Thursday, November 11, 2010

My new students - already poking fun at their teacher

Overall, my new college students are a pretty cool bunch.

I have about 53 ichi nen sei (Freshmen) who are 18/19 years old,
and I have about 49 ni nen sei (Sophomores) who are 19/20 years old.

My classes are 90 minutes, but split into 2 sessions with a 5 minute passing period between them.
So I teach for 45 minutes, that group of 25 or so students leave and the next group comes in for their 45 minutes.

The other half of the 90 minutes is spent reading. My students are supposed to read 10,000 English words every week. They have a bunch of ESL books to choose from which are color coded to difficulty level - so white sticker books are the easiest, with easy vocabulary and smaller word counts, and up to dark blue books, which are like regular novels.

I'm the only teacher in my classroom, and I'm in charge of all the lessons, grading, attendance, etc. Quite a change from the ALT status of most JETs, myself included.

Today I was teaching my 1nen sei about the English word "too." As in "too young" or "too old."
They had a list of 6 opinions and had to guess the age the person was talking about.
For example, "She is too young to drive a car." What age do you think this person is?

So I went around class asking various students their ideas.
One opinion was "He's too old to play soccer." I asked one girl and she said "40."
I laughed and told her I was 41, so I'm not allowed to play soccer anymore?
The class laughed as I pretended to mark down minus 1 pt for her answer.

Later I asked a boy about the opinion "She's to old to dance." He responded "45."
So I'm too old to play soccer and almost too old to dance.

The last question was about marriage.
"He's too old to get married."
I asked a boy about this in the previous class, and he said "There is no age limit on love." In English! Awwwwww....
But in this class, the boy I asked responded "35."
I pretended to immediately mark him down 1 pt for the answer and everyone laughed.
I mimed that I can only move around in a wheel chair according to them and should just watch TV all day. :P

I know when you're 18 or 19, 40 does seem awfully old, but the funny thing is I don't "feel" 40 most of the time. Compared to my fellow professors, who are all married and most have kids, I feel like a single, fun-loving guy.

It was an interesting follow-up class to the Tuesday lesson which kicked off this unit about life transitions, such as graduating from school, getting a job, buying a house, getting married, etc.
Aside from some interesting cultural differences, when I asked them what the most important transition in a child's life is, and what the most important transition in an adult's life is, I got some interesting answers.
They have a ceremony here for when you turn 20 years old, and some cited that as an important childhood transition.
But I tend to think of 20-year-olds as adults. I think a big childhood transition is learning to walk and talk and going to school for the first time.
Maybe the 20-year-old ceremony is a good transition for adolescence to adulthood.
According to the supplied phrases in the textbook I'm using, common activities that define the stage of life called "adulthood" include getting a job, getting married, and buying a house. I'm 1 for 3 on those criteria. See, I told you I wasn't a real adult yet. :)

Anyway - class is going well overall, and my kids seem to be enjoying my lessons and learning along the way.

too old to dance, but never too old to sing karaoke! :D

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