Friday, September 26, 2008

Competitive Kids

I realized this week that kids are super competitive (ok, I knew that one), and that this can be used to my advantage when I teach.

I long since abandoned following the lesson plans that my boss wrote (heh, hopefully she doesn't read this). The thing is, I am supposed to cover certain vocabulary, but I try to introduce extra stuff if the kids can handle it, and instead of using flash cards I sometimes use other materials like toys. Anyways, the games I am supposed to play are often extra boring, so instead I make up my own games, and also I give kids colored pebbles when they get points in the game. I also give them pebbles when they answer vocabulary/grammar questions correctly. I am still working out the system, but anyways, it works magic. The kids get so excited about getting the questions right, because they can see easily how well they did. These colored pebbles are very pretty, by the way. I am 25 and I love playing with them. They are kind of like this:

So at the end of the class the one who gets the most pebbles gets extra stickers. They are just stickers, but hey, the kids are happy, because we are talking about 2-9 year old kids here ;).

Today I had my bad class, but these two 4-year old boys who usually misbehave were so good compared to their usual behaviour, I was shocked (in a good way). We laughed so much. It's weird, these two kids really misbehave, but I still love them. I guess that's because for one they are super cute, but also they play around and test my limits, but they don't do it in a malicious way.

My manager, a wonderful wonderful woman, told me something interesting this week. She has been working with children for many years, and she said the most important thing she learned was not to give up on kids, because their personalities really change as they grow. She was telling me today, one of my kids, who is really good at English, and who behaves, was really bad before. He'd hit other kids, and not listen. So this week when I had kids who were acting a bit crazy, whenever I started feeling something negative, I'd think back about what she said.

My dad asked me the other day if I have favourite kids, and kids I dislike. I guess I have two or three kids I dislike, and I have a few kids I really love (haha, the manager's son is my favourite :D, he is the cutest 6-year old I've ever met), but in general though, I mostly like everyone. It's hard not to. Sometimes they'd cry their eyes out, but then two minutes later they are smiling, and once they smile it's impossible not to like them. I always remind myself, if they misbehave, it's not because they are trying to be mean, it's because they don't know any better, they never learned how to behave, so really, it's my job to teach them, and if I get upset, I'll only waste a learning opportunity. That said, I really don't have too many behaviour issues in my classes. I have a few crazy classes, but the class size is small, so I can manage. Once the kids were really crazy and loud, so my manager had to come in and help me settle the kids down (parents were complaining outside). I think the kids got in trouble with parents that day though because they were great the following week (this Monday, yay).

All right, speaking of students, my junior high school student has a kendo tournament tomorrow, so I should go sleep soon, because I will be going to watch. I am glad he told me, because I wanted to see him play. The tournament is in my dojo too—I think they have many tournaments there because the gym is really big (like the UofT sports gym), so I am lucky, because I live close to that school.

I have a lot of stuff to do tomorrow, so I hope I can get everything done before the kendo practice in the evening (at 6:30). I got payed yesterday, so I need to buy some stuff, like a new pillow, food, etc. So I hope that my student will play early in the tournament, and that I can leave :D. Although, last time he got second place in the tournament, he told me, so if he keeps winning tomorrow, I don't think I'll leave, I will want to stay and cheer till the end, probably.

Ok, bed time!!

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