Category Archives: teaching

student quotes, edition #2

we are very hungry, so we eat boodaejjigae.  We eat more than next table’s boys.

I’m ever summer was born.  I’m eat some blood.  I’m fly bug.  I’m bear in water.  I’m comeing night. people is. kill me.  electricity whip.  is fire my body.  my mouth is very long!  my body is head, breast, and abdomen.  I heat F killer!  see you soon

One day, when is puppy sleeping.  However I heard laughting.  It’s unretable situation.  The sound forward to puppy!  Maybe puppy is dreaaming.  So laughing.  It’s very mystery sound.  but my puppy is pretty and lovely!!!  I will love my puppy.

(I love how she describes the dog as laughing!)

A later I want grow beautiful and quietly live in the marado.

Hello, my soul.  I’m your body.  I’m really throb.  because I go to the Jeju island. tomorrow morning.  You too?  Ah!!  I must speak you.  first, You think seriously of every thing.  I speak to your think.  I am a very difficulty.  Second, keep the mind, please.  Many people laughed by my expression.  I’m very shame.  But.  I love you.  You have an original idea.  It is a very important, in our time.  We must succeed in our time.  good luck my soul ~.

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Old students

I had a student last year who once wrote in her journal about how much she hated me and my class.  A few weeks later, she wrote me an apology journal saying how sorry she was for being immature and resolving to work hard.  I don’t teach her anymore, but she’s the only one who makes sure to say hi to me every time she sees me in the hallways.

There was a student in 2-5 last year whose gaze always haunted me.  She had eyes like deep, empty wells, and not once had i seen even a hint of an expression on her face.  Never smiled.  She never said a word in class.  She always did other work in my after school class.  She wasn’t defiant; she was just blank and lifeless.  And then, during one of my last classes that semester, something changed in her:   she smiled for the first time.  I haven’t seen her since.

2-6 was always the quiet, obedient class.  There was a Vietnamese student in that class who never did any work for my class.  Her journal grades were a straight row of 0’s.  In my final lessons, however, she grew uncharacteristically attentive:   her eyes never left me.  And she had a constant smile on her face, the kind of smile you see on students who are genuinely enjoying your class and hanging on your every word.  She was always beautiful.  I saw her outside the school recently and said hi, and she gave me the biggest smile, one that i’ll never forget.

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student quotes, edition #1

Spoken:

[Grabbing my arm] No, don’t go! I have more questions…

[Seeing me pass out letters for them] Ahhhhhhhh!!!  [not a squeal, but a full-on scream]

[Opening my letter] Teacher, you’re so sentimental…!

-Do you wanna ask me a question?

-No.
While playing the one word story game (where each person adds one word to a developing story):

Yesterday…i…went…to…the…bathroom…to…wash…my…body.  My…grandfather…visited…me, and he came into…the bathroom!!

From writing assignments:

They always look for hot girl even if they looks like potato.

I like to go shopping because my eyes are very excited.

I like blue & pink on ordinary times.  Because Blue is gloomy and like a daydream.  And Blue give to me imaginative power, so I can dream through the blue.

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I’m proud of my students

Today’s choral contest was by far my favorite school event.  There are some students who hurt my feelings and disrespect me on a regular basis, but i loved every single one of my students today.  How could you not love them when they’re singing like little angels?

I know all i talk about on this blog is school now, but that’s the thing:  i love school and it’s my favorite thing to talk about.  This job is no doubt the toughest i have ever had.  Sometimes i wanted to quit, sometimes i hated my school, but i think i’ve always secretly loved it.  I get along so well with everyone and i’ve made the place my second home.  I know the majority of my students—their names and class numbers—and most of the teachers in the main teachers’ office.  The weekly journals were an important part of building a relationship with the students; we shared interests and food/cultural recommendations over them, and sometimes, they shared more personal things, to which i always, always replied.  I’ve gotten thank you letters, and i’ve gotten hate letters.  But i gave my end-of-semester speech to each of my 2nd grade classes, and they all listened attentively and thanked me in return.

2-1 wasn’t so bad at the beginning of the semester, but after i lost some students’ work, they banded together and refused to pay attention in class.  I got the most negative feedback on my evaluations from this class.  I really hated them at times and at one point, i came close to telling the vice principal that i refuse to teach them (before you call me crazy, the VP and i are tight, so i would’ve gotten away with this).  But i forgive them now and understand that some students just hate school, and nothing’s going to change that.

2-2 was my worst class at first.  They were the loudest and most difficult to control.  What made it worse was that the co-teacher i teach it with didn’t know how to discipline.  I was the harshest and strictest with this class, and now they’re one of my most attentive and obedient classes.  Towards the end of the semester, their journals were the best.  This was the only class that learned to follow all of my instructions for journals.

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To be a real teacher

I’m pretty much set on not renewing my contract next year.  And here’s why:

1.  I’m not appreciated at my school.  I work harder than any other teacher here.  I’m pretty sure i’m the only one who brings work home everyday and never gets enough sleep.  I spend countless hours planning and editing lessons to continually challenge my students while taking into account their varied abilities and interests.  More importantly, i teach because it’s always been my dream to teach.  I love what i do, and i’m grateful that i was given this opportunity.  Teaching is emotional for me.  Whatever happens at school can make or break my day; so much of my emotional well-being depends on how i do at my job.  And when you are this dedicated to your work but no one recognizes it, it just hurts.  My coworkers have no regard for my schedule and workload.  They keep piling on more work for me (unrelated to my classes) because they know how hard-working i am and that i wouldn’t refuse.

2.  This job is becoming meaningless for me.  I realized last night that i’m a trainer, not a teacher.  How do people teach EFL?  I hate not being able to talk about open-ended, thought-provoking topics with my students.  I hate that it’s a struggle just to get them to understand me.  I hate that i can’t communicate with them on an intellectual level.  I hate that they can’t express to me everything that they want.  It hurts to see them give up (i know how it feels).  I hate that they feel dumb because they can’t communicate with me, and i hate that i can’t help them improve.  Why are they not improving?  I want to teach them about the world, other people, other ways of thinking, other possibilities, but my role is to train them in a foreign language, which considerably limits how much you can do with any given topic.  I’m obviously failing at improving their English, so i feel like all i do is train them in responsibility.  And that’s exactly what i resolved to never do as a teacher.  I learned in my Youth Media class that schools are designed to produce working citizens, and that this can have a hazardous effect on a child’s personal growth.  I’m at a loss as to what to do.  I think i’ve reached this point because it’s all i can do, but i should stop.  But then how else would i grade?  I don’t like to take too many points away for bad English, because if their English is bad, that’s my fault.  When they don’t follow instructions, however, i penalize them, but i’m starting to think i shouldn’t.  All i’m doing is training them to not make mistakes in the future and to follow instructions whether they like them or not, and that’s not healthy.  It might help them in the workplace, but it’s not healthy for their creative development.

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I have a complete life here now

 

A dragonfly at the SETI campus, 10/15/10

 

The last three days have been so emotionally charged, i don’t even know where to begin.

Things have been amazing at work.  My girls and i have bonded so much that i already get misty thinking about how i won’t get to continue teaching my 2nd graders next year when they move up to the 3rd grade.  One of my favorite students took the opportunity of my midterm exam essay prompt to write a letter to me expressing the same exact sentiment, thanking me for all my efforts and dedication, and asking if we can be friends.  Luckily, she lives across the street from me, so i’ll be able to hang out with her next year.

The days leading up to the SETI training were so stressful with students mobbing me to argue about grades that the training was the most gratifying vacation i could’ve asked for.  It was so good seeing  everyone (well, mostly everyone) in one place again; i wanted to hug everybody but there were just too many people.  I think learning is my favorite bonding experience.  I can’t help but bond with fellow students (i don’t like the word “trainees”), and i just feel so at ease in a learning environment.  I’ve always loved school.  I love that i still get to go to school everyday, and i hope to learn and teach in some manner for the rest of my life.  I want my second home to be a school, always.

And finally, i don’t know what i’d do without the friends i’ve made here.  I have friends who travel over an hour just to help me mark essays, and we somehow make a great time of it.  I think that in itself is a testament to how amazing they are.  And i now have an important person in my life whom i can care for and who cares about me in return.  He makes my life here complete.

For once, i’m perfectly content.

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