Friday, June 26, 2009

As I've mentioned before in my blog, I have spent the last five months teaching English at the primary school for three hours a week. My goal was not only to get them speaking, but to make them LOVE English.

When we started, the kids could count to 20, they knew colors and a few body parts, but that was it. English class was a bit...boring. And I don't blame them for thinking so. Some of them had been taking English lessons at school for FOUR years and still could hardly say a thing.

And it was definitely NOT the fault of the kids.

I know this, because by our final class, they could hold a short conversation, tell you about their daily activities, and hold their own in a Show and Tell session, among other things.

Best of all, they seemed to really enjoy themselves. I'd teach for nearly an hour and a half each session and they'd beg me to stay and teach some more.

The Show and Tell was a huge hit. At first, all 17 kids said they were going to bring their pets to school for the big event. But it seemed like asking for trouble to have hamsters, cats, rabbits, dogs, guinea pigs, a degu and a lizard all in the same small classroom for a whole afternoon. I was sad, but I had to make animals off limits.

What did they bring instead?
A soccer trophy, a bow, a knife (I hadn't thought to forbid weapons- but it turned out fine. No casualties), a painting, a book, a couple of statues from Thailand, some photos and two rock collections.

One boy brought his treasured cd of AC/DC's Back in Black. He plays guitar and idolizes Angus Young. He even gave a cute demo of Young's world-famous duck walk. ( For my mom, grandad and others who will have NO CLUE: The guy hops along on one foot while he plays. It's actually pretty impressive...if that kind of thing appeals to you.)

I put on the cd and we all listened to Hells Bells as the kids munched on the Rice Krispie bars I'd made for them.

And I thought: My work here is done.


La Framéricaine said...

I think that if you have not left them hating English, you have, indeed, done your work there!

I can just imagine how excited they were to use their newly won American English skills and hope that you will continue to teach them next year.

Way to go, Beth!

Joy said...

Awesome job, Beth! When you learn a language, you should be able to use it! :)

babzee said...

A co-worker mentioned this old TV advert today (not family friendly) while we were talking to our Persian boss about her struggle to learn English. The boss says she grew up singing American songs with no idea what the lyrics meant (or really were) and was frequently embarrassed once she learned the language. I hope your students know what they are singing about! Duckwalk Dancing is, however, a universal language.