My teaching experience has rarely involved students under the age of 7. In China, for some reason, I’d only been handed the higher-level kids, and I learned to really enjoy it. Whenever anyone would talk about their experience with, or I had to observe, one of the “Playway” (essentially pre-school) classes, I got stressed out just hearing about it. “But it’s fun! You just sing songs and color the whole time! Way better than dealing with grammar…” But I’m good with grammar. I– dare I even say it– kind of like it. A month before my contract expired I found myself slapped with a full-to-bursting (which at EF, thankfully, means only 15 kids) class of brand new 4-6 year olds who knew nary a word of English. I was almost in tears after my first 40 minute-session, trying to laugh off to Wayne that they still hadn’t learned how to ask, “What’s your name?”
But then it did get fun! They were awful cute, and just so self-unaware and innocent and I found myself laughing at them and myself all the time. At the end I was sad that I only had a month with them.
In Thailand I’ve also only had experience with middle-to-high school aged kids. Until about 2 months ago, when I started teaching some extra classes at a new after-school English center called Baan KruBik. Suddenly I had eight (and then nine) little rascals on my hands for three hours a week over the course of Thursday and Friday evenings. I’ll admit it was often hard to get myself motivated, upon finishing an already full work day, to go and teach again for 250 Baht an hour (roughly $8). But once we got into the swing of things I must admit I nearly always left the class with a smile on my face.
And now it’s all over! I taught my last class with them on Friday. Here are some pictures and a video of them.
(Funny[-ish] story regarding this song… It’s Tilly and the Wall’s appearance on Sesame street singing the ABC Song. Now, the kids loved it and despite the commentary about the one girl’s tattoos I found it to be an enjoyable and totally appropriate addition to my class. If you’re familiar at all with Tilly and the Wall [say, with this song, that resulted in my dad’s snapping of a CD I’d burned in high school], you might be surprised that they put out any kindergarten-worthy material. Now, Jack Johnson on the other hand… he’s a teacher’s dream. Put on “Upside Down” in class, and you’ve won the kids’ hearts for life. Put on a Jack Johnson YouTube playlist, and you’ve got ambiance for a full coloring session, right? Well… until the Andy Samburg-featuring “At or With Me” comes up, and you don’t realize what the video entails until you follow the direction of every child’s gaze and find them watching a full-on bar fight complete with knives and bottles being broken over heads. Whoops.)
(Oh also notice Krit, the much larger boy who moves to the back immediately. Krit is 9. I still don’t know why he was put into the class with the 4 and 5 year olds…)