Last year I failed to learn the names of all my students. I knew the really good students who asked tons of questions and I knew the kids that I kicked out at least once a week, but the middle group was never mastered. I am determined to learn all 150 names this year. I am a visual learner so I wrote out nametags for the kids and took their pictures while they held their nametag. Now I can study their little faces over break until I know them all- I am rather pleased with this system. I included some of the cute pictures for you because some of the kids actually smiled for me! It is so funny because kids will beg you to take their picture and then when they get in front of the camera they pretty much glare at you. But then the moment the photography session is over they come running to see their picture, laughing with uncontrollable glee and flashing the most beautiful smiles that are apparently reserved for viewing photos but not taking them. This year I tried really hard to make them smile and probably looked like a enormous fool but at least they look happy instead of the usual awkward mug shots where I have to justify to people that the photograph really was a voluntary endeavor and I did not in fact force the child to pose for me against their will.
On a side note all of my exams are graded and my marks typed into the school computer. A few students took my exam seriously, actually studied, and received an impressive 50/50. I would say most got at least 30 marks, so 60%, which is a pretty good grade here. Sadly enough a decent amount got below 20 and one got a whopping five marks. I timed myself and on average it took me about four minutes to grade an exam so that is about 10 hours of marking papers. But fear not, I put this time to good use and watched all of the Star Wars movies. I was continually calling my brother and demanding to know why certain things were happening and when I called and asked him if he knew that Anakin Skywalker turned into Darth Vader he and his girlfriend laughed hysterically for a few minutes before they responded- apparently this is pretty much common knowledge. I was also screaming at the screen when Princess Leia kissed Luke, yelling out dramatic warnings that she was about to kiss her twin brother that went unheard by everyone but my landlord, who probably thinks I am crazy.
Here are a few of my favorite moments from grading exams:
– In one section they had to organize ten random words into a chart with the five parts of speech and there were two words for each part of speech. I tried to teach them how to do this using the process of elimination and I could see in Christine’s exam that she had clearly used this method. She put all the words she knew (or thought she knew) into the chart and was left with the word “pencil” and an open slot under the adverb section. Baffled by this turn of events, but apparently convinced that her other words were in their correct homes, she turned the noun “pencil”’ into its rarely seen adverb form: pencily. I laughed so hard when I read this and proceeded to give her marks for it because I think she is rather clever.
– In another section they had to turn adjectives into comparatives and superlatives. For example taking hot and writing “hotter than” and “the hottest” in the correct location. I included one irregular word, far, to see who actually studied their notes. One boy copied the word “far” as “farm” and proceeded to translate that into “farmerer” and “farmerest.” I also enjoyed that unique adaptation of the English language.
– As with every exam I love reading the little notes that kids write at the end of the exam. Sometimes they will thank me for the exam, tell me that I am a lovely teacher, or one even wrote a short prayer that God would bless me over holiday. This year I have really cute students, not all excellent students, but great people.
* The white top and blue pants/shirt is the required uniform at my school but the first year students are still allowed to wear other outfits until they get the uniform situation figured out (it is a huge expense for most of the families)