Yesterday was science day at my middle school which meant that the afternoon classes were cancelled. I was just doing work in my office when randomly two boys came to talk to me after they did their science experiment (egg drop).
I ended up talking with them for a long time which is always fun.
They told me that English was hard for them and I told them I feel their pain because for me, Korean is hard.
I had them help me practice writing sentences in Korean and then I asked them to write what I wrote in Korean into English.
I think it is so cool that even though their English level isn’t super high, they still made the effort to try to communicate with me outside of class. They were under no obligation to talk to me, but rather they came to chat with me on their own volition. I told them I was super proud with them because they were going the extra mile (or in Korea land, kilometer, ha!) to practice English.
I really love it when students come seek me out after class to chat with me for two reasons:
Firstly, most of my classes are pretty BIG! It’s hard for me to get to know everyone when I have so many students (about 600! not counting the 1st graders in Middle school who I don’t actually teach but I sometimes interact with)
Secondly, I really love chatting with people. I have developed from a shy bookworm into a chatty, chatty, chatty person. I find it really interesting to hear about my student’s lives, find out what they are interested in and what is important to them.
I am currently taking Korean classes which I think is really helpful for me a teacher. I understand what is is like to be in a class taught almost entirely in another language and feeling lost and confused. Sometimes I feel like the dumbest person in the class and I am frustrated that I don’t know what the teacher is saying and what is going on.
But then when I know what is going on and I can answer a question in Korean or when I write a sentence properly, I feel so accomplished! I think: YAYYYYYYY!
This in turn helps me with dealing with my Korean students because I will sometimes bust out my Korean skillz when I am talking to them.
For example, sometimes in English class the students will be learning a new English word and I will ask them “What is the word for this in Korean?”
Then I will attempt to write it on the board in Korean and when I get it right, I do a little happy dance and say “I am a genius!”
Most of my kids laugh, they probably think I am crazy, but I think they are so surprised and happy I am trying to speak Korean.
I know English is hard, but all I ask is that the kids try! So I am thrilled when they really make an effort to get out of their comfort zone and chat with me.