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Getting Fired From My First Teaching Job In Korea

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Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:30 am    Post subject: Getting Fired From My First Teaching Job In Korea Reply with quote

Inevitably in each class there will be one or two students who do all the talking, while the other six or so students just sit in class staring out the window. The toughest part about this is that I would have no idea if the six other students were following along or if they were completely lost or if they just didn’t care. So, I decided to start my classes with some really basic questions I’d ask each student before each class. I usually repeated the same questions to each student, therefore giving the students who were called upon at the tail end, the advantage of hearing the same question four of five times before they themselves were asked the question. A typical question I would ask middle school students would be, “What is your favorite ice cream flavor?” This question was easy to answer because all the students needed to do was to say one word. Once the students all answered this question I would start class by telling them about my last trip to Baskin Robbins and how much I liked cherry-flavored ice cream.

In one class, I taught students as young as six years old who really only could say three or four words in English. In this class I would draw three or four animals on the board and ask each student, “What animal is this?” as I pointed at one of the four animals. The younger kids really like animals so this exercise is a great way to get their English vocal chords warmed up. Of the four students there seemed to be one girl who was a lot smaller than the rest. This smaller student was actually only five years old and would always be sitting with her desk glued to her older friend’s desk. She used her friend as an interpreter in class and someone who could tell her what page to turn to in the book. Whenever I called on the smaller girl, her bigger friend would answer for her. One day the older friend wasn’t in class and she was all alone. I was very interested to see how she handled this. As usual I started the class by drawing the animal pictures on the board and calling on each student to identify them. I called on all the other students first and saved the five year old student for last. Finally I came to her. I pointed at an animal on the board and asked her, “What animal is this?”

“Pishe,” she replied.

“No, ffffffish,” I replied, trying to emphasize the “f” sound.

“No, pisheeee,” she countered.

I once again sounded “fish” out slowly.

“Pishe,” she replied. This went on for another two minutes. Finally I decided that this student was not going to adjust her pronunciation no matter how hard I tried. Not only that, she would correct my pronunciation of “fish” later in that class, and every other class I had with her during the following weeks. It was truly a bizarre experience to have my English pronunciation corrected by a five year old Korean girl each day. Finally I conceded defeat and pronounced it “pishe” to avoid being mocked each time I said the word.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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