I am not sure teaching is what I expected it to be. At first, I wondered if it was because I was teaching in a different language. It’s not easy to communicate with the kids, and the adults, in a foreign language, whether teaching or just in general conversation. It’s not easy teaching different ages one after the other, assessing the ability of each class, and the ability of the students within the class as well. I expected those dilemmas to crop up, teaching English in a primary school isn’t like any teaching experience I had so I knew there would be issues that I hadn’t faced before. What I am struggling with is the boredom and wasting time.
Everyday, I go to school for 8am (except the morning where I need to be in for 7am to complete gate duty) and sit in my office for up to half an hour, depending on whether I go to the flag ceremony. I have (minimum) 3 hours free per day, I’m only in school from 8am-4pm! That’s a lot per day. I guess having all these frees would be really useful to plan, create worksheets and assessments, and mark work. If I had to do any of that. My planning takes, at most, 2 of those hours, on one day. My worksheets either take 1 further hour to make, or they are made for me and I just chose it. I don’t assess the kids I teach, that is someone else’s job, so no time will ever be taken up from writing tests. And marking, well that requires some written work to be submitted.
Most of all, teaching is proving to be frustrating. I can moan about the free time all I want, but at the end of the day, I am just being paid to read books, play tetris, and learn Thai (the last of which is going slowly and badly.) And that’s OK, boring but OK. The thing is though, I came out here to a) travel, b) make money while I do it, so it all makes sense, but I chose this job because I thought it would be helping someone whilst helping myself.
The timetable situation seems to have finally solved itself, and having friends is a good thing, but the actual teaching is frustratingly repetitive. Let’s start with the first bit: frustrating. Getting a simple worksheet made is a faffy process. I make it, print it, and submit it to the Director with a request for the number of copies I need. So far, she keeps turning the requests down because they’re too easy. I’d say fair enough, but their level of English was on par, if a little below what I had created. I don’t want to say she bigs the school’s program up (they are part of the English Genius program) or that she is wrong, it’s just, I haven’t seen the evidence yet that says they warrant harder work. It’s no surprise that English is spoken sporadically (being generous) in this region, and that the children’s progression is the language is limited (at best.) I feel sorry for them, who wants work you can’t do or understand?!
As for repetitive, well this could have been a week one woe. I did a single lesson 17 times. It wasn’t all that interesting, just an introduction and greetings. Let me tell you, My name is Teacher Liz and related songs and actions just do not hold up after 17 hours. I don’t want to be bored with what I teaching, if I am bored the kids have absolutely no hope. I’ve mixed my topics up this week, so I am teaching 2 different subjects to different year groups, so we shall see how that goes. I am not holding out a lot of hope.
Yesterday, while I was sitting sorting and counting the worksheets, because there was nothing better to do, I asked myself the question that I need to think hard about soon, should I do my PGCE? I came here pretty much decided that it wasn’t for me, and that as much as I enjoyed teaching the reception children at home, I just didn’t want to do it full time. Then I came here, and immersed myself in the orientation, dabbled at planning, found a decent school, and didn’t suck to bad at the actual lesson delivery. it made me question whether I could do it at home. When I arrived in the staffroom and sat bored sorting, I thought, I just don’t know. I could put up with this, I quite often enjoy it. I’m sure having English speaking people to talk to would be a vast improvement all round. Being able to put up with it isn’t a reason to do it though. I think I might need to get more experience when I get back. If I do though, it will definitely be primary kids.
This week also happens to be my birthday week (not just the second in a string of teaching weeks that I moan about but that disappear rather rapidly.) I feel old. This has been a theme of many of my recent birthdays, but this time, I felt OK until other people voiced their opinions upon the increase in age. Apparently, 23 is officially the start of your mid-twenties. See, old. Ish. I know it’s not actually that old, but there we go. My facebook feed is full of people buying houses, getting engaged, getting married, ultrasounds, and baby photos. Congratulations to everyone, really well done. I do, however, feel even more like I have taken off around the world to put off real life. I just need to remind myself there is nothing wrong with that. I love this travelling lark, and I am still not truly missing anything, but I am starting to wish that people would stop their absolute right to flaunt their normal and appropriate happiness all over my feed. Again, genuinely, congrats to everyone. T
hat post changed slightly near the end there, sorry about that! Hopefully things will look up by the end of the week, where birthday pizza awaits, and the promise of a trip to see Mockingjay when it comes out looms. And that I will get used to the teaching week – I really didn’t think the early mornings would be one of the easier things about it.