THE ART OF CO-OPERATION

I get along really well with all three of my co-teachers, but all three of them have very different styles of teaching. This means I need to adapt to fit each of their styles, while adding a fourth one into the mix. It can be challenging at times; but overall, working alongside each one of them has been quite rewarding.

Co-teaching with Paul is always an adventure. He has a more traditional approach to conducting lessons, and disciplines students using methods not necessarily common in the classroom anymore (picture a child squatting in the corner with his or her hands in the air). Although he speaks English very well, we seem to miscommunicate, or not really communicate at all sometimes.

Often, he’ll put me on the spot in front of class to do something I hadn’t planned to do, or wasn’t aware I was going to do. This has included (but isn’t limited to): singing and dancing to songs I hadn’t heard before, asking students questions they don’t understand, having students listen to audio clips I can’t hear, and then have them repeat after me (even though I couldn't hear what I’m supposed to have them repeat).

Twice he’s dozed off while running the computer for my PowerPoint presentations, and once he left the classroom without telling me where or why he was going. About halfway through the lesson he came back, and spoke to the students in Korean before leaving again. Thankfully, I had something prepared. Many of my fellow Guest English Teachers can relate to this situation.

But, Paul is so good with the kids. He has great energy, and they respond very well to him. I appreciate his sincerity, his love for the students, and his passion for teaching.

A language barrier creates room for frustrations to happen. Every day I’m faced with the same challenges I present to my students. Just like I don’t always know what’s happening, they don’t always know either.

Paul has helped me realize a student may not be giving me the “evil eye” after all. He or she probably doesn’t hate me like I might assume if he or she doesn’t answer a question. Perhaps he or she doesn’t understand what I’m trying to communicate, and I’ve put him or her on the spot like Paul does to me sometimes.

Mastering the art of co-operation begins with communication. I look forward to furthering the partnerships I have with each one of my co-teachers in and out of the classroom. I know as the months pass, less miscommunication will occur and we’ll continue to thrive. Paul keeps me on my toes. I’m thankful for him.

2 comments :

  1. I agree. I find myself laughing as I read this because I, too, have had similar experiences in and out of the classroom, ones in which I might have easily just told the other teacher off. You do a good job of trying to understand the other person, to see his redeeming qualities. Even if there isn't much about the situation to redeem, there is still a person and a relationship underneath all that mess. As I start to feel a new wave of anti-Korea fervor spring up inside of me for whatever reason, I just pray and try to think of all I would be missing if I just gave up and left. I ask God to redeem this situation for His glory. It's worked so far.

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    1. Bryan, I hope you left Korea with a very positive outlook, and I hope the experience you gained will continue to impact your life in wonderful ways.

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