Sunday, December 17, 2006


This morning was great. The PTA went very well. The kids and parents were exceptional.

We started a little late because it was a Saturday morning, raining cats & dogs, and it's not easy getting 35 people all in the same place. The kids were great. For the past few weeks I've been asking many of the other teachers how they put together their PTA's. Most of them said they give the best 3 or 4 students a bunch of things to perform and have the slower ones contribute just a line or two. That method doesn't jive with me. I knew the parents of the slower kids would be more critical of me. Therefore, I decided to give all the students an equal share of the load. This would give them all an opportunity to shine. All of them did a great job. The silliest moment came when Milton, perhaps the hardest working student in the class, forgot his lines. I gave him the line and he finished fine. The performances by the kids lasted for about 45 minutes and they seemed to have a good time.

I sent the kids to another classroom so I could spend some time selling myself and my methods to the parents. I was kinda nervous. In the middle of the group was a couple mothers that I have met before. They have previously thanked me and seemed satisfied with my work. I just kept thinking about them and it alleviated a lot of the butterflies. After a few minutes, I got into a nice groove. I hadn't really laid out a talking plan, planned to let the parents dictate the direction. It went pretty smoothly. Much of the time was spent discussing methods in the classroom and future plans. I started to feel very comfortable and made a classic American-style comment...I told the parents that I was the best teacher at Gram and I intend to continue to work to mold their kids into great English speakers. This is not something you'd ever hear from a Taiwanese person. I don't care. I have never been shy about the way I feel and I think confidence is important if you want to succeed. Much to my surprise, the parents started clapping after I said it...good stuff!

Other than a few minor issues, the parents seemed satisfied. One mother thought I should get an MSN account so the kids could contact me via chat. Not sure about that idea. I did tell her I was considering using email to help those who miss classes. One mom would like her kid to sit in the front row, not a problem.

Perhaps the best moment came when Johnny's mom told me that before I became his teacher Johnny rarely used English at he uses it a ton and has been buying English-only CD's. That's a nice endorsement.

The truest sign that I am succeeding came after the PTA. My boss told me that all 16 students have paid for the next term. Many of these kids have hectic schedules and the drop-out rate at this level is pretty high. Not for my class!

Mission accomplished.

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