In Korea, the school year starts in March, so I have said goodbye to the naughty 6th graders, and welcomed the newly minted 3rd graders. The best thing about teaching the 3rd grade is definitely their enthusiasm. As one of my friends put it, "they get excited about learning, even when the material doesn't deserve it."
The first thing we did was a TPR (total physical response) exercise. Basically, I give a command, they do it.
I led them through slowly at first, probing their vocabulary. "What does...stand up mean?" I asked. They gingerly, shyly, stood. "And...sit down?" They sat, utterly obedient. And puzzled. "Open your books?" They flipped the books open, looking around at each other, trying to figure out the page. "Good, good." I said. "And...close your books?" They did.
Then, things got speedy. I fired bulleted commands at them. "Everybody stand UP! Everybody sit down. Open your books! Close your books. Clap 2 times. Stand up! Jump 3 times! Count to 5!" Faster and faster until they were squealing with laughter, having too much fun to realize they were actually learning something.
I wished, not for the first time, that I could capture the moment. I want to show you their chubby faces, cheeks and eyes round with laughter. I want to remember their voices, babyish and wobbly, saying Good Morning, counting to 5, asking questions.
The kids are awesome.
Unless I let them ask me questions.
Question time on the first day included these gems: Where are you from? Japan? China? How old are you? Are you married? What do your parents do? What's your favorite color? Who's your favorite Korean movie star? Do you have a boyfriend? Do you have boyfriends? (yes, as in plural.) Do you kiss your boyfriend? Have you had your first kiss, kiss, KISS??
After the first section, I didn't make the mistake of opening up the floor for questions again.