The week after a long vacation is always tough. (I know America, you didn’t have any time off but we had a 5 day weekend for Chuseok) Doesn’t matter your profession and it apparently doesn’t matter where you are on the globe. I remember dreading going back to work after a long break in the states for a few reasons. Getting to sleep on time and waking up early was always my first hurdle. The crazy students were usually a close second.
The same is true here. After 5 days of sleeping in and staying up late to explore the city; going to bed this past Sunday and Monday was brutal, waking up on time was even worse. I like to walk to work but this week I took the subway a few too many times just so I could get those extra minutes of sleep. I found myself going to Paris Baguette for breakfast rather than taking the time to eat a bowl of cereal before I left. But, I survived the week and by Thursday actually had enough time in my morning to open a new box of Kelloggs and throw in a banana.
When it comes down to it, getting back into my routine wasn’t so bad and by mid week I was able to get to sleep at a decent hour. The next pitfall was the students being off their rockers. Now, that could have been the full moon we just had bur more likely its because they were just as bad at leaving behind the laziness of vacation as I was. Our “favorite” student had his worst week yet and although the rest of my little munchkins were pretty good by midweek, Monday was just as out of control for everyone.
So what did I do? I tried to make it seem like all we were doing was playing games. I made the “crash” game (stole the idea from a coworker) with sight words. Its a card game with small words that they know and about a dozen “crash” cards. They keep going until they get a crash or don’t know a word. They loved it and immediately began to recognize more words in their reading. In fact by Friday they were playing “independently” (I use the term loosely because I’m pretty sure they just sat in a circle and giggled whenever someone got a crash card.)
In Science we did an experiment with evaporation, condensation and precipitation by boiling water before finger painting our own water cycle. We read a few extra stories and I let playtime go a little longer than usual. Combine all that with the typical songs, dances and general ridiculousness that I bring to the classroom and they were actually able to focus!
By Friday we were wiped, students and teachers alike. Oh, and my co-teacher might be coming down with a cold on top of having to deal with the brunt of the students’ temper tantrums. Mary, if you’re reading this you are amazing and I couldn’t teach these kids without you! Even though being exhausted by Friday is standard this time we were literally doing a “happy dance.” We took regular breaks to sing our phonics song, played spelling games and just relaxed. We were able to plow through some of our math work but rather than being the “lord at the board” we pushed the desks together and made a giant table. As an added incentive to finish their work those that were done got to independently play sight word games.
Unfortunately, all this wasn’t enough. We still had more fighting than our usual Asian anime action heroes. We had to split up a few of the boys more than once and there were more tears than in a usual Kindergarten day. If that wasn’t enough I had to send one little girl to the hospital for what started out as bug bites but by the afternoon her face was all red and puffy in an allergic reaction.
To give everyone a break we sang the banana song and then played on the roof at the end of the day. Our “favorite student” had to bring up his math packet but suddenly became my most diligent worker. Everyone got a turn flying around as I carried them and we jumped, danced and had a merry old time.
Now to enjoy some Korean cooking and the rest of my weekend. TGIF!