Thursday, November 26, 2009

Teaching ESL

I feel like I have been hit by a train. I shouldn’t be complaining because I have only worked a little over 90 minutes but in comparison it equals to a 10 hour day back in the finance world. Today I finished my second class as an ESL teacher and I have to has it was quite draining. Yesterday, my first class, was a treat in contrast to today’s epic.

Since arriving in Hanoi I have been tutoring American and Vietnamese kids in their homes. I have now entered the classroom world and the first two days have been a great experience. My first class was at a secondary school and as I entered the front gates the yard was full of what looked like a thousand kids in lined up listening to the afternoon school assembly. I was greeted warmly by happy kids with curious eyes. The school was massive with large long buildings four stories high. I found my class on the fourth floor and was excited to try out my lesson plan (made by Leg). The class of 11 years old I taught was generally responsive and got involved in the lesson. I am happy to say that I got through this one relatively unscathed and enjoyed myself at the front of the class. I was a bit rusty but overall I was pleased with how I went.

Today was at a primary school with a class of fifteen tiny 6 year olds. I was not given the classroom number before I arrived and had a real battle finding it. First a group of kids came up to me shouting hello and laughed hysterically when I responded. I tried to ask the man at the front office where my class was and he just grunted and held up 4 fingers. When I endeavoured to explain that I did not know what that meant he grunted again with increased frustration pushing his four raised fingers in my direction. Great! I decided to wander the school in hope of a helpful teacher. I was met by excited faces from all the cute little kids and two adorable little girls ran up to me and said;

“Bonjour. Vous parlez francais?”

I was surprised and happy to practice my newly learnt French with two 6 year girls. It didn’t take long for me to be out of my depth though so I bid them farewell. They obviously didn’t hear the farewell part and decided to follow me around the school with friends in tow. I finally found a teacher but she didn’t speak any English, only French. She was very helpful and with my broken of broken French I was able to explain my situation. I was directed to the next floor down and when I entered the only class where kids were not sitting down with a teacher I was told by a passing teacher that this was not my class. Shit!

I walked back upstairs to the French teacher who could not speak any English. Without realising it there were 10 or so kids following me and after a discussion with the French teacher one of the kids was able to tell me that I was in fact their teacher. Now we were getting somewhere. I went back downstairs and entered the classroom.

The next hour and a half was a constant battle to keep their overpowering energy under control. After half an hour I received my Vietnamese assistant who helped manage the damage. The kids were in the most part adorable and were excited by most of the activities (prepared by Leg again) but I reckon someone gave them sugar before the class as a joke on me. Real Funny!

I finished the class in a daze giving the kids a high five as they left to meet their waiting parents. Tomorrow I have another class with the young ones. I can hardly wait.

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