Should I Stay or Should I Go…and More Thrilling Questions

I’ve had a lot of my mind recently and for me it’s always best to get it out in one form or another and then I will relax more and stop obsessing over ideas and thoughts.
So, here goes.  Just a heads-up, this may be a bit whiny/20-something-trying-to-figure-things-out, so if you’re not feeling it, steer clear.  In case you couldn’t tell by the title.  🙂

Let’s start with a bit of backstory and just general info on the hagwon (after-school academy system) here in Korea.
First, in it’s most basic sense, it’s an after-school “academy” or school that some kids go to after their regular school day is finished.  I work with elementary-aged kids and their main school day finishes around 1/1:30pm.  They’d go home for a snack or whatever and then off to piano/English/tae kwon do/math/singing/swimming/hapkido/Korean (Yes, extra school to learn Korean…)/Chinese/etc etc.
There are so many of these schools on a single block that it might make your head spin once you realize it.
The hagwons are meant to give kids an extra boost to basically get them better prepared for their future.

Anyway, for the past year or so I was convince that grad school was the next step for me.  I wanted to get a Masters in Education (M.Ed.) or a Masters in TESOL/ESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) had also been an option.  It’s still there, but I’m sort of second-guessing myself.  I enjoy teaching, but I think I’m just getting burnt out…or I dunno.
As we’re an after-school academy, we have a summer break (1 week) and a winter break (1 week) and all federal holidays.  I think it just gets to be a bit much.  I need more me-time or even just time to sort of clear my head and make space for new ideas.
It’s also frustrating because with this system, kids can come essentially whenever they want.  For example, in the same class, I can have kids that come every day (M-F at my school) or some just MWF,, or one girl is TWF.
It just gets very frustrating when you’re trying to teach and kids pop in or randomly go on a week holiday with their family.  I mean, it’s great that they’re going on a break and get family time, but when we learn new words on Monday, use them all week and have a test on Friday, and they show up on Thursday after a few days off–it really makes things tough.
In my younger classes we read two story books a week together and do two corresponding workbooks.  The older kids do one reading book and one workbook because they’re more difficult.  So if Johnny misses the first half of the week, he misses the prime day for new vocab (all day Monday), the introduction of the new story (speaking and reading) and then we have to play catch-up so he’s not just sitting there, and then it throws the pace of the class off.  Classes are two hours long.  I usually also don’t have any warning when a kid will be going on a trip/quit, so it makes it tough to do projects or anything too.
I think the other thing is that since we don’t have an official start date and that kids can sign up and drop in whenever, it makes it hard to plan new ideas.  My boss wants me to do “filler” stuff on Tuesday/Thursday so kids who don’t come on MWF don’t miss anything important.  *pause*  So, as my class is more reading based, I decided to teach basic grammar (nouns/verbs/adjectives/plurals, etc), but when you have a grammar day on Tuesday, and have supplemental worksheets that the kids are working on–what happens when MWF kid comes in on Wednesday and they finish the work quickly?
There’s a lot of copying going on as well, which I hate, but when we do 5 pages in the workbook and one kid misses the reading day and the 5 pages, not sure what else I can do besides pile it on for homework, which is heavily frowned upon.  They already get enough homework, and parents don’t generally approve of their kid doing classwork at home.

I dunno, I feel like I’ve taught nouns/verbs/adjectives to my higher level kids about 5 times now.  I keep getting new kids or kids who weren’t here and then we’re trying to do something that applies them and they have no idea.

Looping back to the grad school thing–I really like teaching, it’s just frustrating that I see these things happening and I’m doing my personal best to get over the humps, but I want training.  I’m not a trained teacher and I think going to school would help me see solutions that I’m not seeing right now.  Granted, the hagwon-structure is fairly unique and at most schools you typically get a roster of kids and it doesn’t change until the end of the year.  They move on and you get a new list the next year.
Another thing is that I have some kids that I’ve had for nearly a year and half now and I think that they’re becoming too comfortable.  I think it would benefit them to have another teacher with another style to continue to push them.  I enjoy my classes and I try and make sure my kids are learning different things and I try and keep it interesting, but I don’t think it’s necessarily helpful to have the same teacher for too long.  You can learn different things from different people.  The kids are kept in my class though because they say they like my class and also because it’s a business.  The kids like me, so the parents want them in the class.  If the parents are happy, they pay money and we stay in business.  It’s not hard to see, but it’s just another little thing.

There was something else but I can’t remember what it was at the moment.  I’ll have to circle back when I remember 😀

On a more positive note, I’ve got two things.  First, my cousin is getting married this summer and it just so happens to fall on the tail end of my vacation.  I got the approval for an extra two days of vacation so I can go (!!)–time differences/return flights–and it’s going to be amazing.  I have to miss a lot of stuff related to family and friends’ happenings since I’m abroad, so it’s awesome that I’ll be able to make it for this one.

Second, I’ve posted on Facebook a bit about this, but I’m pretty darn proud of myself with making the gym a habit.  I worked out a lot when I was living in the US, but fell off the wagon/horse when I moved abroad and found it hard to get back at it.  Anyway, I’ve been working out consistently since September and upped it a bit in Jan/Feb.  It’s now so deep into my schedule that I don’t see myself breaking this routine anytime soon.  It’s a great stress reliever and I’m feeling better and healthier for it as well.  It feels great to be back and the gym and I can see that I’m getting stronger too, which I love.

Ah!  The other thing.
My school has a massive English book library (rare for schools in Korea as English books can be expensive) and each book has a corresponding book level (based on the difficulty/amount of words in the book.)  The kids take books home each night, read them and then take a short comprehension test on it the next day.  The results are tracked in the computer and can be pulled up whenever.  Anyway, the parents obviously want to see proof that their kid is moving up in the levels (as do I) and can get upset if their kid’s number isn’t moving.  The thing is that they’re kids.  Not robots.  Some kids learn quickly, some slower than others and sometimes they stagnate.  I’m fairly strict with my student’s book levels (they have a range of three numbers that they can pick from) and they can change when they get a consistent amount of 80-100% on their tests. However, sometimes kids don’t read or they read and they didn’t understand it fully and then they get low scores.  Sometimes they get low scores multiple times in a row so I’d pull their level down a bit and they work back up.  Anyway, just got word that we’re not to put their level down anymore, just push upward.  Which I do 95% of the time, I just don’t want to push up and up and up if the kid doesn’t understand what they’re reading.  In my opinion, it’s ok if they’re at a certain level for a bit as long as they’re generally improving and working hard in class.  No need to rush.  Anyway, I think this one is actually pretty standard in many schools around the world, so there’s likely not much that can be done, just sort of suck it up and make the best of it.

Still thinking on the grad school thing…I just need more money and wisdom.  There are so many places I can go for the Masters–I just want to make sure that I’m doing the right thing as it’s an expensive decision.  I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be than a teacher though, so that might just be what I end up doing.

Oh and the cupcake/cookie thing from the Valentine’s Day post left you hanging, I brought in pink funfetti cupcakes.  No cookies.  🙂

I also have an English/Western manners week-long lesson in the works (Our storybooks/workbooks only last for a three weeks so I usually have an empty week at the end of the month where I’m supposed to create a filler lesson.)  I want to teach basic etiquette and Western-style table manners (including, but not limited to: how to properly hold/cut with a knife and fork–food lesson–yay!)  Just holding off until I finish the packet that I’m making and until I’m a bit less annoyed with kids randomly showing up throughout the week.  I incorporate manners in our daily classroom life (pushing in chairs, helping others, holding doors (struggle), etc. but I wanted to have a full-blown lesson on it.  Plus, I really wanted to do something with table manners.

Happy Tuesday 🙂
Hope you can walk better than I can today.  I did some deadlifts yesterday for the first time–nothing too crazy as I was mainly focusing on arms, but I wanted to give them a go before I left–and my legs are feeling them today.  Shoooooot. 😛

Advertisements

Valentine’s Day Approaches

As a single lady, I don’t really have any reasons to be super excited that Valentine’s Day is coming, but I do love it because holidays are always a fun thing to celebrate in a classroom.

I’m planning on turning Friday into a mini-party–still working out logistics–but I’m going to bake Funfetti cupcakes with pink icing and I want to make these cookies:

Yummy!  😀

And maybe some of these too–I could put together some cookie bags like I did for Christmas.  😀  We’ll see.

I also want to have them make Valentine’s cards for each other as it’s a cultural experience and it’s not something that’s done here.

Valentine’s Day in Korea is when the girls give chocolates/candy to the boys and a month later on March 14, White Day, the guys return the favor.  Apparently there’s also Black Day the following month (April 14) and that’s for the single people.

You’re supposed to go to the restaurants and order jjajjangmyeong, which is a cold, black bean and noodle dish.  You’re then essentially upping your chances to meet other single people in hopes that you won’t be single the next time it rolls around.

My goal with the treats and Valentine’s party is to make a fun party out of it.  I want them to be able to enjoy the holiday in another way.  I like opening their eyes to different things.
For example, a girl was reading a book about apple picking and there were yellow apples in the book and she thought it was funny.  In Korea, we have one type of red apples and SOMETIMES green apples (and the world goes crazy when they are here), but there aren’t any yellow apples.  I explained to the girl that there are yellow apples too and she thought I was joking, but I pulled up an American grocery store on Google and she was amazed by all the apples.  Not just one kind of red…but a lot of red, green and yes, yellow apples.
I try to also include other countries into the mix also.  I don’t want it to be all about America, but also about other places that I’ve experienced.  I like to pass on as many cultural things as possible to open their minds a bit.

With Valentine’s Day, I want them to know that it can be celebrated any way you want, but especially including your firends and family into the mixture.  It’s not only for boyfriends/girlfriends.  I hear so much about being “lonely”/”don’t want to be lonely”/”Aren’t you lonely” from the older people (my age) that it’d be nice to diffuse some of that before it gets going.

Let’s see…oh!  We watched Matilda the past two movie days (Only about 30 minutes each time)–and usually I don’t do two movies in a row because there are so many out there, but they LOVED Matilda, so we continued on a bit more with it.  (One of my girls in the class found the book in our library and I encouraged her to take it home and try it out.  It’s well above her reading level but she loved the movie and she seemed excited to have it, especially knowing that there wasn’t a rush and she wouldn’t have a test over it.
Ah yes, the point…if you’ve seen the movie or read the book you know there’s a horrible principal called Miss Trunchbull, and later in the movie it lets on that she’s superstitious and afraid of spooky/ghosty things.
This lead to a segway about superstition. A massive word for them, but I talked about it anyway.  We talked about good luck and bad luck and what things people are superstitious about in Korea.  They didn’t know the word superstitious in Korean (I translated it, but they don’t know it yet in their language, but they knew bad luck).  We also talked about how superstitions (or things that are bad luck) can be different in each country.
For example, in Korea, the number 4 is considered to be bad luck, as is writing someone’s name in red ink (symbolizes death),  I talked about some that we have in the US (walking under ladders, #13, black cats) and helped them understand why Miss Trunchbull was freaking out when there was a black cat near her in the movie.

Whew.  A bit long-winded tonight.
We had the movie day on Friday, but I made a note to talk with them about it because they seemed confused as to why this big strong lady was afraid of cats.  One boy just thought she didn’t like cats…but it was a good learning experience.

_________________________________________
More on Korean superstitions herehere and here!!
The first link is a good one and talks about ‘fan death’.  😛

_________________________________________
Anyway, I’m eagerly awaiting for a package from my mom with the two Titanic books that I ordered off Amazon for my Titanic-obsessed student.  I want to see his face when he gets them so bad.  It’s going to be beautiful.

Valentine’s Day is going to be snack-time (cupcakes and cookies–bagged candy can be pricey and I love baking, so baked goods it is!) and they’re going to make Valentine’s for each other and their parents.
We have two hours…so that should be enough time…right?

Thanks for the Motivation!

I’m having more issues with my school and this front-desk lady (whom is now “in charge of” the foreign staff and all teacher-related things–former boss now resides on the computer in the library).  I’m not being sarcastic or whatever–like really.

Anyway, a few things that have been grinding my gears:

1. I have a student in my second class that comes MWF and he’s the lowest in the class–low reading level/comprehension level/etc.  I went down to the library, where he goes on T/Th to “read/do homework/do book comprehension tests” and he had been wandering around for the 20 minutes that I was there with my previous class and was still wandering when I came down before my next class–his would-be class if he was registered.
Anyway, I asked him what he was going to do for his next two hours and he shrugged (as he usually does when asked questions).  I have seen him wandering on numerous occasions, not just this one, so I helped him pick out 3 books at his level and asked him to read them and do one comprehension worksheet (“book worksheet”) in the next two hours.
He said he didn’t have any paper or pencils today so I went up to my room, got some extras, came back down and got him sorted.  We agreed that that was what he would do.

Boss (who now resides in the library, as I mentioned) called me into one of the small classrooms in the library and told me not to give the boy extra work.  I explained that he was behind all the extra students and that he needed something to do during all the extra time he spends in the library.  Boss said his parents don’t pay us for you do to do extra prep work to help him.

Um.  I’ll wait.

I said that it wasn’t any trouble because there wasn’t really any prep work to do–I just picked out books with him (which he could technically do on his own, but I wanted to help him out this time around).  It was basically end of story, don’t help him.

I decided later to just give him and two other students in another class extra homework for the days that they aren’t in class.  Hopefully that will help him since I’m not allowed.

2. Ok, so I work 1:30-8:30 with a “10 minute break” between my 3 classes.  The first class starts at 2:30 and I’m expected to be in the room at 1:30.
I put quotes around the break-time because with stragglers from previous classes and trips to the bathroom, and when the next class comes directly into the room after you leave with the previous one, there is little “break time”.  Essentially under 5 minutes…if that.  I actually have a rule now (for my sanity) that the kids aren’t allowed to ask for extra homework papers, etc until classtime officially starts so I can get all my stuff done with minimal interruptions.
Oh, and add surprise new students to this “break time” and maybe you’re starting to get an idea.  I got 2 new students on Tuesday and 2 on Wednesday.  Some of which were just sitting in my room when I walked in–extra copies of classwork, getting folders and homework papers put together (I already have a stack printed).

Anyway, the thought of eating might not have crossed your mind, but shockingly, teachers do get hungry as well.  We (on all days prior to yesterday) were able to bring in a small snack or something to scarf down between classes or even get something from the convenience store downstairs.
Yesterday, I bought a small cup of ramen/instant noodles before my last class to tide me over til I ate a real meal after work.  I brought it in and put it on my desk (2 minutes til class started–dismissed the second class and essentially ran down to the shop to get it).  As soon as I walked in (I have brought in food countless times before, and many times I even bring in homemade stuff for my classes, or order pizza)–
ANYWAY, as soon as I walked in they were all like “ooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” and running out into the hall and around the room acting as though they hadn’t eaten for days and begging for some.
First, WTF.
Second, how rude.
Anyway, I called them out on their behavior and FDL (front desk lady, in case you’ve forgotten) came in and said that I shouldn’t eat that food in the room because of the smell.
First, this has never been an issue before that moment.
Second, I hadn’t eaten since about 11am.
Third, these are the same people that eat seaweed snacks (smells like the devil) in the classroom.

Anyway, it’s not like I walk around the room with my cup of ramen.  I eat a bite here and there when they’re doing group-work or taking reading tests, which the first 20 minutes or so of class.  Which is why it hasn’t been an issue.
She said to go into the office and eat it–she closed the door and started speaking Korean to the class–which Korean is not allowed in the classrooms.  I decided that it wasn’t worth it and went back in the room.  I said that we had a schedule to follow and that I would just eat later.  (Speaking Korean to my highest level class isn’t on the plan for today as well).
She went out and I had a chat with my students about why I was upset.  I said their behavior was rude and asked how many of them had eaten dinner before they came (all of them) and many of them apologized and they understood what I was talking about.  I broke it down very simply just to be sure and they all understood.
We carried on and it was as if it hadn’t happened.

As I was getting ready to leave, FDL came into my room and said she needed to talk with me.  She asked if I had time right then (I didn’t) and asked if we could talk tomorrow (now today) about what happened.
She said she didn’t want me to call the children ‘rude’ because they might be upset and not understand.
I told her that we had a big talk about it and that they did understand.
She seemed surprised and said “Oh, really??”

Anyway, we’re apparently supposed to talk about it today.  She has a habit of talking over people–usually at “staff meetings”.  There was another teacher who had an idea for a problem we were talking about at the last one and she literally spoke louder to speak over him.

I still stand by what I told the kids and I think it’s definitely within my right to call them rude if they’re being rude.  If I do not have a breaktime (and I think it’s bad form on my part to be eating away in the office while class is in session) and I work from 1-9 essentially…
They’ve learned a lot of life lessons in our class and I think learning not to beg others for food is a good one.
I also think that having all three of my classes at capacity with high parent approval shows something.

Anyway, TGIF.

Other lessons featured in my classes: (This is for my own personal enjoyment)
*Please/Thank You are required
*Pushing in your chair when you leave your desk/table
*Helping others: General Knowledge
*Helping others-Part 2: When someone drops their pencilcase/folder on the floor and everything flies everywhere onto the floor (AKA: Don’t sit there like a dummy and watch–come help!)–Note: I don’t use the word dummy or any equivalent.
*No pushing/wait your turn/Hands to yourself
*Clean up after yourself
*Hold the door for the person behind you
*Don’t laugh when someone else makes a mistake (especially a reading mistake/has trouble with reading…or you will receive my wrath.  JokingButNotJoking)
*Raise your hand to speak/don’t shout at me
*Ask questions.  Lots of questions.  Be curious.  Especially if you don’t understand or need help.  (This is HUGE here.  It’s considered essentially lowering yourself/”lose face”, but bosses are known to either make up something or lie rather than say they don’t know.  If my kids leave me learning one skill, I want it to be this one.  Don’t be afraid to admit fault and be curious.)

Life Plans

I’m currently planning to leave Korea in September…and I’m feeling a tad overwhelmed.

I’m sitting in a coffee shop doing research on a few of the ideas I’ve had rolling around in my head for the past 6 months or so about what I could see myself doing next.  These are some of the things I’ve thought about:

*Teach for America (application is filled out…just waiting on my own self to hit the submit button)
*A handful of universities in the US to get my degree in education (each offering something a tad different than the others with varying prices)
*Teach First (essentially Teach for America, but in England–and they accept foreigners :D)
*a handful of universities in the UK/Europe (cheaper than the US, but the application process and terminology is very different than what I’m used to here in the US…also daunting)
*Stay in Korea another 6 months to save up more money for the big move

Each one has its own wild path and I’ve asked for advice from several people and gotten a lot of responses, which I’m grateful for, but it’s also made things a bit more confusing as well.  I’m hoping that my research today will help me narrow down some of my choices so I can feel a bit more on top of things.

I’ve heard…less than stellar things about going to teach in the US, and I’m aware of the differences, but about 95% of the people I’ve spoken with said do not teach in America because it’s a huge mess.
I also really like teaching, and I know things will be very different than they are here in Korea.  I know that, and I’m really looking for something more stable than what I’ve got right now.  I want to put down some roots and feel more that I belong.  I think with the Masters (and speaking with a friend of mine helped me to keep this in mind), that it is a higher-level degree, so no matter where I do it (for the most part), it’s the same degree.
I also think that it will help to open more doors for me.
I currently have a bachelor’s in business-marketing, which I haven’t touched, but it’s opened the door to this Korea experience, which I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.  A Masters would allow me to teach in the country I got it in, but also let me teach English (or regular classes) in other countries aside from Korea.  Korea (and several others in Asia) only require a bachelors in something, but if you want to go elsewhere, many require a degree in English or Education.  Which I’d be getting…but it’s also insanely expensive (ie: $50,000 give or take a few thousand.)  FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.  My god. I just keep looking at that number and thinking how long it would take to pay back.  That combined with my undergrad and I’m locked into debt for the rest of my days.  *sigh*

That’s also why I’ve been looking at Europe and the UK–they offer Masters programs that are typically cheaper.  More research to do on these different programs, and here’s to hoping that they aren’t as suffocating and won’t rob me blind like the ones in my home country.

Anyway, I don’t think I’m really looking for advice or anything, just needed a bit of a vent and to get all of this off my chest.  It’s been swirling around in my head for the past few months and I’m ready to start making plans.

Oh, and ALSO, I could stay in Korea another 6 months or so to help save money for the next step…but I feel like it’s draining me.  I love teaching, but I’m feeling so worn.  We teach every day of the year with 2 weeks off–one in the summer and one in the winter and public holidays.  I love my kids to bits, but I feel like I need a 100-year nap.  I’d definitely need a break or something before diving into a Masters program.

Edit: I just stumbled across a really helpful site that converts the US grade scale to the UK’s grade scale.  Awesome 🙂

Rest? What Is This ‘Rest’ You Speak Of?

Busy busy, as ever.  It’s not necessarily bad, but I’m feeling it.

So let’s see…just finished the penpal letters, and all the students at our school have been working on a composition of sorts on the topic “My Hero”.  (If I hear the word “Hero” again after this week, my head is going to burst and fizzle.)
All of the students wrote on the topic about 2 weeks back, but some were going to be entered into a contest so they were a bit longer than the others (100 words to be exact).  We had the other students write it, but it didn’t have to be as long.

Anyway, fast forward to this week…we learned that they now want everyone to enter the contest.  The thing is, some students took their papers home (ie: are now lost forever) and/or they weren’t long enough, so they (me) have to write/stretch it out to make it 100 words. Even the youngest kids.  Combined with the fact that some kids are MWF kids and some have missed days this week because they had a big test at their regular school.  So trying to get everyone finished has been a pain in the neck.
Alllllso, we have another contest that the kids are doing.  There are two reading books for the kids that include chapter comprehension worksheets.  There are 3 different non-fiction books for kids in grades 1-2, grades 3-4 and 5-6, and 3 more books but with fiction.  So, each kid does 2 books, 2 worksheets and then a workbook for each book as well.
I actually really like the books as they’re interesting and good reads for the kids, but it gets tough when you have kids from different grade levels in one class.
Combined again with the fact that kids miss class periodically throughout the week and/or are MWF kids.
I’m hoping that a lot of my kids aren’t absent tomorrow so I can finish the rest of that ‘My Hero’ business and move fully onto the new competition next week.

I’m thinking of putting them into groups (or solo, in some cases) and just rotating around and such…but with different spelling lists (for the different books) too…oi.
The ‘My Hero’ needs to be all finished by all students by next Wednesday and all of the book challenge/competition thing needs to be finished by the end of the month (or 12.19 for me).

I have it all fairly organized, but it just feels chaotic to me with all of these books going on…and my desk is a hot mess.  I also feel bad for the kids because of all of the workbooks and stuff we’re throwing at them this month.

Anyway, still teaching the different holidays (it’s short, so it’s not that big of a deal) and tomorrow/today/Friday, I’m planning on getting pizza for the first two classes.  My classes are small and I just got paid yesterday so I don’t mind.
I just want to reward them (and myself) for getting through a tough/busy-as-hell week.
We’re going to work our butts off the first part of class to finish as much as possible from this week and then have our movie Friday with pizza.  Sounds good to me 🙂
The first class (youngest kiddos) were super excited when I mentioned pizza for tomorrow, haha.
I didn’t say anything to the second class about it, but I mentioned it a few weeks (2 months? 1 month?) ago that they could get it if they start doing better on turning in their homework and working harder in class…and they’ve been doing so.  Plus…this week.  It would be a nice surprise for them too.
I was working with one kid (a few actually, but one in particular from that class) about not asking for your reward.  He was asking about the pizza nearly every day and saying “Teacher, Are we being good today?”  “Teacher, how is our homework today?”  “Teacher, can we get pizza today?”
I’ve nearly got him to stop asking about it so I think it’d be another good time to surprise them.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnd, I found another girl to be a sub (the first one fell through because of visa issues…not sure if I mentioned it), and she’s supposed to be coming by to meet front-desk-lady tomorrow evening.  She has a lot of teaching experience, so I think it should be good.  I haven’t met her in person, but I think it should be alright.  I’ll see her tomorrow and hopefully that goes well.

i also want to get all these competition things out of the way so when the sub comes I’ll have the kids back on their regular schedule and it’s less chaotic for her.  She can just pop in and teach and not have to worry about deadlines or who has finished what.

Movies planned for tomorrow:
Youngest kids: ‘Barney and the Backyard Gang–Waiting For Santa’  (I remember this clear as day from my childhood :D)
Next two classes: ‘Elf’

Movie time is also rest-time for me.  I’m planning to cancel their spelling test for tomorrow as well.  We’ve had a lot of students missing days this week because of their big test in elementary school on Wednesday and sick kids, so it’ll be a nice rest for everyone.

3 of my 5 kids in my last class (super tiny class, I know) are sick.  2 are coughing almost constantly and 1 lost his voice yesterday because of all the coughing.  I might get some cough drops and store them in my room…

**Oh, AND we only have 1 copy of each of the 6 books and workbooks, so I have to copy all the books and the coordinating workbook for each student.  Depending on their grade level.

Oh annnnnd I have one kindergarten student in my first class that can’t read at the same level the 1st/2nd grade kids are able to read at, much less do the workbook or book questions.

And, time to pass out.  2 weeks.  2 weeks.

Busy Busy…

Yesterday, I started day one of including Powerpoint presentations into my class with my oldest students.  I needed something to get them off their butts because they have the most difficult workbooks and the longest books of the classes I teach.
I took them down to the library and we’re working on making Powerpoints on what they’re thankful for.  I wanted to start with a fairly easy topic while they get used to it.  Some kids have already used the software before so that’s pretty helpful (except when they get too focused on changing the different aspects of the slides and not enough on the writing…) Ah well.

When they’re finished, I’m planning to incorporate presentations into our Monday schedules, so, should be interesting.  I want to teach them about a Works Cited/plagiarism as well because it’s a rampant problem here.  That and I think if they’re going to learn how to do a presentation, we might as well cover all of the bases.
This is also kind of a test-run because I might want to use it with my new “high level” students when we switch the classes around in January.

Oh, and I’m working on a second music CD–this time for the older kids.  I think it was pretty fun for the kids and useful as I have some of my students coming in singing some of the songs (or lines from the songs) when they come in.  It’s not very many students, but I think it’s another great way to bring real-life English a few steps closer to them, in a less intimidating way and it’s really not that much work.  The hardest part of the whole endeavor was finding the bags to put everything in.

Anyway, busy as always.
30 days til vacation 😛

Still trying to find a hamster-sitter to watch Munch while I’m away :-/

Done and Done! Happy Day!

What a productive day!  Wahoo!  Feelin’ Good.

*CDs finished and distributed (All out tomorrow because of the MWF kids)–My classroom looked like Santa’s Workshop while I put all the bags together 😛  I put the theme to Titanic on it for a student that is OBSESSED with that movie and as soon as he got his CD he asked about it being there.  I noticed later that he circled it on the track list, haha.  You’re welcome, X’s mom and dad.  🙂  haha

*Productive classes (nothing much to say here–kids were speaking and working hard and everything seemed to flow rather smoothly)

*Great night at the gym and I lowered the resistance (assuming that’s the technical term) for the assisted pull-up machine 😀  I’ve been working on dips and assisted pull-ups with it and I finally got to move to the next weight (basically, my arms are getting stronger and I don’t need as much assistance on this machine).  Bada-bing, Bada-boom!

*Oh and it’s payday!  I re-signed for another year with my school like two months? back and got a raise along with it.  This was my first check with the new pay rate, so that was a pretty fun time at the bank.  🙂

*Annnnd (well, this was from last night/technically this morning), but I penciled in some activities that I want to do with the kids on Fridays in the next few months regarding the topics from yesterday (Acceptance of others, being careful with your words, etc.)   Fridays are typically a wrap-up day and I have more flexibility within the class schedule on those days.  Oh, and everyone comes on Fridays, so that’s a perk, ha.  🙂

This was the track list for the CD in case anyone (or my future self) is interested:
1. Do You Wanna Build a Snowman–Frozen Soundtrack
2. Look What I Can Do–Kidsongs (2nd song–starts at 1:35)
3. What Do You Wanna Be–Kidsongs (1st song)
4. Witches’ Brew–Hap Palmer (they love this one)
5. Splish-Splash–Bobby Darin (this one too–especially that dance–Note to self–More dance routines)
6. Thriller–Michael Jackson
7. YMCA–The Village People
8. Lean on Me–Bill Withers
9. Count on Me–Bruno Mars
10. Walking in the Jungle–Super Simple Learning (Youtube)
11. The Lion Sleeps Tonight–The Lion King 1 1/2 Soundtrack
12. My Heart Will Go On–Celine Dion
13. The Loco-Motion–Kylie Minogue (I liked this version better–more upbeat)
14. The Wheels on the Bus–Super Simple Learning
15. I Was Here–Beyonce
16. Let It Go–Frozen Soundtrack
17. Mr Sun–Mother Goose Club (Youtube)
18. When Will My Life Begin–Tangled Soundtrack (Mandy Moore–tons of vocab! yay!)
19. Five Little Monkeys (Jumping on the Bed)–(another favorite)
20. We’re Gonna Get Wet–Kidsongs

*Challenge Songs* (A bit more difficult)

21. Hopeful–Bars and Melody (anti-bullying song) (original audition version)
22. My Wish–Rascal Flatts
23. Roar–Katy Perry

I loved Kidsongs growing up so I’m excited to share it with them 🙂

I think I should admit myself to some sort of mental hospital because I’m already thinking of potential songs for the next CD since this one was such a big hit.  Oi vey.  And on that note, bedtime.