Teaching two year olds English

Trip Start May 05, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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Flag of China  , Tianjin Shi,
Saturday, May 19, 2012

Today was my (Steph) first day teaching.  I only had two classes but I am so exhausted now.  My first class was very good for me. This was a class of 11, all about the age of 7.  They even managed to say my name better than most of the TAs - I am mostly known as "Steve", which confuses people because they think "isn't Steve a boys name?".  Yes, yes it is.  My name is Ste-ph.  Anyway, they were very nice to me and didn't run around causing too much havoc even though the Maths I was teaching was pretty dull.  ("How many wild animals are there? There are ten wild animals! Who can spell Ten?").  We played their favourite game, musical chairs, to finish the class.  They run around the chairs to their favourite song (We will Rock You by Queen) and whoever looses that round has to answer a question that I give them about the lesson.  They all got really into it and there was much laughing and yelling. 

I felt really drained after this first class, all of my nervous energy had left me! We had a two hour lunch break when my class finished at 12 so we went and had some sushi for lunch and then went to a cafe recommended by some of the other foreign teachers for passing the time in a quiet and relaxed place.  Evan didn't have class until 4pm and mine wasn't till 6.30 so we were in need of a place to relax and do some Chinese study.  The cafe is called Modern Memory (or something like that) and it serves illy coffee (heaps of places do here- its great!) and their menus are on ipads! You scroll through pictures of what you want, and some of the staff speak great English.  We then found a very comfy couch to sit on and pass a few hours in air conditioned bliss.

Evan's class at 4pm went really well for him:
I (Evan) was feeling a bit more confident about teaching after having my first class jitters over and done with the night the before. This class was all about the characters in Toy Story, so we had no real objective other than learning 5 key words and watching the opening scene of the original Toy Story (not making that up, I love this job!). Only 4 of the 8 children in the class turned up and it all went swimmingly. We played a neat cowboy game where the kids had to "lasso" the as many cows as they could in one minute with a sticky hand; they absolutely loved it! Again they weren't to scared of the new face and high-fives seem to go down a treat in any language!

After the class finished we went to find some dinner.  Because my (Steph typing now, keep up!) class started at 6.30pm we decided for the easy option of Maccas, and wondered over there.  Waiting in the line were 3 other Westerners one of them sporting a mullet-like hair-do and a beater (a singlet for those who don't know!).  When they saw us they said hello- in a very Kiwi accent.  They asked us where we were from ( I was with another teacher Taj while Evan was skyping Debbie outside) and were absolutely delighted to find out that I was another Kiwi.  They were from "The Mount" (Tauranga) and were over in China for some sort of Drag race competition.  One of their friends was even from Pukekohe, (I vaguely recognised the name, but couldn't have put a face to him)  but he was waiting back at the track for them to bring his dinner!  Such a small world, but was great to hear some other Kiwi voices!

I then had a Demo class - where we show prospective students and parents what classes are like at King's.  This class is called the 'fruit demo' and is targeted to the younger age group (supposed to be 3 - 5 year olds).  At 6.30 I thought that I would have a really easy time as only one kid had showed up (a very active and cute 2 year old in nappies who could barely speak in Chinese, let alone English!), but soon the class had 7 kids in it - only about 3 of them the right age for the class - but none older than 4 .  We had to change the lesson as we went, as many of the activities were way to challenging for 2 year olds.  It was fun though and they loved giving me high fives.  I even got some of them recognising the words "apple", "banana" and "pear" and sometimes even saying them.  I had identical twin girls in the class, (luckily they had name tags because they were dressed identically, down to their shoes and socks) who were great little parrots, they just repeated whatever I said.  "Can you say ap-ple?" "canyousay ap-ple?" complete with Kiwi accent.  Very cute. 

The last part of the class was colouring some fruit and then sticking them to straws.  When my TA had to go to take some of the older ones to the bathroom I was left with 5 young students who were more interested in the glue-stick and pens than colouring or saying fruit, so I spent the last 20 minutes trying to keep them interested in fruit and at the table - rather unsuccessfully I think - they had fun with me chasing them around the classroom though and the parents thought it was funny.

So, three classes tomorrow - one Maths, one Science and a young "Beeno" class where I will teach the letter V.  I'm exhausted after only two classes today, but at least I'll sleep well this weekend!

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Jenny on

Little people and little classes = exhausting but fun. I am off to put fruit pictures onto straws tomorrow :)

Caitlin on

That cafe sounds amazing!! very modern lol and awesome bout the illy coffee, you must be over the moon!! haha welcome to my life steph!! but i do feel for you, hard enough teaching 2year olds that speak english let alone ones that dont lol (got a few of those too tho). sounds like your having lots of fun tho and you have both got the hang of it. the kids must love you both. crazy you met kiwi's let alone one from puke!! very small world. loving the posts, keep it up. LOVE xx

Gramz on

I love all the detail Steph and Ev - it takes us right there with you. xoxo

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