Students: Kids vs. Adults

Just over two weeks left in my Korean adventure.  My eager packing that started weeks ago is at a standstill because I don’t know where to go next.  I’m trying to steer clear of random stress that has come up at work and just try to enjoy my last 5 days with my kids.  Surprisingly, the first day back actually felt great.  I hadn’t seen my students since Christmas and everyone was energetic and smiling as we welcomed each other back from the holidays.

Nearing the end of the week, my students are tired.  Dragging themselves through class when their brains are clearly still on vacation or too preoccupied with their new grades which will begin in a few weeks.  I tried to ask my Korean coworkers why schools have six weeks of vacation, and then return to school for only two weeks, then resume vacation for another week before starting the “new year.”  I would assume my fellow westerners would agree that the long vacation between grades seems logical.  But hey, as I walk on sidewalks avoiding scooters, see dancing girls with bare legs on the winter streets, and go to the bathroom in sub zero temperatures, I am reminded that I am not currently in a world of logic.

As I reminisce  about my years of teaching, and wonder where my future classrooms lie, I have been trying to compare my different experiences in attempt to come up with pros and cons for each:

1. Elementary School English Immersion Program

Aside from office politics, this program is a  wonderful idea and has great potential.  It gives students a solid 80 minutes of daily English instruction by a native speaker.  Because the subjects range from Speaking, Reading, Grammar, Science, and Math, learners get a broad range of material to learn from, thus, eliminating some boredom.  I had a set curriculum to follow but was able to use creativity to promote my students’ strengths and interests and help them where they needed it.  I saw the same students every day, so I was able to build a strong relationship with them.  I was able to assess their development, and the students were able to monitor their own growth and build confidence with the language. You obviously have to deal with the normal issues of being with children under the age of 13—the fighting, crying, the small attention span; but also the laughter, the hugs, and the desire for fun!

Like all public schools, the hours run somewhere around 9am-4pm (with prep time included) with anywhere between 4-8 weeks of vacation a year.   Most public schools, however, don’t run an immersion program and hire native teachers to teach large classes throughout the day and can total around 400 students in a week!

2. Private English Institute

I taught at an institute for my first year which included kindergarten and elementary students.  Similar to the students at my elementary school, I enjoyed working with the young ones.  They demanded energy and creativity which was a good way to keep me interested as well! However, some days were very trying, as I had to teach the letter A sound over the course of several lessons to make it stick!  There were more runny noses and bathroom emergencies than in the elementary school, but the children were very inspirational.  Here I was standing in front of 5 and 6 year olds who were just starting to grasp their own language, and they were diving into a new language with minimal fear! This is such an important quality that I am sad to say, we seem to lose as we learn new languages as we get older.  (I tried to bring this quality into my personal Korean studying, so if you’re looking for ways to help improve personal learning, check out the Language Diet).

Institutes that have kindergarten usually run around a 10am-6pm schedule.  Like most private schools, though, vacation time in minimal (about 1-2 weeks a year).  Class sizes are usually small and I taught different classes throughout the week.

3. Adult classes

I dealt with adult classes during my CELTA course.  This was my first experience with this age group, and I was more than a little nervous!   I was pleasantly surprised that I eased into the system.  The students brought I didn’t type of energy than young students—they were there on their own account, not forced by parents to learn a new language.  They paid attention and most of them participated actively.  It was easy to notice the shy ones, who suffer from what I mentioned earlier –a fear of making mistakes.  One surprise that caught me off guard was that adults want to have fun too!  They want an energetic teacher, a variety of activities, and the chance to move around the room and practice.  I felt that I had to be more accountable for my lessons, though, since these students were paying for these lessons out of their own pocket and had certain expectations of us instructors.  This forced me to prepare my lessons carefully and thoughtfully, which made the actual class run much more smoothly!

I haven’t had professional experience with them, but I have heard that most adult classes are usually held early in the morning  or late at night due to work schedules.

4. One on One

Individual classes are a whole different ball game.  The students usually decide what they want to focus on based on their individual needs, so this helps in the preparation.  However, it can be difficult if the student is very shy.  It is very important to learn about the student’s interests so you can prepare material around topics that will engage them throughout a class.

Overall, I think I’d like to get more experience with adults to see if I’d like to get into that field.  I really do enjoy teaching young students because of their energy, but I think I would aim more for elementary and above in the future.

From every student, I have learned something new and promise to bring it with me to my next classroom to continue to grow as a teacher as well as a student!

One Response to Students: Kids vs. Adults
  1. Edwin
    February 10, 2011 | 11:41 pm

    Great post. Maybe you’ll get more of a chance to teach adults further down the road.

Leave a Reply

Students: Kids vs. Adults

Just over two weeks left in my Korean adventure.  My eager packing that started weeks ago is at a standstill because I don’t know where to go next.  I’m trying to steer clear of random stress that has come up at work and just try to enjoy my last 5 days with my kids.  Surprisingly, the first day back actually felt great.  I hadn’t seen my students since Christmas and everyone was energetic and smiling as we welcomed each other back from the holidays.

Nearing the end of the week, my students are tired.  Dragging themselves through class when their brains are clearly still on vacation or too preoccupied with their new grades which will begin in a few weeks.  I tried to ask my Korean coworkers why schools have six weeks of vacation, and then return to school for only two weeks, then resume vacation for another week before starting the “new year.”  I would assume my fellow westerners would agree that the long vacation between grades seems logical.  But hey, as I walk on sidewalks avoiding scooters, see dancing girls with bare legs on the winter streets, and go to the bathroom in sub zero temperatures, I am reminded that I am not currently in a world of logic.

As I reminisce  about my years of teaching, and wonder where my future classrooms lie, I have been trying to compare my different experiences in attempt to come up with pros and cons for each:

1. Elementary School English Immersion Program

Aside from office politics, this program is a  wonderful idea and has great potential.  It gives students a solid 80 minutes of daily English instruction by a native speaker.  Because the subjects range from Speaking, Reading, Grammar, Science, and Math, learners get a broad range of material to learn from, thus, eliminating some boredom.  I had a set curriculum to follow but was able to use creativity to promote my students’ strengths and interests and help them where they needed it.  I saw the same students every day, so I was able to build a strong relationship with them.  I was able to assess their development, and the students were able to monitor their own growth and build confidence with the language. You obviously have to deal with the normal issues of being with children under the age of 13—the fighting, crying, the small attention span; but also the laughter, the hugs, and the desire for fun!

Like all public schools, the hours run somewhere around 9am-4pm (with prep time included) with anywhere between 4-8 weeks of vacation a year.   Most public schools, however, don’t run an immersion program and hire native teachers to teach large classes throughout the day and can total around 400 students in a week!

2. Private English Institute

I taught at an institute for my first year which included kindergarten and elementary students.  Similar to the students at my elementary school, I enjoyed working with the young ones.  They demanded energy and creativity which was a good way to keep me interested as well! However, some days were very trying, as I had to teach the letter A sound over the course of several lessons to make it stick!  There were more runny noses and bathroom emergencies than in the elementary school, but the children were very inspirational.  Here I was standing in front of 5 and 6 year olds who were just starting to grasp their own language, and they were diving into a new language with minimal fear! This is such an important quality that I am sad to say, we seem to lose as we learn new languages as we get older.  (I tried to bring this quality into my personal Korean studying, so if you’re looking for ways to help improve personal learning, check out the Language Diet).

Institutes that have kindergarten usually run around a 10am-6pm schedule.  Like most private schools, though, vacation time in minimal (about 1-2 weeks a year).  Class sizes are usually small and I taught different classes throughout the week.

3. Adult classes

I dealt with adult classes during my CELTA course.  This was my first experience with this age group, and I was more than a little nervous!   I was pleasantly surprised that I eased into the system.  The students brought I didn’t type of energy than young students—they were there on their own account, not forced by parents to learn a new language.  They paid attention and most of them participated actively.  It was easy to notice the shy ones, who suffer from what I mentioned earlier –a fear of making mistakes.  One surprise that caught me off guard was that adults want to have fun too!  They want an energetic teacher, a variety of activities, and the chance to move around the room and practice.  I felt that I had to be more accountable for my lessons, though, since these students were paying for these lessons out of their own pocket and had certain expectations of us instructors.  This forced me to prepare my lessons carefully and thoughtfully, which made the actual class run much more smoothly!

I haven’t had professional experience with them, but I have heard that most adult classes are usually held early in the morning  or late at night due to work schedules.

4. One on One

Individual classes are a whole different ball game.  The students usually decide what they want to focus on based on their individual needs, so this helps in the preparation.  However, it can be difficult if the student is very shy.  It is very important to learn about the student’s interests so you can prepare material around topics that will engage them throughout a class.

Overall, I think I’d like to get more experience with adults to see if I’d like to get into that field.  I really do enjoy teaching young students because of their energy, but I think I would aim more for elementary and above in the future.

From every student, I have learned something new and promise to bring it with me to my next classroom to continue to grow as a teacher as well as a student!

One Response to Students: Kids vs. Adults
  1. Edwin
    February 10, 2011 | 11:41 pm

    Great post. Maybe you’ll get more of a chance to teach adults further down the road.

Leave a Reply

Awards

Kristin’s Backpack won 1st Prize for TESL Ontario’s 2011 ESL Week Blog Contest.
About Me


Welcome to Kristin’s Backpack! I jumped on the blogging bandwagon in 2010 to share my Canadian-theatrical-backpacking perspective on my world adventures. With my return to Canada, I will continue to dig into my pockets and reflect on life as it has come to involve Teaching, Travel, and Theatre. Time to unzip the pockets!
Portfolios
Check out my past and current work here: 

Kristin's Library
Looking for some interesting reading material? Check out my Reading Picks and Bookworm post for some ideas! 

               
This is what summer is all about- finished a book yesterday and am on to the next today.  I just opened The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, which has been on my shelf for ages.  I have been extremely interested in reading accounts that stem from true stories in a dark history that is often swept to the side.  
At the same time, I have been listening to The Maze Runner series as an audio book and have been extremely captivated by the young characters’ circumstances and their view on the world.  
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