Sunday, December 14, 2008

At Long Last!

Well after nearly a month of combined training/waiting I finally started my job at I Can Read this Saturday. It was great, but it didn't start out that way. The first class I taught that morning was from the ICR2 level (the highest we offer at Sathorn) and they didn't have any of the materials they were supposed to. Also, the guy I'm taking over for took less than stellar notes on the progression of his class, so I really didn't know where to begin. I kinda struggled through that class but was able to come up with enough educational things to do with the materials we had that the class wasn't a waste. The next class was an ICR1 which can be boring sometimes, but I threw in some games. The official guidebook to teaching ICR says no games, but these are just kids (one of them in ICR1 is only 6!) and you gotta mix it up a little or they'll go crazy. They were fine. A lot of them missed Dave, the guy before me, but they didn't dislike me in anyway. My last class of the day was a PRP class which is the level right before ICR. They loved me and were a lot of fun. PRP is great because you just get through the sounds and blends and then there's plenty of time for games and stories. I love them just as much as the kids although some of the stories are pretty bizarre.

I taught there again today (Sunday) and it went even better. It started with an ICR1 which went smooth as silk. A couple of the kids there are ready to move up so the stories flew by. One weird thing about teaching phonetics in a program designed by Australians is that the differences in their and American speech is clearly labeled. Most of the words in the ICR books have little marks above the vowels so the students know if it's a short or long sound or if it's a diphthong or whatever. Well I don't know about you at home, but when I say "caught" it sounds like the short 'o' sound in 'dog', but the book has it labeled as having the sound like the one in 'dwarf'(believe it or not I spent a while thinking of a word that contained the sound and almost everyone said the same way). This causes me to sorta fake a little accent when I read the words of their lists so they don't get confused. After that I had another PRP which was tons of fun again. 3 of my 4 kids were so good that during class they took long overdue evaluations to move up levels to ICR1 and passed. Then I finished with another ICR1 which turned out to be just a 1-on-1 since almost no one showed up. The student was great and was totally into blending his sounds and vowels the way he had been taught which was very cool to see because I could see that it was actually working. We were able to finish up in record time because he was so good and without a full class there isn't a whole lot to do anyway. I spent the rest of the day watching Ben 10 in the reception area and hanging out in the office with Simon (the guy who trained me and is in charge of whipping the Thai offices into shape) and trying to learn more about cricket. Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest days for I Can Read so I thought that they were gonna be packed with classes but turns out that I only have 3 each, for now (K.O.D.!!)I'm all done by 2:30ish but they have me stick around just in case any kids come in for an evaluation, which I am now trained to administer.

but for now I just get to kick back and enjoy my Monday-Tuesday weekend!

much love,


brittmama said...

Did you watch Ben 10 for fun or with the kiddos? I have unfortunately seen Ben 10 whilst babysitting a youngen and it just isn't the same as the cartoons I used to enjoy!

p.s. nice word drop....dipthong!

yatpay said...

If you come home with an Australian accent all you'll need is the hat and rifle and you will be the Sniper.

Mike said...

that's great. It sounds like the program you work for is structured much more wisely than Japan's entire foreign education system. There is like no structure here and all they care about is memorize English's bizzarre nuances for entrance exams. I keep trying to teach them damn english and nobody is willing to participate. They also never get drilled on phonics. It's done in an overview when they start in junior high and then promptly forgotten. My students favor forcing English into the Japanese syllabary (katakana) which is is terrible.

PS - i can't wait to hear your new australian accent