Friday, September 30, 2005

Three months in review

Happy three month anniversary to me. I am officially one quarter finished this contract. And this pleases me.

Perhaps you readers are sick and tired of hearing about nothing but children but that's my life at the moment. I also find it remarkable to read my impressions of the children in retrospect, so record I must. I'm going to write a three month update on my kindergarteners and then paste my earlier impressions (from mid July) into the text for a side by side comparison. Here goes.

The boys:

Elliot: I love him. He often has an expression of fear or trepidation on his face but then he breaks out of his shell and says "teacher, colour??" or "Y!!" (to help spell the day of the week). His voice is high pitched and the other kids made fun of that today. He's affectionate and has become a masterful colourer these days, often creating the best pictures of all. He uses multiple colours and those lovely thick pastels. He doesn't try to speak Korean to me. Here we have little Elliot. I think something might be wrong with little Elliot. Well, maybe not really. On the first day he semi-cried, semi- just stared ahead and didn't do anything. Now, a week later, he'll need special encouragment to touch crayon to paper and he is very hesitant to speak. Maybe once a day he'll brighten up and exude some kind of animation, but for the most part he reminds me of plastercine. I like him anyway.

Brian: Brian is sweet but he also drives me crazy. He's the most talkative in both Korean and English and hardly ever listens or pays attention. He wants my affection though, and will try to sit on my lap or hug me all the time. He also does annoying things, like playing silly games where other kids have to grab his thumb. He finishes his work first and just figured out how to kind of write his name. His writing sucks. Here is Brian. He was the crier on the first day of school, clutching his mummy for dear life. Now he's the life of the party. He speaks the most English by far, and with a little bit of an English accent, it sounds like. But he can't really write his name and he's not so great at colouring or cutting. He likes to say "I can't do it!" He translates for me sometimes when I can't understand Mindy's demands.

Peter: Peter's the genius. He's mild mannered and sweet with an adorable smile. He seems frustrated when the others are noisy and require stern-Jessica-voice. His writing is pretty good though he uses capital letters for his name. Everything he colours is green and yellow, no matter what it is. He knows his letters and remembers what I teach him. This is Peter who is absolutely adorable and good. He knows his colours and can almost write his English name. I love him

Yoon: I also love Yoon. He used to act up all the time but he's getting better and better these days. He's interested in English and tries his best to use it. He always says "I-da" which I think is his way of saying "I think" or "Listen to me". I'm not quite sure about that. Sometimes he gets hostile and will try to punch or scratch but for the most part he's loveable and cute. He doesn't like to listen at all as his English level is pretty low. Okay, nonexistant. But he'll respond to encouragement. Lots of encouragement.

The Girls:

Wendy: She's the devil! She's always getting in fights with the other kids and then she gets angry and doesn't do any work. She craves attention and does all the wrong things to get it. She is the best at writing in the class though not the best at reading or spelling. She often guesses the wrong letter for spelling the day of the week when it's right up on the wall. She whines, yells, doesn't listen, and has really bad teeth. She clings to me. She holds onto things when it's time to let go. She uses baby talk and calls herself a baby. Wendy is probably the most advanced person in the class in terms of writing and colouring. She can write her name and colour very well. She is not particularly talkative, however.

Elizabeth: She's become a very happy and assertive student. She likes to participate and has really been trying to use English. When she can't figure out how to express herself the way she wants to she laughs. She listens well and doesn't let Wendy distract her. She smiles and wraps her arms around me and gives me little kisses on the cheek. Beside her is Elizabeth who is moody and a handful. She's one of the ringleaders for bad behaviour. It's difficult to get her to smile.

Mindy: Mindy smiles and speaks English! She will talk about the colours she chooses and she will say "Teacher, me glue helper??" She sometimes uses this fake smile to get what she wants and I'm still getting used to this part of her expression repertoire because she had a long scowly period. She's very sweet and doesn't cause much disruption. Sometimes she talks too much or has arguments with Wendy. Next to him is little Mindy, the one I thought was so much younger than the others. Apparently she's around the same age, only really small. She didn't smile for the first few days but she's starting to warm up and she looks incredibly adorable when she isn't frowning or scowling. She is on the lower end of English speaking ability and she doesn't respond to me when I call her name. She's definitely got her own agenda.

Molly: Molly is the sweetest thing you ever did see. She's tiny and smart and has a jolly chuckle that cracks me up. She knows the letters and doesn't have to refer to the wall to know what comes next in spelling. She is way too slow in all her art projects so she hardly ever finishes them, which is a hassle. But she's just so cute. And she loves me.

Ashley: Ashley was away in August and I think she missed an important stage of learning or something. She holds her pencil in a fist and can't write her name still. She annoys me on purpose by standing up and running to the whiteboard, touching it, then sitting back down. She looks at me for a reaction. She does this kind of thing all the time. Or she'll sit on her chair in a funny way so that it's always toppling over. I'm trying to give her attention when she's not being a fool so she'll stop trying to win me over in counterproductive ways. Her English is below the level of the other kids. Next to him is Ashley who is a pretty sweet little girl, though she likes to test me and follows the other bad behaviour in the classroom.

Stephanie: We know all about her at this point. According to her father she hates English right now. She knows nothing about it and hopefully next time I write about my kids this will be ancient history.

I leave for Jeju-do tomorrow at 4:25pm and have an exciting itinerary laid out. It's a group trip of about thirty people so hopefully I won't feel too much like I'm in summer camp or something. I've gotta charge all my equipment. My ipod fell on the floor today and stopped working but it's now playing Sublime as we speak. Guess it just needed some r&r.


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