Wednesday, June 27, 2007

my 7s and 9s

On some weekends, a bunch of 7 and 9 year olds call me Teacher Doreen.

Me and Teacher Angie take turns with the 2 classes under our wing - the Primary 1 and Primary 3. As though my day job isn't enough to keep me busy and knackered eh? But they pay well, so I don't mind doing a few hours every other Saturday.

There are 15 students in the Primary 1 class - and they are... all over the place! We have boys who can never sit still, students who talk too much, the I'm-smarter-than-everyone-else types who read louder and faster than everyone else when asked to read together, the shy and timid girls who speak so, so, so softly I have to stick my ears to their lips to be able to hear, the ones who never bother to finish their homework, the ones who get 0 for spelling, the ones who get full marks for spelling - it's quite a concoction in there.

The Primary 3 class is a small one of 5 students, and I their company a whole lot. At this age, they are already quite knowledgeable, and will ask plenty of questions. It is also very much easier to teach them because I don't have to crack my head figuring out how to simplify a particular scenario or word for them to be able to understand it.

Teacher Angie and me are very different. She's a strict disciplinarian while I'm more easy going. The kiddies know it - and they exploit this fact. It's all quite funny because despite how smart they are, they seem to forget that teachers talk.

Then you get to know the children... yes, teachers all have pets. These days, despite me moaning and groaning about waking up early on teaching Saturdays, I still look forward to seeing the children. For me, I think it has to do with the fact that they are so innocent and naive, and for that few hours, my mind is taken off all "adult matters" - like bills to pay, work-related stress, and well, general "adult" worries.

A few nights ago, I was up marking their homework sheets. We had also just finished a term, which means I have to count the stickers in the 7-year olds' spelling books in order to reward them with little presents. A big sticker for full marks, and a small sticker for those who have only 1 mistake.

2 students stood out when I leafed through their spelling books. One has 12 big stickers out of 14 spelling tests. He's a quiet boy in class, and I don't remember ever having to yell at him at all. The other student, this girl, stood out because in the early weeks, she started off with failing her spelling tests and even getting zeros for quite a number of them. But progress is noticeable because of late, she's been doing rather well, even getting full marks for some tests!

Is this why people find satisfaction and joy in teaching?

Posted by Doreen at 9:50 am