June 10, 2008
Today is the first of three days that I (Simon) have to spend in an empty school. The entire school is away on a three-day field trip. Each of the three grades have gone to different places. For some reason, even though I donâ€™t have any students, I still have to come to school. I am in an empty office. My co-teacher is in it for maybe five minutes at a time, then goes away for an hour or two. This is not fun.
In my excessive spare time, I am lesson planning. I was able to grab my co-teacher in her brief stint here, and asked her about how to plan lessons. Hereâ€™s something absolutely shocking that I learned: My class will be split up into two halves, like I mentioned before. One week I will get one half of the class and the next week I will get the other half. This means I have to make one lesson plan per level for two weeks of class. Technically, since I teach two grades, I will be teaching two different lesson plans for two weeks. That is absolutely shocking. In Canada, I had to make a new lesson plan for every class, three classes a day, every day, which means 30 lessons for two weeks, worst case scenario. Here, I have 2 lessons for two weeks.
Whatâ€™s even more shocking – and this is where I get a little bit upset – is that I am not supposed to give the students any homework. Majority of students go to an after school academy, which means they are swamped with homework there. And so, I donâ€™t have to mark anything, ever. Iâ€™m surprised that their after-school academies have an impact on their regular schools, and makes me question which one takes precedence. The reason why I am upset is not because I am stupid and want more work. Iâ€™m upset because I would like to have a bigger impact on these students. Really, I teach them for 45 minutes every two weeks. I canâ€™t monitor or evaluate their progress. I donâ€™t do enough to have an impact on them, compared to the many times I would see my students in Canada.
Iâ€™ll say more about this when I learn more about it. For now, Iâ€™m just very, very surprised.