Well, it happened about a week earlier than I was planning, but on Wednesday, I had two English Literature classes to teach. Okay, no pressure. I didn’t have anything too crazy planned for the day because I wanted to have some time to get to know the kids, try to gauge their levels and just cover some introductory stuff.
I have a new friend at school, Jenrika. She is covering the English Grammar classes, so she told me that if I have any questions, I can ask her. Thank goodness because I have lots of questions, and even though I’ve asked her about a million so far, she doesn’t seem even slightly annoyed by me. She also speaks English very well which is a nice break from the constant communication struggle that I have with so many people (it usually goes something like: say something, see confused face, say thing more slowly, see confused face, rephrase, get answer to question you didn’t ask, rephrase one more time, finally get the answer you were looking for. It won’t be like this forever though. I just need to learn how people speak here/what kinds of words they use and adjust accordingly. Give me another week or so). Anyway, Jenrika is my savior and the only reason why I have any clue about what’s going on. I think she has a good information source in the office too because she has the most accurate school details like when breaks start, adjusted class schedules for events during school, etc. I can already tell that she’s a good friend to have.
My first class was with grade 10 (or 10th standard as it’s called here), and I started out by introducing myself, giving a little info about my background, and explaining what I studied and the basics of what goes into designing a building. After that, we started talking about literature. I had the kids introduce themselves and say their favorite genre… which was a struggle and got me thinking that these kids don’t read outside of school. Since I’m all about setting unrealistic goals, I’m now determined to instill a love of reading in them, though I’m certain that won’t happen with the readings we have in the textbook. Maybe I can find something more fun to read after we get a few weeks in.
Anyway, from there, we talked about what literature is, different genres and formats, and attempted to make a list of reasons why literature is important and why we study it. They’re such high schoolers… the reasons they gave were mostly “to improve our English”, “to improve our reading skills”, etc. When I tried to explain that you can learn something from reading, that you can learn about what it’s like to be someone else or to go to a place where you’ve never been, they looked at me like I was a nut. Okay, goal #2, convince the kids that this is true. For homework (because I can assign homework because I’m a real teacher and everything), I gave them two questions to answer:
- Why is it important to be able to see a situation from someone else’s point of view?
- If you could go on a trip to anywhere in the universe, where would you go, and why?
Question #2 is super easy, but I have a feeling they’re going to struggle with #1. That’s okay. These are mostly so that I can see a little bit of how they think and evaluate their writing level.
After that, I went and did the same thing with 9th standard. They looked at me like I was even more of a nut, and that made me happy that I started with 10th. I guess we’ll see what we end up with. There’s no class until Monday, so that’s more than enough time to come up with something. I’ll be fine with them writing practically anything. Being able to talk your way around a question you don’t understand is a good life skill.