This week we’ve been back at work with thankfully no distractions such as having to travel long distances, and we’ve been getting into the swing of things with teaching.

This week we were teaching the kids words such as ‘favourite’, ‘like’, ‘love’, ‘hate’ and school subjects. The idea is that by the end of the class they are able to pronounce the new vocabulary correctly and form a sentence such as: ‘My favourite subject is English,’ or ‘I like English and I don’t like Math.’

My P5 classes are pretty good in that they’re (mostly) well behaved and they grasp new topics easily enough. My P4 classes however are a mixed bag. As each class has 50 students and it’s mixed ability I’ve found that there’ll be several kids who understand what’s going on and get on with it and then there’s the rest who either don’t understand or refuse to work and I spend on average 20 mins of each hour chasing these kids up and stopping any fights that have broken out – they really like hitting each other.

Zoe and Jack are finding similar problems due to the mixed ability. Jack’s lucky in that he has a Thai teacher in the classroom for his P1’s (6yr olds) and this means they can translate and help out with classroom management, but like me and Zoe he’s alone with his P3’s and so a lot of the time is spent managing the classroom and maybe just under 30 mins of each lesson do they actually learn anything new. As new teaching interns and with a complete lack of teaching support, I think we’re doing pretty good – at least we know that the ones who want to learn understand what we’re teaching them and it’s reassuring when they can not only copy from the board but read it back to you with good pronunciation!

I had a kid in my P4 class today who’s English is excellent. He grasped the topic immediately and started shouting out, “Teacher! I like English and I hate Science.”

When I was making my rounds and checking each of their work I noticed that he hadn’t written anything down. I asked him to do some work but he later still hadn’t done anything and was now messing around with the water cooler outside. I asked him if he was bored and he understood what I meant and said yes. I tested him but he had the new vocabulary down pat. I asked him if he wanted to play a game, such as hangman but he said no he’d prefer a computer game. I said I didn’t have a computer he said on an Ipad… I was amazed at how well he understood our conversation and realised that he’s years ahead of the rest of the class. I’d say he’s not far off being fluent when speaking and yet he’s in the same class as all the others who although they’re not behind in general they have a long way to go before they catch up to his level.

It’s quite difficult to move around the classrooms as they are rammed with old wooden desks that are difficult to move and because the teachers move to each class and the kids stay where they are, it means they have all of their bags and books lying haphazardly around their desks – so it’s quite the obstacle course.

I had a kid today who had emptied his rucksack and was running around with it over his head making zombie arms and giggling. Needless to say I kicked him out of class but this is the level of disruption that occurs in every P4 class, I think maybe it’s because they’re at a certain age (8-9) and are between being cutesy and uninterested. They’ve been described to me by other teachers as, “very naughty, little monkeys.”

We start a new topic tomorrow – “What time do you study English?”

Zoe attempted the new topic today and said her P6’s (11yrs) couldn’t tell the time. So tomorrow we’ll be teaching the numbers 1-12, and the vocabulary: o’clock, study, am, pm, hours, minutes and then hopefully having them attempt to answer the question.

We are enjoying the teaching but we’ve all expressed how life would be much simpler if the class ability wasn’t so mixed. Also, with 50 kids to contend with it’s a full-time job just making sure they stay in their seats and are actually working.

Still beats our previous jobs though! 🙂

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