Work was totally different than I expected. I spent hours preparing for my first lesson only to realize that, once I got done to it, it wasn't very hard at all. My kids were pretty smart, and very cooperative for being around 6 years old. Overall, I really enjoyed work.
First of all, the kids were so cute I couldn't believe my senses. A few were so short that I had to kneel to talk to them when they were practicing their workbook drills with me individually. Some were very shy, and you could tell that for the most part the shy ones were the youngest ones in the group. Their height and inability to even speak Chinese on the same level as their peers made this obvious. I'm definitely going to keep my eyes on them, since it'll be hardest for them to learn in that kind of setting.
I had a lot of fun. To motivate the kids to behave and participate, we have these things called Super Bucks, which we give out to students when we feel they've earned them. We can afford to offer them liberally since they're not real money, but the kids can cash them in at certain places for candy, toys, and other little prizes.
I adore all of my kids and so far none stuck at as being troublemakers. A few kids talked a little out of turn but were easily brought back into line without me having to raise my voice. I have some amazing kids, actually. One girl, Lisa, is quite fascinated by me. She would often stare at me before class and while they were doing their workbook assignments. She eventually grew a bit possessive of my attention though, trying to flag me down when I was helping others with their workbook, even though she didn't have a real question.
Jack was probably my smartest boy. He was the first to ace the spoken part of the workbook assignment, and he participated a lot in class. He took home 6 super bucks today, just two behind Lisa, who took home 8. Most other students participated moderately, but there are a few students who are just too young to really feel comfortable participating. However, everybody shined during phonics practice today. The class was behind on phonics practice so I brought them up to speed, but the kids were so smart and I was genuinely impressed with their level of accuracy compared to what I was told to expect.
Emily is one of those students that struggles. She struggled a little bit with the concepts of "on", "in", and "under" today. Her handwriting is great, and she does pretty well, about average I guess, on her workbook homework, but she hasn't spoken a word to me for the most part. She is just heartbreakingly cute, too, standing at about the middle of my thigh.
I really loved work today and it shattered my expectations. I look forward to seeing this class again. I would be leaving something important out if I didn't mention how wonderfully helpful my assistant was, acting as a medium for me to get through to the kids, and a talking instruction booklet for both them and me at different times. She took care of me, but gave me just enough space to do my own thing.
Anyway, I'm interested in starting my other classes now. The American School program will be harder, for sure, because for the most part it'll be an immersion school with far less Chinese support (though I do have an assistant for that too). the other Step Ahead classes are with older kids. about 18 hours a week I will have kids around 6 years old, and the remaining 4 hours are with kids around 10. These kids should be even easier to teach because they will actually understand me more often.
So that's about it. That's my first day at work. I just wish April weren't in Japan so I could tell her about it, but other friends can listen. I'm sure she'll be excited to hear about it when she gets back.