Thursday, April 16, 2009

Grades...and big classes

So two things I kind of don't like about my job, despite saying that I loved it all around in many previous posts.

The first one is grades/tests. I know they're necessary in this model of education and I'm not a hippy or anything, but I just don't like giving them out. To the good students who are getting A's, it's all good, you're happy, they're happy. To the bad, lazy, rude students, when they get an "F" at the end of the semester, it's somewhat satisfying because they've usually given me 16 weeks of hassle and don't think that I'll actually give them an F. The situations I don't like are when there are students who come to every class, do homework and try hard but just aren't good at English and I have to give them a C. Or when the rude students are actually good at English and I have to give them an A.

And the other thing I don't like is having 25 students in a class. It's just too many for a language class and it's easy for the lazy, bad students to slip through the cracks and actually go an entire class without speaking English, although I try my best to prevent this. And I don't really get to know my students on a more personal level since I only see them once a week and have 9 classes of them.

What has made me realize these things is this other, extra class I'm teaching this semester. There are 3 Chinese students and about 7 Korean ones. It's just straight conversation basically and we meet 4 days a week for an hour. No grades, no hassle. They come because they actually want to practice speaking English. I actually know their names and we all know each other pretty well after 5 weeks together. Yesterday, there were only 3 of them because it's midterms next week so I took them out for dinner to the sandwich shop and we spoke English, for an entire hour with no book in front of us. It was very fun and what I really like about being a teacher. I just wish I had a lot more opportunity to do stuff like this. And I would in my bigger classes if it didn't give off the illusion of playing favorities, which I clearly would be. It makes me wonder if I can find a job with the same vacation, teaching smaller groups of adults more intensively?!?


Ian said...

I can totally relate to the entire Grade situation. I taught ESL in Bangkok for 3 years. The problem I had in Thailand was that they pushed everyone through. I mean everyone.I have a friend who just moved to Korea to be an ESL teacher. How long have you been teaching ESL and would you be interested in doing an interview for my website. It is used to encourage people to teach ESL abroad. I would be honored if you did an interview.

Jackie Bolen said...

I'd be happy to. Contact me at to arrange the details if you want.