Our “favorite” student was absent today. This provided for a completely different classroom dynamic. I remember how drastic a difference one student’s presence or absence could make in classrooms back home and I discovered how true it is for my ESL class here in Korea too. Our morning routine went nearly flawlessly and I found myself wondering what I should do. On a normal day with full attendance I sit with one student to help him finish writing his morning sentence. He usually tries to crawl all over me, his desk and the floor while waiting until the last second to finish quickly before snack time. Sometimes he’s still writing while the rest are eating but today I was able to join the rest of my students at play after they all finished their sentences. I even snuck in a little planning too!
Even without our most physical student the boys did needed to be reminded to keep their playing calm. I guess “boys will be boys” applies here in Korea too; they like to build things out of blocks and paper and then don them like weapons and chase after each other. I’m tempted to stop them from building anything that could be a weapon if the behavior doesn’t improve. Luckily they are plastic and paper and we havent’ had any real injuries yet. After snack & playtime we went to the library where I usually have to worry about a certain someone running and jumping around. Today the biggest issue was that two students got distracted by the faucets in the bathroom and came back with wet shirts.
Back in the classroom for some academics it was nice to have everyone following along. Our morning meeting where I pick 3 helpers to check the weather, temperature, and place days of the week in today, tomorrow and yesterday went much very smooth. All of the students sat in their seats and although we still had a few try to cheat and see the temperature before guessing we finished much faster than expected so we sang practiced some extra spelling with our “qu” words and sang our alphabet song.
Their specials went of without a hitch the typical reminders to speak in English and keeping the boys from kamehameha-ing each other afterwards. Walking to and from classes and lunch they got a little talkative but no one had to be removed from the line or sent back to the room. My co-teacher and I relished in the relief we got today and tomorrow should provide with a full class again and I’m sure the contrast will be noticed. I do think he is improving but every day is so different that its hard to tell. It was a nice treat for the rest of my students to have some extra games and playtime since I budget for most of the lessons to take longer.
As a follow up to my last post; we had a meeting yesterday morning; the day after our surprise inspection. My principal ran the usual foreign teacher meeting but we have a new administrator sit in. She’ll be starting full time in about a week or two but has been observing our classrooms the last few days. The principal explained that the inspection was routine and usually happens once or twice a year and brushed past the covered classrooms by saying the school has “lost students so we use space than we are allowed to.” That didn’t quite add up for most of us but when the new administrator said “that sounds strange,” we all agreed. Unfortunately there wasn’t any extra clarification.
Tonight I’m off to meet Ben and head to Gangnam for some people watching, sight seeing and a delicious dinner!