Friday, September 05, 2008

My Co-Teacher Drives Me to Drink

There are good days and bad days here in the school. Good days usually mean that I don't have to deal with my co-teacher and I can have a good class, get the kids talking, and actually teach them something about English. Then there are the bad days. They usually entail having to deal with my Co-teacher saying something about the way I teach, something totally off the wall, bat-shit insane, or kids who won't shut up and make me have to actually punish them by making them sit in the back of the class or going to the principal.

Today was one of those bad days, all because of the co-teacher. After my first class, she comes up and says that I should just drop the lesson I have been teaching because it is boring. I should use the cooperative teaching method (OK, native speakers, cooperative teaching means that I teach some and the Korean teacher teaches some so that the kids get the benefit of a native speaker and also the Korean speaker so that they have an easier time I come up with a game, explain it in English, then the co-teacher tells the kids in Korean so they can actually participate in the game easily.).

So I say to Josephine (yes, we call her that, it's a very long story) that if she wants me to use the cooperative teaching method, then we need to get together and work on some lesson plans...the conversation is as follows:

me: what I just said
J: I have no time. I very busy.
me: OK, then how can I use the cooperative teaching method?
J: No, you must use the cooperative teaching method.
me: Right, but how can I use it if you can't help me. It takes two people.
J: No, just you.
me: That's not cooperative.
J: You must use the cooperative teaching method. Your method is boring and I have learned the cooperative teaching method.
me: OK, then you should show me how to use the cooperative teaching method?
J: You must use the cooperative teaching method. Only you.
me: ............
J: You must use claps.
me: Claps?
J: Yes, praise claps.
me: OK, but how do I use the cooperative teaching method you want me to use.
J: I very busy now. You must learn new method.
me: ........
J: You must learn cooperative teaching method yourself. You must change your teaching method.
me: OK, I have class now, so I need to go teach....(under my breath: with my old, boring non-cooperative teaching method...)

Today after school, I think I'll have a beer....and somehow magically learn the cooperative teaching method! Maybe beer will make it clearer...

Knit on....

1 comment:

Zabet said...

Ok, don't take this the wrong way, but this is why Korea gets slammed a lot in TESOL circles, because they will hire a native English speaker who doesn't have any formal TESOL training. (Not that your co-teacher isn't annoying as all fuck and likely doesn't speak English well enough to understand what you're asking, because that's also incredibly common there.)

"Cooperative learning" is where you have the students work pairs or threes for activities -- though I can totally see why one would think that it's the two teachers who must cooperate.

Let me see if I can get my introductory TESOL books back from my mom (I had sent them to my mom to donate to the Adair Co. Library). If I can, I'll send them to you. At the very least they are kinda interesting, and there is one book that saved my ass when people started throwing around names of methods (a lot of my classmates had education degrees) - it's like a dictionary of TESOL jargon.