A New School Year

I’m teaching first graders, fifth graders, and seventh graders this year.

I have eight first-graders: seven boys and one girl. The girl is quiet, docile, and does her work neatly and efficiently. The other seven boys are little terrors. They talk loudly, run around, and stick their erasers on their pencils and sword-fight each other. But they are all so adorable that it makes it hard to stay mad at them. However, my job this year is to convert them from playful kindergartners when they could play all the time to dutiful students who actually have to do work now.

My fifth-grade class consists of nine girls and two boys. The girls are all studious and are more willing to please. The two boys make up for the lack of boisterousness and will tend to be the class clowns. But they are all mostly smart kids and learn fast, which makes my job a lot easier.

This year, we’re doing a pilot program at a private all-boys’ Catholic school where we go in and teach night English classes to seventh grade boys. So I’m teaching first grade English to two classes of about twenty+ 12-year-old boys from 7-9pm Monday thru Thursday. “Oy.” would be the understatement of the year. It’s hard. It’s even more difficult to explain a concept like “spring” in simpler words than “sun, flowers, grass, birds.” These boys have zero to really low levels of English. I mean, questions like “Do you understand?” or “Does a cat have hair or fur?” will receive blank looks.  They rather sit there and say dirty immature things to each in Chinese, only to warrant a mean look from me, and then I kick them out of the classroom. Of course, there are a few gems whom are good listeners, actively participate, and willing to learn. But they are greatly outnumbered by the ones who are more interested in whether or not I have a boyfriend or if I can understand what dirty Taiwanese word they just said.

Laughs so far:

“Teacher, Teacher, TEACHER!! I don’t know how write cotchy-rote. Cotchy-rote!” -Jerry, first grade, in reference to cockroach. He who also has a mouth full of teeth (or rather, lack thereof) like he’s been chewing betel nuts for years. Kids seriously do not brush their teeth here. The majority also do not believe in braces, which definitely would help straighten some things out. (Pun intended.)

“What are some fruits or vegetables that have seeds?”




“Uh, uh.. ur.. urine? Urine!”



“Oooooh. Durian?”

I think they should give out teacher-of-the-year awards for being able to keep a straight face in dire situations.

3 thoughts on “A New School Year

  1. Welcome to my levels of teaching….haha enjoy the little ones, don’t let them get away with being cute.

    “Howard, what color is this?”

    “umm ummm….Obama!!!”

    “No, what did I tell you about that. Now try again…”


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