use, and I think the subscription to their stuff’s only about 20 bucks a year. I’ve got a bunch of links at work I can send your way too.

    I also have some english reading workbooks I use for Spanish speakers at about second grade level. I will scan a few pages and send them to your gmail sometime next week.

    We’re loving your blog, it surely shortens the distance . Love you sweetie!

    Betsy

  4. Betsy Betsy March 14, 2010

    Hi there,

    Check your gmail for some other stuff. :o)

  5. Emily Emily March 15, 2010

    Sounds like you’re learning fast! You and my sis should chat. She’s going to be a teacher and I know she has done some student teaching, so maybe she has some ideas for you. I’ll look into it. 🙂 UO is just not the same without you… and no more yoga… but on to bigger and better things!

  6. alex alex March 16, 2010

    arisha,

    hilarious story about the little boy! HAHA i kinda had a fun time imagining that story.
    and what’s up with the girl and your legs? o_O
    please if u have more of these little tidbits with the kids,
    u should tell us about it.

    LOL

  7. Elizabeth Stokes Elizabeth Stokes March 16, 2010

    hey alisha,

    a fun game to get the kids to open up is an activity with a roll of toilet paper.. yes, walking into your classroom with TP is great..

    anyways.. pass the roll of TP around to the kids. tell them to take some, as much or as little as they would like. Once they have passed the roll around, as them to write something about themselves on each square of TP.. those who took a large portion of the roll will moan and groan.. once they have something on each square they get to take turns sharing to the class or in small groups (depending on age).

    a scavenger hunt is always a fun idea.. something directed to the classroom environment if you can to keep them all close.

    hope this gives you some new ideas.. i have tons of lesson plans, if you need a couple!

    Elizabeth

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: