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Report Cards/Admin work in class...
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Is it a bad thing to do administrative tasks, such as writing out grades or filling out other required forms during classtime with students?
Yes! Every moment in the classroom should be spent tossing pearls of wisdom before the hungry students! They are here to hear my voice, after all....
 15%  [ 4 ]
In general yes, but if the administration specifically asked you to fill something out in class, then it is ok.
 11%  [ 3 ]
Adminsitrative paperwork and grade reporting -- whut dat?
 3%  [ 1 ]
If the teacher has designed a sound lesson that allows for time to do some administrative tasks, more power to 'em!
 50%  [ 13 ]
Teachers are over-worked and under-paid, and the boss should be happy we are filling out the report card at all!
 19%  [ 5 ]
If I could leave my students alone to work on something for 5 minutes, I'd rather pop out for a smoke than fill out a report.
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 26

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Joined: 25 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, how I loooooove holier than thou teachers. If you can't keep an eye on your students and do something else at the same time, then YOU'RE the one with the problem, not me.

In a 90-minute class am I going to be standing up there yakking away "teaching" the entire time? No way. At least 15 minutes the kids spent doing some individual quiet time work. If I saw that someone was clueless (as was often the case) I'd go over and help her or him out. Otherwise I'd be working on grading/admin stuff or even preparing something for their next class while the ideas for this particular group were fresh in my mind since I had them all right in front of me. Oooh, what a terrible person I am. Since I spent MANY more hours outside of class doing prep work that was necessitated because of the shitty materials we had to work with, I'm not too concerned that I was slacking off/not earning my paycheck.

As long as you aren't reading the latest Harry Potter or have your headphones on, I really don't think using the last 15/20 minutes of class to your advantage is a big deal.
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Joined: 25 Jul 2003
Location: Sunny Anyang

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2003 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok Mr. Fly, here's my input:

A school that requires admin. procedures from it's teachers should pay them for them.
I've mentioned before about my contract last year, specifically with regard to report cards and their content, but as for filling them out in class I see no problem with it as it creates another opportunity for a teacher to get a handle on students.
In my final 3-4 months I put the cards in front of the students in class and asked them what grades they thought they deserved, on the one side, and on the other, what they thought I should write about them for the month. I would then go ahead and write them.
This method, besides demystifying the procedure for them, also produced some good results in stimulating even the most reluctant speakers to pipe up.
The supervisor thought it was unusual but saw the students response and kept the smile on her dial, and the Manager laughed- all the way to the bank I expect.

Something constructive for your debate,

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Joined: 01 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2003 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much, Squid, though I don't know if Mr. Ms. Miss or Mrs...or perhaps Dr. is appropriate....

My final exam, for any class that is at a level to do it, is to write an argumentative/persuasive essay to convince me of the grade the student thinks he/she deserves -- I have assigned it to both American students and Korean students, though my Korean students tend to panic on it...and they are unusually harsh on themselves....

Thanks to everyone keeping this alive and moving...and I am forced to agree with Corporal, though not necessarily with her tone Laughing I would suggest the ability to monitor understanding and address the things that need to be addressed while engaged in a different activity is a skill one learns and develops as one gains experience...and is also dependent on class size. A class of 50 students, even taking tests, would probably require most to all of my attention. A class of 15 students or less? I definitely have attention to spare, and if I have nothing else to occupy my mind, my attention actually distracts students....

EDIT: Pronoun change to properly reflect Corporal's gender.
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Joined: 25 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2003 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes...good amendment. I've never had the misfortune to teach a class larger than 13 students. If I had, I daresay there would be more of them jerking off while they were supposed to be working quietly. That's purely an expression by the way, not meant to be taken literally. But it was quite easy (for me at least) to keep one eye on a dozen students and the other on their grades as I ticked off As, Bs, or, as was more frequently the case, Cs and Ds.
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Joined: 18 Jun 2003
Location: terminal city in a month or so

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2003 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a great debate. I wholeheartedly agree with the comments that (in a perfect world) admin work should be supported to be done outside of classroom time, but rarely is. That being said, I have to say I come down firmly in the "Corporal camp." Gadfly has articulated many of the thoughts I have on this topic. I am a trained teacher (Canada) and have just finished a year here. Bear with me... I'm going to blather on about a few points that have stuck with me from my college classes, practicum and practical experience here.

A person's attention span is approximately eight minutes long, so it's wise to alter the focus every ten minutes or so. Being a talking head at the front/ side/ or rotation of the class, even an interactive one can get wearing on the students' attention spans. On my practicum in Canada I observed the teacher performing adminstrative tasks during the times that the students were expected to do silent work. She was available to the class. Students had a familiar routine where they could transition independently from one task to another if they completed their work. Practically every lesson had an set time for independent, quiet work.

Granted our ESL classes are distinct from the public school classroom, but I would argue that a bit of quiet time allows students to assimilate some of what they are learning. Many students require some quiet or contemplative time and this can be used in a myriad of ways. If a teacher can set the expectations of the learning environment then the students can work within that.

In my practical experience here students can play games, do worksheets or start homework assignments independently at the end of the lesson. Independent work can come when the expectations have been set out and practiced (instructions, rules of the game, language required, behaviour expectations, etc). In my (ever-evolving) teaching philosophy students do not need to be constantly actively monitored, or hear the charming buzz of my rapturous voice, but I do need to be reasonably available to them during class time. Doing admin does not remove my accessibility or undermine my ability to teach a lesson, except when marking homework (at the beginning of the lesson) cuts into my allotted direct instruction time (approx 20 min).
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Joined: 01 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2003 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Sorry Corporal, and thank you for the edit.

Personal best (worst?) was 58 in a public middle school class in Mokdong...I could barely SEE to the other side of the room, let alone monitor progress and check for understanding...US public schools taught me to handle 36-38 students. I never liked it, but at least I always knew what they were saying....

To Lesza:

You say you see the ESL experience in Korea as "distinct" from your experience in public classrooms in Canada...can you expand on that? I mean, do you really find the CLASSROOM experience to be so different, or does the difference reside elsewhere? Are students really so different, and is the teaching you do really so different? I have my own opinions on this, but I would like to hear what other trained teachers have observed....
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Joined: 18 Jun 2003
Location: terminal city in a month or so

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2003 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Gadfly,

I'm thinking about your questions and ready to post some gross generalizations about the differences between the ESL and public classroom. Here goes: for most ESL teachers (hagwons) we get the students after they have spent the day in public school. There are fewer of them to deal with at once (than public classroom). They are functioning in another language for that one hour or so, then they go back to their 'regular' lives. There is a language barrier to in-depth personal understanding of our students and time limitations. I can't say I necessarily understand their cultural influences, but do my best. In general I would say that the students of the hagwon have greater parental support than public school students in Canada (true of Koreans in general??). I haven't fully articulated in my own mind what the exact (outcome) differences are as a result of the environmental differences, but I believe that there must be some.

When I think about going back to Canada to find an illusive job as a public school teacher, I consider how I will translate my classroom management skills from a class of 10 to a class of 30+. I am pretty sure I will have to make a lot of adjustments. There is an acceptance of my personal (ity) style here that I will have to modify greatly when I return to Canada (specifically having physical contact with students-- no not that way!) I will spend the better part of a day with the same students, operating in a common language and likely a similar cultural background for the majority of the students. (I don't live in the super multi-cultural Vancouver)

When I made the comment about public and ESL classrooms being different, I wasn't thinking so much that the students are different but maybe more importantly that the philosophy of teaching is different between the two classrooms. Here as teachers we are often primarily (or even exclusively) appealing to aural learners, we are valued for our speaking skills and we may be percieved as only doing our jobs when we are talking. When we consult with our directors about the classroom we are talking to business people, not necessarily educators first and foremost. The success of the hagwon depends largely on perception (back to the talking head). When we talk to our principal we are talking to a seasoned education veteran (hopefully) who can balance the needs of education versus the bottom line. Allowing for an inclusive classroom and the needs of diverse learners mean shutting up once in a while!
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Joined: 23 Mar 2003
Location: almost there...

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2003 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've done reports in class, but those classes have been on days when I've had snack parties and when the kids are watching a video (and they get snack parties once every few months).

In general I think that the problem stems from university grads who are still used to being paid by the hour and going home. Most salary jobs don't work like that. Although not an expert, I know that most salaried jobs you are expected to put in some work outside your 'offical' working hours if you want to get the job done, however there are always people that won't.

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Joined: 01 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2003 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To Lesza:

You have made some wonderful observations, and you certainly meant something different than I thought you had I am glad I kept my mouth shut initially.

Honestly, I think that since administrators in Korea are mostly businesspeople, it is EASIER to propose new teaching methods and try out different theories -- you simply have to have a plan of action to present to the boss. You have to show the potential measurable benefit of the new way of doing things, and get permission to try it in a few classes as a "test." If you are successful (either if test scores rise or if scores remain the same but student approval/retention increases), you will most likely have convinced your boss to adopt your methods. It is not that easy in the US at least.

Thus in Korea, a skilled teacher is much freer to employ those methods and theories best suited to that teacher. The drawback of this is that other teachers in the same school might be expected to employ those same methods to the same effect, and that is not always the case....

I have a question about a comment you made toward the end of your post...

"Allowing for an inclusive classroom and the needs of diverse learners mean shutting up once in a while!"

What did you mean by this? You use some "dirty words" in this sentence, but I do not think you mean them the way I understand them Razz Since I already misunderstood once, I will again shut up and wait to hear what you really mean Smile
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Joined: 05 Jul 2003
Location: ...Enlightenment...

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2003 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, "strictly speaking" you are only PAID for your time in class, right? So, strictly speaking, the only time you should be REQUIRED to do work IS during your paid time, right?

I was going to give you the benefit of the doubt and presume you were joking, until I read your subsequent posts. Whether stated explicitly in your contract or not, prep time outside of class hours has been a taken for granted expectation sinse the dawn of time. If you resent working a minute more than your paid hours you should probably consider another career, you're just not going to cut it.

In efl teaching in particular, time is most profitably spent on speaking activities. A writing class is another story, but in a conversation class students should spend by far the bulk of the time doing speaking activities. Written work that allows them to become familiar with the grammar and vocabulary of the lesson should be given out at the end of the previous class, so the students come prepared speak.
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