Wednesday, September 13, 2006

FroshEng: the inside scoop

Like all my colleagues, I am now teaching six hours of Freshman English per week, roughly from 10am to noon, about 50 minutes per class.

My first group of 22 students, supposedly the most advanced at Level 4, contains a few nice students but strikes me overall as fairly self-absorbed and saddled with attitude. A few students thought they could get away with making comments in Korean; I disabused them of that notion right away and told them, in Korean so as to be clear, that if anyone had anything to say, they should say it directly to me. The class gave a collective, comical "oooooooooh" to show they understood my ominous tone. I'm hoping this group improves, but we appear already to have started on the wrong foot. One problem is that this group contains too many people who don't belong in the advanced level. This isn't going to be like last time, when I had a Level 4 class full of near-native speakers who raised the bar and made life interesting for me.

My second group of 16 students, more modest in ability as Level 2s, were a much more pleasantly disposed ensemble, and I enjoyed our "academic hour" together. The teacher who was there before me, the vaunted (and possibly illegal) J, had tossed around Starburst candies for the students to chew on, so perhaps it was a well-timed sugar high that made these students so perky and easy to deal with. We'll see on Friday whether the students do as well without the aid of chemical stimulation.

My courses:

Level 1 regular conversation
Level 3 regular conversation
Level 3 regular reading
FroshEng Level 4
FroshEng Level 2
French: advanced
French: basic

I came to the realization that I have seven different lesson plans. Trying to maintain some semblance of organization has become a time-consuming task: Which textbook? Which audiocassette? Which handouts? Which realia? Don't mix them up! Add to this the fact that some of my classrooms are being shuffled around-- another thing for me to keep track of. I keep my syllabi, attendance sheets, and other vital paperwork together in a packet titled "Kevin's Brain," a packet I make every semester, without which I can't function. I've watched Kevin's Brain get rapidly thicker over the course of the past ten days, and the organic Kevin is starting to feel as thick-brained as the paper analogue. I find myself thinking that December can't come quickly enough.


No comments: