yesterday i had my best class to date with the 3 and 4-year-olds. i think i am getting the hang of teaching them. it feels really good. this was the first time that i've had my class alone with them (no korean teacher) and have not really lost control of them for any portion of the class. this might sound bad, but keep in mind that their english is so limited that i probably sound like the adults from peanuts to them most of the time. however, i am slowly but surely learning tricks to get their attention. like at the beginning of the class, they were all chattering and not listening to me, then i started singing "one little finger" and they all just immediately stopped talking and started singing with me. they really respond to music, but only up to a point. if you try to sing more than two songs in a row (sometimes even just more than one song), they will get bored and start talking and playing again. the key is to keep changing what you are doing every few minutes.
in the past 2 weeks, there have been two new students who started in the youngest class. the little ones are always afraid of the foreign teachers at first because they have never seen any non-koreans before. the girl who started two weeks ago is definitely not afraid of me anymore. she's started trying to tickle me and stuff, but she still doesn't understand that i don't speak korean. she keeps coming up to me speaking korean several times a day. i know the other kids have told her that i don't speak korean, but she must not understand what that means. and why would she? how could she? sometimes i think about what a weird thing it is to even have a foreign language preschool/kindergarten.
i also had a really great experience with adam. i just wrote a post about him the other day and i mentioned that he never speaks except for sometimes when i can get him to repeat a word i just said. yesterday he actually asked me a question and asked me to help him. i felt so happy i almost cried. he really isn't as oblivious as he sometimes looks. i guess he was just taking his time and getting to feel comfortable with me before he spoke. he also seems to be doing better with his writing assignments, and he has started participating more in general. he used to just sit there zoned out while the other kids shouted the answers when i did flashcards with them. now he says some of the words even without me calling on him! i don't know if it has anything to do with the fact that i have been showing an interest in him lately, but it feels very rewarding either way.
there is another kid in the same class as adam (the class that's mostly 5-year-olds) who pretty much consistently blows me away with how quickly he learns. there are a lot of really bright kids in that class, but this one kid is particularly impressive. yesterday, i gave them a worksheet that had three words that none of the kids knew. i told them the words at the beginning of the class. at the end of the class, one or two kids could remember one of the words, but this one kid remembered all three brand new words. that's just nuts. talk about a steel trap. what's even more funny is that this kid isn't the best-behaved. he's not terrible, but he does have a bit of a mischievous streak. i guess the combination of these traits seems funny to me, because with older kids, they usually either get into trouble or they apply themselves and excel in school. this kid is five and he does both.