Thursday, June 5, 2014

Great First Week of Summer School

Maybe I'm counting my chickens before they're hatched, since it's only Thursday night, but so far the first week of summer school has been great.

I think we're in the honeymoon phase.  The kids are excited about all things new and so well behaved.  Or maybe it's because they're technically second graders, more mature and know the rules.  In either case, we're all having fun.

The daily schedule is different than the regular school year and focused on reading, writing and speaking in English.  And fun.  While a few kids have vacationed and spoken no English for a couple of months, many have continued to study.  It was gratifying this morning when we were talking about parts of speech that most of my students from last year remembered the difference between nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.

One challenge is that it is hot.  Triple digit, humid hot. All staff but the foreign teachers do not have the luxury of air conditioning at home.  That makes it hard to sleep.  And yet, they continue to smile and work like crazy.  The rainy season was supposed to arrive in June and help cool things off but we're still waiting.

Another challenge, for me, is Justin Bieber.  I'm not a fan but the kids are.  And, before school, I play a variety of classical and popular music while the kids work on puzzles and homework.  The Biebster is very popular with the younger set.

I started Monday morning with a cold and am happy to report that I'm feeling much better. Did you know that first graders move constantly?  They are filled with energy.  They talk, they fidget, they sing and dance.  That's a lot for a senior citizen to keep up with.  The cold didn't help.  But I held my own, even dancing along to the Biebster.  And One Direction.  And a couple of other groups I don't know the names of.  I don't dance well but I have great enthusiasm.

One change for summer school is that one day a week I have lunch with a team of kids.  We "dine" in the classroom and I remind them of their manners.  The first group went really well.  They were fascinated by the leftover tuna casserole I'd brought for lunch.  They agreed it looked and smelled disgusting.  That was an opinion delivered by kids eating tiny fried whole fish, heads and all.

On Wednesday, I opted to go shopping in a taxi right after school rather than waiting for the bus to leave later.  I'm glad I did.  I was able to stop and custom order a stool for my classroom ($18), buy my groceries and get frozen food home still frozen.

Sadly, the mind games at the grocery store continue.  We had cheese, then we didn't.  Then we did.  Now, it's very limited again.  Mozzarella but no cheddar.  We had pasta but now we don't.  We had bacon but now it's gone again.  But there were lots of olives.  I didn't buy any because I have an unopened jar but what if they're gone by the weekend?

In any case, the week has been a success.  The kids and I have a new schedule which seems to be working.  In my cards and games club, I have kids in both groups I teach who are addicted to playing Uno with me, which I think is great fun.  Just one question.  Is it bad to teach first graders to talk smack about playing cards?

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