Posts Tagged teaching children

April 15, 2005 – Three days in a row

Today I successfully worked through a cold. It helped that I once again had a good kids class. I have now had 3 good kids classes in 3 days! Is this really possible? Is this some kind of wonderful dream?

Even though I was fighting a cold, I felt better than my roommate Palmer. He badly sprained his ankle during basketball practice, and came home on crutches in a lot of pain. Getting to and from work on crutches is going to be hard enough, but he works at Numazu NOVA where the teacher’s room is on the first floor, and the classrooms are on the second floor. That’s not going to be fun.

Remember kids – sports are bad for you.

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February 7, 2004 – Working with a hangover

Working with a hangover is no fun. Working with a hangover and teaching kids classes is less fun. Working with a hangover, teaching kids classes and having a completely overcrowded and disorganized work environment is, well, you get the idea.

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December 5, 2003 – First group kids class

(Original 2003 post)

Today was my first group kids class by myself. It is not easy to get 8 kids to pay attention to learning English for 40 minutes straight! I guess that is the difference between a good teacher and me.

(2013 update)

After only a few months as an English teacher, I was starting to feel mostly competent in the classroom, until I started teaching English to children. Unlike adult lessons where you don’t really know who will show up, the kids classes are scheduled at the same time every week with the same group. Adult lessons generally have students who are paying good money to learn English. The kids have no such personal investment in learning. I eventually became okay at teaching kids classes, but it was always my weakest point as a teacher.

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November 17, 2003 – Kids Training

Original 2003 post:

Kids training in Totsuka (south of Yokohama). The provided map is a joke. We sing the alphabet song many times with the NOVA approved ending “sing sing sing sing sing with me” instead of the preferred “next time won`t you sing with me”. After training we hit the izakaya and are locked away in a private room with a karaoke machine. I successfully ruin music for everyone, and Mississippi Mike manages to sing Sugar Ray with a gangsta twist, followed by some freestyle Snoop Dogg. I sing Barbie Girl, and manage to barely catch the last train.

2013 Update:

NOVA Kids was a reliable money making machine for the company, and the bane of my existence in as an English teacher. Regular adult classes would have 1-4 students who generally were paying good money to learn English. The kids classes were groups of 1-8 kids that were only there because their parents forced them to go.

When I took my training there were 3 groups for kids classes: 3-6 year olds, 6-9 year olds, and 9-12 year olds. NOVA later added a class for kids under 3, which I firmly refused to be trained on.

All of the kids classes had a set curriculum, which made lesson planning relatively easy. Classroom management was the tough part. There is a large difference in maturity and abilities between a 3 year old and a 6 year old. 12 year old girls are not interested in singing the alphabet song, while 9 year old boys just want to push each other.

I did learn 2 valuable things in the kids training. The first was the Japanese words for pee and poop. When a young kid tells you that they need to go in the middle of the class, you get them to a bathroom. The second valuable thing was that what you say isn’t as important as how you say it. The instructor told us that the classroom was an English only environment. Teachers were not allowed to use Japanese at all. I asked how could we tell a kid to stop doing something if they don’t understand English. The instructor stood over me (while I was sitting on the floor), crossed his arms, put on an angry face and said “NO!” sharply and loudly. It is something that any kid (or adult) would understand, regardless of language.

Training was interesting, and even a little useful, but the best part of the day was still karaoke.

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