as logged by Britney Kua
We were called up onto the front stage where the teachers were sat in one straight line and were introduced to our bright students who all looked so eager to learn from us and about us. Who knew that these were the kids who would so quickly capture our hearts?
After the typical assembly formalities, we were off to the staff room for a second round of introductions to the teaching staff. Warm welcomes were received in return.
After a short briefing with the teachers and principal of SK Temuno Teringai Darat, it finally struck that our short 2 weeks here would be majorly busy. In the short time we had here, we were due to complete so much– teaching in the mornings and afternoons with extra classes in the evening and at night, a mural to draw and paint, a play performance performed by the students to set up and also a dance performance to practice for as a farewell performance to the kids.
We then headed off to our first classes that morning which were the Year 4 and 5s. Considering that it was our first day, we took it easy with an introduction activity just to get to know the kids and their level of English. First thing as soon as the lesson begun was us teaching the kids a ‘Bananas Unite’ chant which they ended up loving! This chant allowed us to grab the attention of the kids whenever they became restless or started running around the classroom causing havoc. Don’t laugh, it is no easy feat keeping 30 feisty little 10-year olds glued to their seat throughout the lesson. This tactic proved to be quite useful in situations like these.
As you can see, the video of ‘Bananas Unite’ is linked above (9:27-9:45 min).
For most of us, today was an important day. Maybe even the most important because it was the first official day of lessons and it was when we finally learnt about the variety of children and their capabilities within each of the classes we were assigned to.
It struck us the hardest to learn that some of our kids could not even differentiate between boy and girl. How were they expected to pass a UPSR English paper?
Then again, there were the top students who could converse in the most basic conversational English and even occassionally build grammatically perfect sentences.
It was very much thought-provoking but we kept the thinking and reflecting for later on in the project as we had to make a major reshuffle of all the lesson plans we had previously prepared. We knew that most of what we had planned will no longer be applicable given the levels of understanding shown by the students.
After teaching during school hours from 8am-1pm, we taught the Year 6 students during their extra classes (2-4pm and 7-9pm). That works out to be many hours of being on our feet and teaching– not to forget the time spent playing and bonding with the kids during their free time.
At the end of the night, we were undoubtedly shattered from the activities of the day but powered through to have some reflection time as a group and also do some lesson planning for the lessons coming up in the next couple of days.
An important question on our minds today was: Do the smart kids continue getting smarter and the weaker kids continue staying stagnant at their level of knowledge and understanding?
How do we overcome the vast difference between the varying capabilities of students in each classroom? How do we satisfy the better kids whilst also giving enough attention to the weaker ones?
Food for thought to brainstorm for the next couple of lesson plans.
Till the next update.