I Didn’t Learn it the Fourth Time

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Normally I try to keep my titles from getting too long, but today I really wanted to write: “I didn’t learn it the fourth time: I learned it the first time.” Most of the schools where I teach only employ one assistant language teacher (ALT) each. This means my closest colleagues are people I generally don’t get to meet and with whom I have few common experiences. One of my schools is special in that two of us visit there.

Were that the only special characteristic of the school I would have nothing to post. Many of the children there have physical or emotional issues which greatly affect the learning environment. For example, every morning a host of teachers are on the phone calling various houses to find out why students haven’t arrived at school yet. Occasionally they left home and are ‘wandering’ to school, but sometimes the parents seem equally troubled and disconnected, and they just didn’t get the kids ready for school. Another special circumstance is that the class sizes are much smaller… I like this point a lot.

My fellow ALT was talking to me about good and bad points of how things are run at that school. We both agreed that there is a bit of Pygmalion teaching. From third grade to sixth grade, the children have had almost exactly the same lesson plans over and over. I appreciate that they are trying not to overburden these children and keep things fun and light; however, challenging them a little and encouraging and helping them when there is trouble might be a better tactic. Since we are just ‘assistants’ we can’t officially say much about it, so we continue on.

Last week, I was teaching the sixth grade a lesson about colors and playing a couple games. A few of the students were off in some other world, when suddenly on student let out a voice coated in true desperation: “This is exactly the same lesson we’ve been learning for four years!” I was laughing on the inside. Perhaps it is time to review the curriculum.

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2 Responses to “I Didn’t Learn it the Fourth Time”

  1. titus2woman Says:

    Fascinating! I love learning about schools there. This was not what I expected! (((((HUGS))))) sandi

  2. verbivore Says:

    Poor kids! And really, how boring for you. Hopefully you’ll be able (maybe?) to add a few new things every once in a while.

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