In my short career of teaching I have adopted many titles: Miss Jen, Miss B., Miss Baillargeon (or some attempt at trying to pronounce Baillargeon), but now I am Jennifer Teacher. Every morning when I walk into the school grounds, I am greeted by swarms of students who are eager to say my name in their best English. They are always smiling, bouncing around, and running up to me as soon as I step into the door. I’m sure this won’t last more than a week, but when I come into school still half asleep each morning, their smiles are contagious and they remind me of what my purpose is here.
When I am greeted, the conversation typically goes something like this:
Student: Hello, Jenniper teacher. (there is no /f/ in Korean)
Me: Hello. How are you?
Student: (shyly) I’m fine. (giggles and runs away)
Normally this is the extent of a conversation. Sometimes you do not even get past “How are you?” Today I was delighted to have a student come up to me, say hello, answer my questions, and proceed to ask me questions. This is my goal for all of my students this year.
My grade 5 afterschool group has a hard time speaking English, but yesterday I discovered they are able to read and write very fluently. I know that they have the skills to speak but now I have to figure out what ways work best. I wish they could understand that I am in the exact same position as them, except worse. I am also trying to learn a new language, but I cannot simply rely on my English in most cases. My first goal is to learn my students’ names who are in my afterschool classes. I have about 12 in one class and 10 in another. I had the students make nametags earlier this week so I am hoping that soon I will not need to rely on these nametags. The students find it funny when I pronounce their names and I hope that shows them that I am also learning and in a very similar boat as them.
It’s very rainy and I am getting over my cold so I feel like I am going to fall asleep. Might be able to get away with a nap before my next class at 4…