Saturday, March 19, 2011

Just Another Day Teaching

So, good news is—MY VOICE CAME BACK!! Apparently Chinese medicine works pretty well!! I had to take 32 pills a day, but I only did so for about three days and then considered myself fine enough without the meds. Now, before some of you get too excited, supposedly this medicine is more like herbals—natural medicine. That’s what Kelly (our Chinese coordinator) said anyway—and, since I didn’t really notice any strange side-effects from taking that much medicine at once, I believe her.

Now, since my voice came back, obviously it was back to teaching for me! Tuesday was great, and Thursday was… well, maybe not great, but I guess just another day teaching first graders that don’t understand you.

Something I do to help keep the kids attention is stickers! Stickers are like heaven-sent. These kids will do almost anything for a sticker! It’s incredible. Sometimes just holding up the stickers gets almost everyone to fold their arms at attention… sometimes. Mostly I only give out stickers to the kids who talk—ILP calls it “spontaneous speech,” meaning the child says what an object is without being prompted (versus me saying the word and the child repeating after me, which is basically what the whole lesson consists of).

The second thing I have to get the kids to fold their arms at attention is giving high-fives. I’m not sure why, but man, they love it when I give them a high-five. It’s really fun! This is something I use for kids who are repeating the words I say really loud and with good pronunciation as well as the kids who are folding their arms at attention when they’re supposed. Actually, I just use high-fives whenever I can!

Now, the third thing I’ve started using might be the thing that works the best. Sprinkles. It’s like a magical word in the classroom. I’ll get them out and start to shake the container and the kids will all fold their arms immediately and start saying, “Teacher! Teacher!” to get my attention. I use the sprinkles to teach them things like use the chopsticks, use the spoon, use the bowl, etc. While doing this I teach them give and hold and other stuff. Anyway, it’s great!

So, now that you know my key teaching methods I’ll describe my teaching day Thursday... you know, just for fun.

First and Second classes: a Chinese teacher sat in the classroom almost the whole time. Perfection, I tell you! My lessons went perfectly and the kids were just wonderful! Adorable! Fun! Oh, they were so great. We reviewed a lot of concepts we’ve gone over—things like put on, take off, use, give. Those are things our kind-of text books suggests we teach… I think. The text book looks like a coloring book, and it’s hard sometimes to figure out what I’m supposed to be teaching. Anyway, they were great… Until…

Of course, AFTER the teacher leaves the second class, a girl throws-up.

Hey look! Sprinkles…. On the floor….

Me: “gross!!!”

Kids: “gross!! *throw-up and gagging sounds*”

I didn’t know what else to do with the girl so I just told her she could go and let her find a school nurse or something--because she would definitely know better than I. Now, as if it weren’t bad enough that the poor girl threw up twice on the floor, I had no idea how I was going to clean it up. Class was over by then and the kids left but I had another class coming in ten minutes later. I re-arranged the class so the chairs were away from the throw-up and tried looking around on my floor for a mop of some sorts. No luck. Third class came in and I stood by the throw-up saying, “Gross! Throw-up! Don’t step in it!” and pushing my hands so they knew to get away from it.

Kids: “Gross! *Throw-up and gagging sounds*”

Ah, and worst of all, this was my third class: DISASTER. Not even the sprinkles were working for the entire class this time. This is no doubt my CRAZIEST class. Remember that kid I talked about that just ran back and forth screaming my first day teaching? He’s in this class. So is another kid that will not sit still for three seconds together unless I’m talking to him—then he just smiles at me. He smiles. Then I turn my back and he starts jumping on top of as many kids as he can. Then I turn back and again—he just smiles.

So, I put him outside of the classroom (that’s one of the things I’ve been told to do with ‘naughty’ children).  And, he smiles. Usually I just smile back and not think much of it, but Thursday was not a good day. That little smile might have been one of the most frustrating things during the whole class. At any rate, I finally pulled out a game that got most of their attention and seemed to be teaching them a lot.

Well, the good news is the fourth class had a Chinese teacher in it and the throw-up was finally cleaned up and the kids were AMAZING again and SO much fun!

Fifth Class: Awesome! This class  might be my favorite… I never have a Chinese teacher in there with me for them, and even though they’re rambunctious and crazy, they’re all so fun and don’t fight each other the whole time. I just play around with them and I feel like they still learn a lot.

Sixth Class: Oh, what do you know… it’s my third class again… they just rotated the exact same class in again. Beautiful. This time was a little more controlled and good news is—no throwing up!

And, that was just another day teaching. I felt like I almost lost my voice again after Thursday, but at least I had a nice long weekend to gain it all back again! Also, I had a beautiful day at a SPA on Saturday! More on that next post!

Friday, March 4, 2011


I think this will finally be my shortest post! Why? Because I've been couped up in my room for days now. It'd be nice to get out and try to hang out with people, but it's pretty hard when you can't talk...

Last Friday night I came down with a fever and a sore throat. Luckily the fever only held through til Saturday night-ish, then Sunday I felt a lot better. I still had a sore throat and was somewhat congested, but I considered myself to be healing up fine. My throat still hurt quite a bit Monday night and I was worried about teaching all day the next day, but I wasn't sick enough to stay home, so I just prayed God would keep my voice up for me for all six of my classes for that day.

Well, he kept my voice for all six classes (barely)!! And right after the sixth class my voice was completely shot. I could croak, but that was pretty much the extent of my talking.  

So, I figured my voice would rest that night and I would be fine Wednesday morning.


It got worse, actually. And I couldn't even croak anymore, though I could whisper alright. And, my ear has started aching, meaning an infection or something. All I had with me was an herbal thing my mom had me take that works mostly when you first start getting a sore throat. Too bad I didn't even realize I had it until AFTER I had gotten through my fever. Anyway, luckily one of the guys in our group had more meds which I started taking Wednesday night. It was my first time every taking cough syrup!! Not a great experience. But, at least now I've done it! Also, I basically poured it straight down my throat as fast as possible, so I'm not sure it did anything anyway. 

So, it's now Friday. Whispering is still the only thing I can get out of my voice box, and I obviously had to get someone else to teach for me yesterday. It's been pretty sad, and I feel like I can't even really socialize with anyone because it's hard to do so when you can't talk... Anyway, that's been my life for the past week.

On the bright side, I've been able to get quite a bit of reading done which is fun! And, I cleaned my room up pretty well... And, I've become MUCH more grateful for a voice and feel like I can sympathize on the very smallest scale what mute people might go through sometimes. 

At any rate, I'm going to try and see the school nurse today! So, we'll see how that goes.... either way, I have great hopes for being able to talk tomorrow!! I'll let you guys know how it goes!!