I'm really enjoying the start of term. I was oddly nervous before it kicked off, but now I'm finding it great fun. The last couple of months I realise I was a little like a fill-in teacher, just picking up where the previous teacher left off, and to be honest I feel my predecessor made a bit of an arse of some of the classes and I'd my work cut out just getting everyone to the same level, and to behave a bit better.
But now I've got all new classes - some absolutely new kids and some classes that are the previous classes jumbled around a little with a smattering of new kids, Some old faces from my first few weeks have returned too. Best of all, most classes are starting new books afresh, so now I can dictate the pace. The classes feel like MY classes now, which makes a big difference.
I got the Forest class today. They're the new class, about 8 of them. And my God they're young. One child, who has done little else but cry, is possibly the smallest thing I've ever seen. If he's 3 years old then he can't have been for long. None of them speak any English. Fortunately I had them for gym and I did surprisingly well - just getting them to "catch the ball" and "throw the ball". Most of them were very well behaved. We had the tiny crier who didn't even make it to the gym, and we had another crier who spent his entire time looking lost and forlorn in the gym, mostly crying. Every time I tried to involve him he just shook his head.
He was the same kid that gave me one of my most personally amusing moments of teaching so far. I went into my Rainbow class to begin a lesson yesterday. Rainbow are a bit older, maybe about 7 or 8. They're quite bright and with good English, and there's about 11 of them, sitting behind desk arranged in a horse-shoe shape in the classroom. In the middle of the horse-shoe and the class was this little boy, looking baffled, confused, upset, slightly traumatised, while all of Rainbow sat looking and pointing at him in wonder, some laughing. So I walked in and he looked at me as if to say "What's happening, help me, help me" so I carefully led him out the room to somewhere less upsetting.
I'm still on 42 classes a week, even though there's been a few changes to the schedule. I think the director has the sense not to push me up any more.
David, however, has been upped to 45. That may only be 3 more classes a week, but believe me when you're up at the 40 level, every extra class makes a massive difference as it can be the difference between 6 straight classes and 2 classes, 40 minute break, then 3 classes.
I think he's feeling the pressure already. All he did yesterday was whine. Just bemoaning his situation and how exhausted he was. My pity for him has waned somewhat, as it's all very well whining and whining about it to himself and when I'm around, but he says nothing to the director. Of course she'll screw him if he'll just lie there and take it.
Today, he actually yelled at another teacher, which is unimaginably out of character for him. He's a 50 year old man, and I think if after less than 2 days of this schedule he's like this, he may not make the rest of the year.
But really, he's got 20 years English teaching experience. If he's just going to accept whatever he's given then it's his own fault.
I've been meaning to write more about my weekend as the more I think about it, the more I realise it was a pretty mental one, especially the Friday night with the Korean nightclub and the norebang with random Korean girls. When I mentioned it to Daniel (the Korean teacher) he said he'd no idea who the girls were, and to keep my lips sealed about the whole thing. Why? What happened? Sometimes I wish I had better drunken memory.
(most of the time it's definitely a blessing)