Saturday, October 13, 2012

Playing teacher

Over the past few years I have found myself in a variety of teaching situations.  These gigs have varied in formality and age-group from a paid position teaching my university peers to Saturday mornings playing with kindergartners in an attempt to get them to chitter chatter a few words of Russian.  Once again, I find myself teaching and absolutely loving it.  It seems that all my life I have been harboring secret desires to be a teacher. I knew there was a reason why I was ALWAYS the teacher when we played school. I mean, I honestly can't recall a game of school from my childhood when I assumed the role of the pupil.  
So what exactly is this awesome teaching fun I have found? Well, twice(or thrice or four times) a week I head over to a school called "Харьковский коллегиум" (Kharkov Kollegium) and teach classes of English to 8-11 graders. On Monday I teach 5 lessons and I think my Fridays will be 2 lessons, although we haven't had a "normal" Friday yet.  I absolutely love teaching them - everything about it! I love making lesson plans and then watching them in action. I love thinking up games, activities, and exercises, greeting the kids in the hallways, getting hugs from the students from the younger grades when I see them in the hallways before lessons, working with the cheerful, funny English teachers who are so encouraging and so excited to have a native speaker helping out.  I love that some of the kids constantly try to figure out if I know Russian and Ukrainian and will do anything to trick me into speaking to them in Russian while the 6th grade girls seem to be the only ones who can comprehend that a real American really knows Russian.  I love when the 8th grade surprises me with a much higher level of English than I was told to expect and then all nearly die laughing as they discover the silliness that is mad libs. In short - all of it! And I think the kids might just like me a little bit too :)  Their normal teachers are really great teachers and super awesome people, but once each week, when this crazy American who is young, bubbly, smiley, and rather silly comes to class, textbooks and homework are put aside and games, poetry, role-playing, and speaking speaking speaking reign supreme.  Yes, sometimes the kids get a little mischievous and loud and yes, there is usually that one kid in the corner who would rather do anything but speak English - but it's nothing out of the ordinary and nothing more than I can handle.  Instead of wearing me out, being with those kids gives me so much energy.  The forty minutes of each class fly by and before I know it each lesson has come and gone and I'm wearing half a pound of chalk and a great big smile.  
I think I have also found the perfect age group for me to teach.  I enjoy teaching at almost any level, but these kids seem to be the right age group for me.  They are old enough that we can talk about fairly sophisticated topics, but they're still down for playing games and will laugh at my attempts at humor.  
I'm excited to see what the rest of this year brings and hope the lesson plan wheels in my head keep 'a turning!

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