Wednesday, December 24, 2008

[now I'm crawling towards the sun]

Ah, winter break! My last day of regular classes was Friday; I won't see most of my students again until early February. I'm going to miss my fifth graders, but I'll be honest, the thought of not having to teach sixth grade for a month and a half makes me a bit giddy.

During the holidays, I'm teaching three English camps. The first camp (this week and next week) is phonics with the first and second graders. So far, English camp has been a lot of fun. I only have seventeen students, which is a refreshing change after my normal classes, which are around forty students each. It's actually possible to actually interact with all my students during the camps! For instance, it's nice to be able to walk around and actually look at all my kids' work when they doing workbook activities and, if they're having problems, be able to crouch down and help them without sacrificing the other students.

Also, since my normal classes are only third through sixth graders, this is the first time I've gotten to teach the little kids, which has been a blast. There's a lot less formal work; we mostly play games and sing songs with just a little bit of deskwork. Also, this is such a fun age group to work with. The kids are just so exciting to see me and be here and learn English, and there's very little pretence. Also, I can be a lot more tactile with the kids. There's one little girl who will not stay in her seat and rather than repeatedly tell her to sit down, I've started just scooping her up and plopping her down in her seat. The little girls love to erase the board after class, but they're too tiny to reach half the board, just I just pick them up and let them erase the board in my arms.

The only bad part about winter camps is that they end at 11:20, leaving five and a half hours of free time before I can go home. That's a lot of time to kill. Also, I can't spend the afternoons in my office. My school's so old there's no central heating. Each of the classrooms have a radiator, but all my office has is a space heater, which doesn't keep the room warm. The current temperature in my office is about 44° F. I'm sticking it out in the classroom. It's especially rough since many principals let their NES go home early during the winter vacation, but not mine. It's also a bit creepy; except for the two teachers in the office downstairs, I'm the only person in the school.

So far this week, I've spent my afternoons getting super prepared for class. Part of the reason winter camps are going so well is that we always have all the materials we could possible need, primarily because I have five hours to prepare the day before. Need 180 flashcards for a game? Sure, I can make those. It's not like I'm doing anything else with my time. I'm going to run out of things to prepare soon, though. I've already started on next week's lessons.

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