February 10: The Art of Performing

One of the things I am required to do at work is perform. While it might not be the type of performance you may be thinking of, it is still nerve-wracking and challenging.

Each class we teach lasts about 7-10 months depending on the level. So kids come for 2 hours of class each week with myself and a co-teacher. During the course, there are many times we have to interact with parents. Among parent-teacher conferences and talking to parents after each class, we also have to perform for them. There are many ways we perform both in and out of the classroom, and for lack of something better to write about this week, I’m going to tell you about them.

The easiest way we perform is recording videos for the parents in the classroom. During each and every class, either I or my TA will record videos of me teaching and the kids playing games, doing activities, and completing bookwork. This becomes very normal very quickly, so I almost don’t notice when they’re recording me now.

The next way we perform is by recording ourselves basically teaching the parents about what we teach in class. During each unit, we record a 2-3 minute video of us explaining to parents exactly what the kids should be learning and how the class is doing as a whole. While this is usually very awkward, it’s also quick and sometimes painless.

Here are the types of pictures parents love to see from our classes!

Then, we have Open Classes and Graduation Ceremonies. During an open class, the parents sit in for the entire class and watch me teach. It’s supposed to show parents how a typical class runs. Of course, that’s not what actually happens. It’s very much a performance. We spend the entire lesson before just practicing the games and activities that we will do when the parents are there. I also tell the kids that they will get a special surprise if they behave well. Sometimes the lessons go really well, but sometimes they don’t go quite as planned. The kids entirely run the show. Do the parents understand that I’m counting on their kids to make the class go well? Not usually. They also love to criticize when I ‘can’t control their children’ as if I’m the reason XiaoApple won’t stop screaming and hitting other kids. Graduation ceremonies are exactly the same, but the students get to put on caps and gowns to take pictures at the end. It’s charming, really.

Teaching an open class to some of my youngest kids! I love to make the parents and grandparents participate in the class.

Finally, I’ve recently become a demo teacher at my school. This means that I get to teach the free marketing classes on the weekends to get new kids to sign up! It’s a pretty cool privilege to be allowed and fully trained in to teach the classes, especially for someone as new as me. It’s exhausting though. Whether or not the kids sign up is often based on how well I am able to teach the demo class. The classes sometimes go really well, but other times I have 3-7 two-year-olds in the class that can’t even speak Chinese yet.  It’s quite a performance if I can pull it off.

More pictures from one of my Monday classes!

That’s a little bit more about my job that you all might not have known!

Happy year of the pig everybody!






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