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3 March 2005
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KLB - The Joys of Teaching

The joys of teaching continued today. In a great stroke of planning, our program's semester doesn't change until the week after next but the school's semester changed today. Therefore the students' schedules have changed and in turn all my classes are mixed up. I didn't find this out until the beginning of class today either.

So I have level A students in my B class and B level kids in my C class and general chaos and confusion. My first class has just 5 kids now (down from 12) and the next two have nearly 20 in each. Of course, and this is no surprise, the kids who changed up a level have no new books and they won't be getting any. Several of these students are quitting at the end of our program's semester for various reasons - so they have no incentive to do anything except stare vacantly into space. On the other hand, a bunch of new students will be replacing them and and I guess I'll have a new class too, as I said before.

Basically I'm stuck in limbo between the school's change and ours and I have to wing it until our semester changes and we do level tests next week. It's not going to be easy, though. I didn't know what the hell to do today about the poor kids thrown into advanced levels with no books or comprehension of what's going on in the class. Argh! As a teacher, winging it is not easy in such circumstances.

Today actually stirred up some bad memories. Most of these problems occur on a regular basis in poorly run hagwons. I certainly don't miss that experience and can deal with this for a week until things get back on track. It just never fails to amaze me how stupid some of these education programs can be here and, among a mountain of other things, how much focus is put on trivial things like meticulously detailed paperwork and not enough on effective education of the kids.


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