Monday, May 3, 2010

Phone Teaching

At our school we have to do this thing called phone teaching. Basically, we call our older kids on the phone and talk to them for a minimum for five minutes on a subject of our choosing. Since they aren't about to wax eloquent about Korea's multilateral relations with the world or the test band treaty, I stick to things more concrete. Such as the weather. But even this can prove a challenge for some of my kids. Allow me to give you an example of one of the more painful conversations I had tonight.

Student: Hello, Teacher!
Me: Hello, Daniel, how are you today?
Me: Are you happy? Are you sad?
Student: Yes.
Me: which one?
Me: Happy?
Student: Yes!
Me: Well, thats great. What are you happy about?
Me: Why are you happy?
Me (moving on): What have you done today?
Student: teacher?
Me: Did you go to piano lessons?
Student: No.
Me: Did you go to baseball practice?
Student: No.
Me: Did you go home?
Student: No.
Me: Did you go to the moon?
Me (moving on): Its spring now in Korea, isn't it? What's your favorite season?
Me: Do you like fall? Winter? Spring? Summer?
Student: Yes.

and so on. Don't get me wrong, some of the kids are fun to talk to. I had quite a few this time around that just went off chatting about something, half of which I couldn't make out. I have wised up since my first encounter with this particular form of excruciatingly painful teaching and I now conduct my conversations while playing old school Donkey Kong Country on my DS. This makes the whole experience a lot more enjoyable as I can defeat an entire level during the awkward pauses.

One boy, Antonio, is brothers with one of my kindergarten students, Min. After I asked him all the questions I had prepared I started asking them about his brother. Min is one of my favorite students because he is just the sweetest little guy ever. So, I told his brother to tell Min I would see him tomorrow. Five minutes after I hang up the phone, it starts ringing. I pick it up and its little Min shouting into the receiver: EMILY TEACHER! EMILY TEACHER! I can hear his brother in the background trying to explain that Min wanted to talk to me. I got the impression that he couldn't get near the receiver. That's how I ended up talking to a four year old Korean boy for about five minutes on the phone. Which really just consisted of my repeating phrases I knew he knew like "Oh my gosh-e!" and "Humpty Dumpty!" and the "Clean Up Song" which I had taught them.

I was just wondering how I was going to get off the phone without hanging up on the kid when I remembered another phrase they had recently learned:
"Bye bye!"
"Okay, bye bye, teacher!"

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