Friday, July 3, 2009

me, me teacher!

I made an observation today; I have been in Taiwan for 4 months now and I have yet to report anything on the teaching side of things here. I think this is interesting since my main motivation for coming to Taiwan was to gain teaching experience.

As I get more comfortable with my classes and the method that Gloria English is set up the more I can learn to be a better teacher. A few things I have learned so far:

  • It takes ALOT to motivate a group of teenagers
  • Kids 7 and under learn a million times faster than everyone else
  • Spending 4 hours everyday playing games from when you were a kid is good for your health
  • Students have about a one minute attention span
  • Once you notice a class is no longer listening to you make them all do jumping jacks and start again (seriously works)
  • A smile goes a long way in a beginner's class
  • Pre-teens aged 12 to 14 are the worst to teach (too cool for EVERYTHING!)
  • Taiwanese kids are cuter and chubbier than North American kids
I am really happy and thankful that I ended up at this school. The money is good and we only have to work 4 hours a day. As well, every class has a Taiwanese co-teacher that helps keep your class on track and can translate to Chinese when needed. As a foreign teacher we have almost zero responsibility. We don't have to mark homework, make up exams or even correct tests. Basically, we are only there because it makes the school look good to have foreign teachers and for the North American accent.

Today I had a new student in one of my classes named 'Smile'. You will come across some bizarre English names because the kids are allowed to pick their own when they first start at Gloria. So far I have had Apple, Kiwi, Pinky, Ting, Angel, Rain and Yoyo. I think Smile tops the list.

Lots of times with a new class you will have 4 or more kids with the same common name. This happened to me in my brand new beginner's summer class. I have a Johnathan, a Johnny and a Johnson. This is extra confusing because Johnny and Johnson are identical twins that wear matching outfits. Yesterday was the first class and they showed up wearing matching sponge bob square pants T-shirts. I think I will just call them both John so I am always safe.

The other fun thing that we get to do is pick out names when a kid doesn't have one yet or it is still early enough to change their English name. So yesterday I had a new student in one of my beginner's classes named Laurence. He didn't like it so the whole class got to collectively choose him a new one. Most of the kids wanted his name to be Michael Jackson but he eventually went with Brad, kinda boring, I was hoping for a new weird one.

Since I have yet to have a teacher Tess picture taken here is one of me in front of a sign near one of my schools.