Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fed to the little Weegies...

So on Tuesday this week, I woke up to a call from the principal of one of the local elementary schools.

They wanted me as an English sub the following day, Wednesday.

I'm on our county's substitute call list, and this was my first offer, so of course I accepted. And as soon as I hung up the phone, I felt sick. I pretty much didn't sleep at all on Tuesday night, and was so nervous and concerned about my ability to stand in front of children and instruct their English lessons in Norwegian and English simultaneously, that I was certain I would make a fool of myself, and my students would either laugh at my Norwegian skills or not be able to understand me.

Well, to my surprise, I can report that it actually went really well.

I'm certified and all my education is centered about secondary-level students (junior high and above), but I love children, and love teaching, so I just tried to keep a level head once I got up there in front of my first group of fifth graders, early yesterday morning.

After a riveting hour involving a textbook-based dialogue about snowboarding and skiing(their chapter was on Winter sports and taking vacations), I let the students ask me personal questions to help practice their verbal English, and because they were all squirming to see what the States were like from a real-life American.

I ended up teaching all the fifth-graders at this elementary school, though they were divided into two different classrooms. For the first hour of lessons, I was with one half of the fifth-grade level, and the second hour and until lunch I instructed the second half, using the same lesson plan for both.
And after we accomplished our lesson left for my by their usual teacher, the questions came a flying from both groups...

"Why did you move here?"
"How old are you?"
"Are there lots of cops in America?"
"Do people really have guns in America?"
"Is America fun?"
"Why don't you have any babies?"
"How many earrings do you have in your ears?"

Their responses to my answers from the questions above were just as great:
"But if I was American, I would NEVER move to Norway!"
"My mom is way older than you!"
"We watch Cops on t.v.!"
"But it's safe there, right? Or is it really dangerous?"
"I bet it's funner than here!"
"But you're so pretty, you should have babies with your husband."
"I think you have at least three in there. My mom says I can't have earrings yet."

Oh ten/eleven year olds. Priceless.
After lunch break, I was asked to step in with an assistant on hand for the English lesson that the third graders needed before the end of the day. I was so surprised with how much English they already knew, and how clever and excited they were to learn it with me!
The chapter they were working on was called "Breakfast", so we went over food names, and their homework from the day before, then ended the school day with a really fun game of hangman on the Smartboard software. (The word, was 'bread', btw. It took them a while to get it, but they cheered and clapped for themselves after they had it right. So cute!)

So my first group of students was tired and SUPER quiet yesterday, my second group was really rowdy and chatty (and very obviously NOT used to a teacher ordering them to be quiet and sit down) and my third and final group of students, the third graders were great kids.

All in all, it was a really neat experience for me. My first day of real work here in Norway, and my first time as a teacher in a Norwegian school. Though I was surprised at how much I loved my third graders, most of the day reminded me of why I want to teach high school classes more than elementary level classes!
Hey, going over contractions and their base words, and clarifying vocab like; "expensive", "charged", and "patient" can be fun and all, but I rather be teaching literature to young adults any day.

Also, I know realize that I must officially be old-school or at least just a lot more traditional/conservative than the Weegie teachers are, because I really wasn't o.k. with my students addressing me by my first name. Hearing:
"Kirstin, jeg trenger hjelp!" (I need help!),   was just weird. (as they all pronounced my name like Kjersti, that made it even more interesting to hear coming out of tiny mouths.)
Even if they aren't used to it, I'll be using my Mrs. title in future classrooms, that's for sure. I can't imagine being in third or fifth grade and addressing my teachers by their first names, or even without "ma'am" or "sir" involved!

I hope I get called again soon, and that I can pass all the necessary tests needed by the end of this calendar year for me to get in my very own full-time classroom, because today I found myself a little sad and depressed that I wouldn't be going back and teaching again right away...just my one day, my one encounter with the mini-Weegies in the classroom was enough, it made me want more!

I'll just keep praying for something to come through for me soon. I prayed really hard on Monday for a break in my job search, and woke up Tuesday morning with my sub request which was pretty amazing! Prayer works! Let's just hope everything just keeps falling to place from here...