Monday, October 12, 2009

First Week of Teaching

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Well, I’ve officially finished teaching my first week. Yesterday was horribly long but I survived. Since each session is ten weeks long, I can at least hope that in nine weeks I won’t have to teach ten hours on Saturdays again. Here’s my teaching schedule.

What’s nice about my schedule is that besides the tutoring, I only have to prep for four classes. Kenn had told me during the interview that they try to give us similar classes to help keep the prep hours down and I’m relieved that he was being truthful. Kenn has been a great boss so far. Yesterday, my adult class had more than the limit of students and I sent someone down for Kenn and he and his assistant came up right away, explained to the class about the limit, went down to his office to work it out, and came back up later with a solution. At Westhill, I would have been brought more chairs and told to deal with it. Class limits are actually respected at Amideast. It’s nice to be at a place where rules are actually enforced.

The other day, there were lots of teachers in the teachers’ room prepping for classes and Kenn came in to see how we were doing. He asked me how surfing classes were going and chatted to a few other teachers. It was a great moment for me because I can remember the very moment when last year I was telling one of my co-workers how badly I wanted a boss whom I could trust and who took an interest in the teachers’ lives. Kenn makes himself available to us, he asks us how we are doing with work, and he cares about what our interests are outside of school. Plus, on Thursday evening he told us he was going to the liquor store and asked if we needed him to pick anything up for us.

Teaching went well during the week. The middle school kids are pretty cool so far. Some people complain about behavior but so far I haven’t had any problems. I’m hoping to have a good time with them this year since they seem eager to learn and they’re obviously capable of more things than the students I’ve had for the last two years (since they’re older). I did a grammar review this week by playing “Around the World.” It’s a perfect game for that age and it makes me happy to be the first teacher to show them the game. The first unit in the book is sports so I’m also happy to be able to start off teaching them a topic that’s interesting to a lot of kids. My high school group, on the other hand, has to start with the “At a Convention” theme which sucks because I would rather start off with a more interesting topic. I made up a quite elaborate Jeopardy game for them for review and it went pretty well. I’m hoping to use it for the adults because they actually appreciate my hard work. A lot of the high school kids just don’t seem to want to be there. I had one who was really bad. He was so bad that I had to give him a formal write up and I asked him to stay after class to sign it but he took off before I realized it. Amideast has a three-strike policy that is supposed to help with behavior problems. After one strike, Kenn is informed. After the second, the parents have to meet with Kenn before the student can return to class, and after the third the student can’t return to Amideast for the duration of he session or term. I don’t have much practice with high schoolers and the bad ones quite honestly terrify me. I have a lot of confidence when little kids have behavioral problems but dealing with high schoolers is really hard. I hope that I’m handling it ok. There are some awesome kids in the class too. I feel so bad for them considering that there are some real jerks in the class too. I hope that am able to teach to all the students and that the ones who want to learn get a lot out of the class. There is one kid, Ali, who is really young and very excited about learning English. He’s a total nerd but led his team to victory in Jeopardy so hopefully he won’t get too much crap from his classmates later on. In the questionnaire they filled out, Ali said that he wants to be a computer programmer.

My adult students are GREAT. I can’t even describe how amazing it is to be teaching adults after dreaming about having them for the last two years. So far, having them has exceeded my expectations. To make them laugh and see them nod their heads as I talk is such a satisfying feeling. I’m hoping that the excitement doesn’t wear off; it is so refreshing to have them. What’s neat is that some are moms, some are businessmen, and some are college-aged students. Imane, a college student with super cool hair and shoes said in her questionnaire that her interests are the 60’s, 70’s, and pop culture. I asked her if she had heard about a show called Mad Men and she and her friend excitedly responded that they have it here on Satellite TV. It was awesome to be able to talk to a student about something like that.

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