Having missed the actual first week of teaching I hit the ground running.I had sent in instruction for my classes, but needed to find out what they had done in reality.Nick was off for the week with Yr12 in Koh Chang (the school's outdoor centre) so no ideas what he had sorted.
My week gets off to a flying start with a full day of teaching. For the first time in my teaching career (all 6 years of it) I have support in the classroom.In Year 7, 8 and 9 the ESL (English as a Second Language) kids are grouped and have a support teacher with them in Geography.Year 7 ESL don't do History, they use this lesson for extra English.Now I hear you query the ESL, yes at least 70% of the school is Thai and then there are all the Global Connect students (scholarship students) in Yr12 and 13 from Estonia, Slovakia and Armenia, and the Korean and Hong Kongese (is that even a word?) students.In reality I think only 10% of the school have English as a first language and some of those are bi-lingual at home (UK/American Thai).The range of English ability is varied and those who need the most help pay extra for ESL support.I have been very lucky I have Dan and Ad in my lessons, they are both great and help me immensely, considering they are not Geographers, they are picking up quickly.
The students have been kids.They are the same all over the world, the majority have been really nice and work well, and then they are the odd ones who think they know best.The usual suspects, Year 9s who think they are already Year 11.To be fair no one has yet proven themselves to be trouble.Not really that different to Aylesbury High, not being a Year Head, I probably won't be meeting the pains.Especially amongst the younger ones there are some really keen beans.Already I am really getting to like some of them.
In class the girls all sit on one side of the room and the boys all sit in the other.One of my Year 8 classes did not like the idea of being sat boy/girl as a punishment for talking too much and not settling.Most the girls sit very quietly in class and the boys shout out answers.Now I have always considered myself pretty good with accent, but I have developed serious of 'I don't understand you' phrases, generally - "boys will you be quiet, sorry I didn't hear what you were saying" or "that sounded good can you repeat it loudly for the whole class".It also appears that it is not cool to be able to speak English in Year 10 and 11, especially for the boys.The younger kids are quite clear, just quiet, but the older ones definitely mumble and slur to make it look like they can't speak English. It's weird teaching boys, but I think I am going to like it; they are starting to respond to my sarcasm more than the girls.I don't think Thais do sarcasm, but my classes will have to learn.
One of the things I thought I was going to struggle with out here was the pronunciation of students' names.The good news it that they all work under a nickname; I have two theories on how the kids get their nicknames.Firstly they are allowed to pick their own in reception/nursery and for some they pick the only English word they know, or the alternative is that the teachers picks them and depending whether they are in a good mood or not dictates how good your name is. Look at the list and see which you side with.I teach kids called Top Ten, Big, Most, Pim P, Milky, Tiger, New, Play, Ploy, Bus, Bank, Pooh, Nin (a boy and a girl), Gun and Jab. My favourite is a lad called Thame (for those of you not in the Aylesbury area, Thame is a market town about 5 minutes from my Mum and Dad's). I know of a Body Glove and a Shoe Shine.They are some normal names in there like Olivia, Kevin and Kay (a boy).On top of that there are all the Eastern European names, which you must say with the accent or the girls moan.