Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hail the Disciplinarian!

My kindergartners (the second class) were behaving so badly today that they were endangering themselves. In other words, I was ready to strangle them! Since strangulation is a frowned-upon form of discipline, and since yelling at kids in a foreign language is also ineffective, I wracked my brain for a better method. I found one! I drew a box with a frowning face and the word "bad" on the board. Then I explained that anyone who kept talking or getting out of their seat would have their name written in the box. At the end of class, anyone with their name in the box would have to stay while everyone else got to go play. Result: the best behaved kindergartners I have ever seen! I think I'll try this on my older kids...

As for my other class of kindy kids, those four are turning into adorable little mimics. Since I am always having to tell Jay to sit back down, the others students now shout "Jay! Sit!" every time he gets up in class. Peer pressure is very effective; he sits every time they tell him to. My little Cali (a VERY cute and intelligent girl) is a miniature teacher now: she loves drilling the other three with the flash cards. Since I'm open to just about anything that encourages more learning, I am happy to let her.

I am also celebrating another victory this week: I taught the first batch of kindy kids the "Hello Song," which is actually a song used in the curriculum of two of my older classes. It's an easy, repetitive song, so I figured it would help the kindergartners learn "hello," "what's your name," and "my name is" better than drilling them would. I was right. The kids love the song, so they go around singing it after class, which is great. My director even commented on it today. Best of all, now they understand what I mean when I ask them their names. Slower but surely, I'm helping to create a batch of future English-speakers.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"