29 June 2008

School Daze

I still haven't really talked about the school yet. It is pretty gruelling, but the days go by quickly and there really isn't a whole lot to it. I have pretty much 100% control over the methodology and curriculum. The kids have to be tested each month and they cannot be given bad grades (it is against school policy). Basically, from a teaching and learning standpoint, the whole thing is a carefully maintained joke. Still, I have kids in the afternoon who have been attending for three years and they are quite fluent. I guess it all works out in the end simply because it is so intensive. If you spend a few hours every day with an English speaker you will learn English no matter what the methodology or due to the lack thereof. That said, there is still an opportunity to make a big difference here. Especially in the discipline department. I am trying to work on basic issues like a little chant I made up that my morning classes begin with: "Bottom on the seat, feet on the floor." Enforcing this takes about 25% of my time in each class right now, but I think it will eventually pay off. In the afternoon I have older kids (8-11) and some of these kids are absolute nightmares. I have one kid who refused to participate so I stood him in the corner and I didn't take his pencil away and he drew all over the wall. That was the first time I seriously considered resorting to corporal punishment. I have thought several times about how this must be payback for my own academic disruption for disruption's sake. If there is something such as divine retribution, then I am up shitty crick, because I really have it coming. This kid that drew on the wall reminds me so much of myself it isn't even funny. I have a new schedule starting tomorrow. Mondays are the worst. I don't have a single break the entire day, other than lunch. We usually have one or two open periods throughout the day. This gives one a chance to sit down and regroup. I guess I will be pretty ungrouped on Mondays. I think it is good for me, really. I don't have to be there till 9:30, and when we get off at 6:30 the traffic has calmed down and there is still plenty of evening left to do something. All in all it is a pretty good gig. I like the staff, I love the kids (even the rotten ones), they feed us lunch, and I get to pretty much do whatever I want. After Thursday when Perry leaves I will be on my own with all of my classes. We shall see how I feel after a week of that.