Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Waylaid Fears

Made it through the parent-teacher interviews without a catch! Phew! My fears about being an inadequate teacher were once again waylaid by fate, destiny, chance, what-have-you? Many parents claimed vociferously that their child loves to come to my class and loves me as a teacher and a person. Who would have thought?

Indeed, whenever I go for more than 4 weeks without a long weekend or a holiday I feel the tension build in me and I grow far too grouchy and intolerant of, honestly, the cutest behaviour -- but one must consider that even the cutest of behaviours when repeated ad nauseum, without break, could drive the saintliest of teachers utterly insane.

And I feel some very real benefits from the interviews. I have come to know many of my students better. I cannot explain what it is about having met the parents that has improved my understanding of the students, except perhaps to say that the children whose parents I've met seem somehow 'rounder' more fully 'people' in my eyes and easier to teach because they are now more real, they are not the flat characters that they sometimes seem to become in the very limited and sometimes stifling environment of the classroom activities and social groupings.

And then there is the real knowledge that some of the parents have entrusted with me, for example, John and Peter are both left-handed. This goes a long way to explaining why both of these little guys absolutely despise writing, not to mention the fact that their writing is utterly unreadable and ill-formed. A very helpful fact for an ESOL (ESL) teacher to keep in mind:
  • Korean pedagogues do not tolerate left-handed writing!
So far as I know there is no real justification for this practice other than the same old backward ideas that Canadian teachers forced upon their students 30 years ago. John and Peter's mothers insisted that I continue this practice of forcing these boys to use their right hands for writing. I don't want to judge too hastily, it seems possible that the Korean teachers do have justification for this teaching 'technique'. I'd really like to find out what it is -- poor kids!

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