That's what one needs to do when they are teaching English in Seoul, South Korea to a class of 14 students. Did I mention that all 14 are at the middle school level? Ha! All I have to say is today is over and we're both still alive!
Actually, it wasn't all that bad. I'm making it sound a lot worse. This is not my first time dealing with students at the middle school level, as I taught in a middle school during my teaching practicum. But I have never taught English or ESL as my primary job. I will tell you that it does require A LOT of patience. Just how do you explain the term "boldface" to a bunch of kids in grade 6? Teaching English in Korea and elsewhere requires using lots of examples, diagrams and simple words to show the meaning of sentences, passages and stories to students.
There are three levels of English at our school: Basic, Junior and Senior; each level has approximately 6-8 stages to complete in order to advance. Today, I taught a Senior level class (the middle schoolers) and also a higher level Basic class. Both classes were well behaved (I dropped the hammer immediately; I established class rules and made it very clear that if any of them are planning to exhibit "naughty" behaviour, they will be sent out and their moms called. Calling a child's mom is equivalent to the gas chamber for these kids once they get home!)
Both of my classes had about 12-14 kids. The maximum number of kids in a class at our school is 14 (although Devante has a class of 15, go figure). I had fun with them and they enjoyed my class. One kid even bought me a can of Mountain Dew during recess! The secret to teaching here is following the curriculum and making sure the kids get GOOD grades. These companies need renewals and Korean moms are literally "desperate housewives" but just imagine them spending all day calling the school checking up on the progress of their kids, rather than sleeping with the pool boy (I don't even watch that show, but that's one of the story lines, isn't it?).