teaching advanced students and middle schoolers for the first time

this past week was the first week of the new school year in korea. this means that i have a lot of new students and new classes.

the biggest change for me is that i now teach three classes that are exclusively middle school students. prior to this, i have only taught a couple middle school kids in the tutoring that is organized by my school. i was really dreading the idea of teaching middle schoolers because my worst class before was older elementary kids. the girls are fine, and the boys can be too, but they think it is funny to try to mess with me and talk during class, and play fight/wrestle each other and stuff. sometimes they are openly disrespectful to me, though that has only happened on rare occassions. anyway, i thought middle schoolers would be worse. it's only been a week, and some of the kids have validated my fears, but for the most part it is so much better than i thought. they are really willing to participate and have great attitudes.

i am really excited about one class in particular because their english is really advanced, so i will be able to do a lot more different things with them than i can do in other classes. i knew they were more advanced beforehand, but i was actually shocked to find out just how good their english is. i can actually explain grammar to them in english and they understand me. in any other class, they would stare at me blankly if i tried to do that. this class also has a really great energy, which i was not expecting from middle school. i think part of the reason they are so good is that there are seven girls and only three boys. the boys haven't been as willing to participate so far, but maybe they will be after they start to get to know me and feel more comfortable in class. 

also, we have a lot of new students in the kindergarten. i am really excited because a lot of the new kids already know some english, like colors, numbers, some animals, etc. their english is better than some of the kids who just graduated from the kindergarten! the new kids seem more ready and willing to learn, so they are more fun to teach. 

i also have had to make a lot of adjustments in how i teach my kindergarten classes since all of the classes are now at a lower level. for some reason, it didn't occur to me that things would change this much, but i am actually really relieved and like to teach lower levels more. the highest level class that just graduated was hard to accomodate because they were so far ahead of the other classes, and i had to teach them together a lot of the time. now things are much better. i can do activities that are engaging both for the kids whose english is better and the new kids. that was a lot harder to do before.