Saturday, August 13, 2011

Teaching Toddlers

When I first started my job hunt in March of this year, I had no idea I would be teaching such young children. At that point, I was applying online for any English teaching jobs I could find in Hong Kong (and some in Taiwan as well). Why Hong Kong, you might ask? Well, there aren’t many concrete reasons but after all my research, it seemed like an excellent place to live and work. Plus, the skyline looked spectacular. Anyway, I applied to everything I could find and only heard back from a few of the schools. Likely thanks to the fact that I’d never taught before. But after I was offered this job, a stable one with good pay and no experience required, I accepted it albeit on a bit of a risk. I wasn’t sure if instructing children ages 6-24 months was going to be my cup of tea.

Fortunately for me, I really enjoy what I do here. And to be specific, that's teaching toddler (12-24 months) classes and a couple baby (6-12 months) classes. At this age, the kids are so pure and honest. The things that entertain them are so simple, like for example, putting a scarf over their face and saying “Peek-a-boo!” after pulling it away. One of the things that amazes me most is what a wide variety of personalities the children have once they turn from babies into toddlers at around 12-16 or so months. I have some kids that hug me at every opportunity while there are others that watch me with distant suspicion. There are some that smile and dance during our songs and others that look sullen no matter what crazy antics I perform for them, or worse, cry loudly and frequently. But they all have one thing in common; they are all adorable. I swear, Asian children are cuter than white ones.

(Sidenote: I don't like my baby classes nearly as much. All they ever do is drool and crawl, despite being extremely cute.)

After nearly one month with my toddler students, I’m getting to know some of them quite well. At their early age, they’re developing so fast and what a thrill it is to watch a child get smarter before your eyes. At this age, only a handful of kids are able to make complete sentences in English and I probably have five students—out of 120—who can count to ten successfully. But I’m not just teaching them that; I’m also trying to get them excited about music by singing and playing my baby guitar (aka ukulele) for them on a daily basis. Today, I discovered a portable keyboard in our storage space, which I plan on making my next teaching tool.

At some point, I’ll probably write a blog post consisting of a bunch of profiles of some of my most notable students. I’m definitely starting to understand why teachers have favorites, as terrible as that sounds. There really are some kids that I look forward to seeing every day, either because they make me laugh or they just brim with natural positivity or both. And of course, there are other students whom I don’t have much to remember by, unfortunately. But I’m trying to interact with each one as much as I can, because each kid is unique in his/her own right.

A lot of parents have been saying that their child talks about me at home, which is about the best thing I could possibly hear. Particularly when they also talk about the guitar or music, or one of my awesome classroom teachers, Doris and Julie. It gives me goose bumps to think that in my first real job, I believe I’m making a huge impact on some amazing kids’ lives. There are some things about this job that aren’t so hot (lack of supply organization, poor communication from management) but overall, the children make it all worth it. This sounds uncharacteristically sticky and gooey but it’s the truth. I’m already thinking about a potential future in teaching after I leave my current school. Nobody has to prod me to do the best job I can; I naturally want to make the day as valuable and fun as possible for the children.

Now, off to the adult world to drink some alcohol on my precious Saturday night ☺

1 comment:

  1. I'm happy you're happy & enjoying your life in Hong Kong. Drool sounds gross, ukulele with toddlers sounds much better. It's cool that you're already thinking about teaching after this is up, new passion? Hope you had fun drinking, be safe my friend. :)