Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Open class with parents: Check

[As a part of National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), I'm posting here once a day during November.  Today is Day 20.]

I am quite relieved this evening, now that my open Special Class is done with.  I will be even more relieved once I finish planning my winter camps, but for now, this is a welcome weight off my shoulders.

Yesterday my co-teacher told me that at the last open Special Class in the summer, about ten parents came to watch.  This made Reca a bit more nervous.

Fast forward to today.  Some students come into the English room every day after lunch to clean (the students in Korea clean the school).  Today they cleaned extra well for the open class.  My co-teacher helped them, and my other co-teacher came in and was dusting some shelves in the room.  When they were finished the room was in tip top shape, there were chairs set up in the back of the room for parents, and two desks pushed to make a check-in table by the door.

I saw on this check-in table photocopies of the lesson plan I had sent my co-teacher earlier last week.  Had I known it would be used for that purpose, I might have written it a little bit differently, but that's okay.

So basically the classroom is all official-looking now.  Oh! And there was heat blowing out from the ceiling!  I guess there is heat after all, it's just never turned on.  But this was a special occasion I guess.

This Special Class normally goes from 2:40 to 4:20.  Since last week my co-teacher had been saying this open class would go from 3:00-3:40, a normal 40 minute lesson.  So that's what I planned for.  The students got to the classroom around 2:40 as they usually do, and just hung out for 20 minutes while we waited for parents to arrive.

When it got closer to 3:00, my co-teacher talked with the students for a bit in Korean.  She told me that she told the kids class would be done early today, maybe around 4:00.  So I figured this meant I would teach my lesson until 3:40, and then we would do a little something until 4.

Then it was 3:00 and still no parents had come.  A fourth grade teacher who leads English club came into the room and sat at the back to watch.  I wondered why he was there, then thought maybe they invite other teachers to watch, too.  Then my co-teacher nodded at me and said you can start.  Really?  Okay, so I started the class with just my co-teacher and this fourth grade teacher there.

All of a sudden my other co-teacher (with whom I share an office in the English room) comes out and both co-teachers begin to snap photos or record video of me with their phones -- I'm not sure which.  It was distracting but I tried to ignore it; I was confused as to what was going on, and I felt like a zoo animal on display.  They were only doing that for a few minutes, but to have people walking around in back watching me was a little uncomfortable.

Over fifteen minutes into the lesson a father arrived and sat down to watch.  A bit later a mother came in.  The students behaved differently with the extra mini audience.  Yes, they behaved notably better than when they're alone with me, but some didn't participate as much as they normally do.  The last ten minutes of class was supposed to be a hot seat game.  One student sits in the "hot seat" underneath the TV so they can't see it.  You show something on the screen and the rest of the class needs to describe it to the student in the hot seat.  So it started well, except that only two students wanted to be in the hot seat.  We've played this game once before in October, and everyone wanted to be in the hot seat -- but not today.  So after the first two students went, nobody volunteered.  So I went and sat in it, and had the students describe it to me (even though I made the game... haha).  And at that point, it was a few minutes past 3:40, so I just decided to wrap it up and end the class.

Except it was awkward because the students were all surprised: really? we're done?  Umm well, the open class portion is done, yes.  So everybody put on their coats and grabbed their backpacks and left.  And then I wondered if I was supposed to have kept class going until 4, but whatever.

I didn't really get to meet the parents afterwards.  The two that came (there could possibly have been three, but I only remember two leaving after class) bowed at me when they left.  I think they might have filled out an evaluation form or something.

And then just like that it was over.

I didn't totally understand all that had just happened -- Did they bring in the fourth grade teacher last minute so that I would have some type of audience at the beginning of class?  Will I ever see evaluation remarks? -- but I was so relieved it was over with.

[Update 2/20/14: I never did receive any sort of feedback or evaluation from this open class.]
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