Day 3: ABC order, Lies, "Normal" class

Trip Start Aug 13, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  , Hunan,
Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 3. Today wasn't particularly good or bad. I taught a "normal" class for the first time. I'm not sure how many students there were-- close to 60. Surprisingly though, they were not really too bad. They listened better than class #129-- that dreaded class from yesterday. At times, they were a bit loud but in general, they weren't too bad. I still had to raise my voice a few times. I'm really emphasizing listening now, compared to my first class. I feel like I've spent half the time telling the kids they need to listen. I'm not sure how I come across. I think I'm going to lose my voice soon. It's so difficult to have to talk over so many students. My voice is so soft... When I get done with this year, I'm going to have a hoarse, rough, barking voice. I wonder how much teaching is going to affect my personality-- I've had to become more firm, more bold in the classroom-- perhaps that will come through in other aspects of my life. I need to come up with better things to say-- I always say "hey!" and "hey guys!" when I try to get their attention. I wish I could be one of those people who just stand there and look at the students and then command attention.
    I think I need to stop thinking too much about the kids who don't pay attention. I think I've spent a lot of time talking about and thinking about the bad kids-- there are actually quite a few very good kids. One girl, after class, told me that I shouldn't pay attention to the noisy kids-- that they are only talkative because they are interested in what I have to say and get really excited. It was a girl in class #129-- the bad class from yesterday. Its kind of hard to figure out how much talking they should be allowed to do. This class was actually a little bit better today. For the first activity, I told them to put themselves in alphabetical order. I explained "alphabetical order" and then asked them if they could do it -- arrange themselves according to English name. For the most part, they were able to, although there was one kid (Bill) who was basically directing everyone. I think they mostly spoke Chinese the whole time, but it was still kind of an interesting activity to do. I'm not sure if I will do it again. I partly did it so that they would sit in different seats-- I wanted to split up some of the kids. I think after they changed seats, they were a little bit more quiet-- though not much. And also, it could be because I really emphasized listening. I went over the rules and expectations and we did some more introductions.
    One problem that I did have in this class was some kids lying about their English names, I think so that they could sit by their friends. 3 or 4 kids seemed to have changed their English name between yesterday and today. One kid told me that sometimes they change their names. I gave him a doubtful look and said that in my class, they needed to keep the same name. I wasn't very happy about kids lying about their names-- I had already put their name cards in order so I knew what names they had already and what order they should be in. I wrote "Lie" and "Truth" on the board and basically told the kids that they cannot lie in my class-- that they need to tell the truth. I feel like I'm constantly scolding these kids. I've always wondered how I would scold my own children-- I always thought that I wouldn't be able to-- but well, when they're bad, I can be pretty harsh.
    I've realized, in introducing myself several times, that kids seem really interested in me and my background. I think it's really interesting to them that I was born in the US and that my parents are from Vietnam but that they speak Chinese. They also seem very impressed that I took Spanish, German, and French. I've taken to writing more on the board too. I think the first day, I didn't explain some big words that I should have.
    one other thing. One kid before class asked me to write my Chinese name on the board-- so I did, the best I could, what my parents taught me when I was young. He read it and then showed me the "modern" way to write my last name. I guess the way I was writing it is like, an old style. I explained that my Chinese last name had gone through Vietnam and then America-- so it doesn't look Chinese anymore. He told me that my Chinese name would be written Zheng Si Wen. Zheng--> Trinh? I should ask my parents about this.
    After lunch today, the American teachers met with the leaders of the English club, who wanted to film us encouraging people to attend English Club. They took photos of us and were just really delighted with everything that we said. They are really nice girls-- with fairly good English skills. There are a number of students who speak English really well actually.
    So, that's all for now. I'm so tired! And it's only 2 p.m.
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Ian on

Proud of you! I'm enjoying reading these articles you post because they always make me think about how I will handle my classes (which being Oct 1 I think). I meant to ask you about dress. We talked some about dressing professionally before you left. Did you figure things ok? Is it working?

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