Thursday, 3 March 2011

I-to-I day thirteen: Test day

Thursday 3rd February 2011

MP3 track of the day: Nimrod - Elgar

Weather: Hotter than the previous two days, yet the cloud cover has remained the same.

I decided to opt for my usual pancakes this morning; yesterday's bread roll with jam wasn't that nice and, looking at my watch, I thought that I had plenty of time. Last night I had watched the film 'Taken', starring Liam Neelson, on 'StarMovies' (no adverts, which was a relief). I thought about this film as I ate. It was okay; a watchable, if predictable film, however it's the first time that I've seen Liam Neelson play a hard man ... he was extremely good at it.

The tuk-tuk ride was the normal bumpy, noisy and smelly affair that it always is. I got a few more pages of my book read. Once at school I got into my classroom and took out the test papers from my bag. I placed them face down on the counter and went to get some paper, and colouring pens, for students who finished early. My students came in, sat down, and were ecstatic that, after a day of removing teeth, they were now having a test. As I went through each explanation I wasn't sure who was more nervous; my students for having to complete the test or me for hoping that it wasn't too difficult. I took the register and then used the names given to fill out the 'name' box on the test. I placed each test paper face down, however that didn't stop the students turning them over and having a look through.

I went through each example, for each section, of the test. I had a couple of blank faces but generally my students seemed clued up. On page five was a word search which made it very difficult for my students to concentrate on any other part of the test. I asked the students to put their books away and allowed them to proceed. I gave assistance where needed (remember I'm supposed to be teaching pronunciation, so if the students had any spelling questions I would try to help without giving the answer). Break time came however none of my students wanted to leave the room, fixated on finishing their test.

The first students finished just before the hour mark and most others finished within another ten minutes. The students had helped each other, which was a little annoying, however I didn't stop them. I then let them have a late fifteen minute break where they mainly decided to read. I marked the papers and was very surprised to see that most of my students got what was asked. There was very little mistakes (only when the picture printed wasn't clear) and overall I breathed a sign of relief; not only was I right in thinking my students were ready for 'Unit 8's' test but they all past with flying colours. I handed back each students test and gave them all a pencil with the British Flag on (a prized possession for any person) as a 'well-done'. For the rest of class we sang songs. The children wanted to do 'twinkle, twinkle', 'baa, baa black sheep' and 'heads, shoulders, knees and toes'. There wasn't much of the lesson left and so we managed a verse of each before they had to go for lunch.

I was certainly ready for something to eat; I had worried about the content of my test so much that I was shattered. I ate, wrote a log of the classes activities today (for the next volunteer to read) and read my book. The afternoon class came in and I repeated the same format as the morning. My star pupil finished my test within fifteen minutes. Even for her I was astounded as I wouldn't have expected a native born English speaker, at that level, to finish my test within fifteen minutes. I gave her some colouring to do as I went and helped the rest of the class. At the other end of the spectrum I had a girl who I had to, almost physically, spoon feed the answers. This again just highlighted to me the academic gap within my class. Should I say anything? Should I recommend that this other girl gets moved down? The problem is that this girl is obviously one of the oldest students within the school and so, to move her down to the middle class, might dent her confidence. However when 'Let's go book three' comes next week she is going to get left even further behind. Just like the first class I gave all of my students pencils for doing well. We also finished off with songs.

On the way back to our guesthouse our tuk-tuk driver veered off the normal route to find one less bumpy. He succeeded however the dust clouds increased. We were back at the guesthouse and I paid our tuk-tuk driver the standard $3.00 for the days work. I then got myself a snack, from the local shop, for tomorrow before checking what was happening within the world. I had tea early before heading to sleep, totally tired out.

As my students have finished their text book (the new one doesn't come until Monday), had teeth pulled out this week and have participated in a test, tomorrow will be a games day. At 'library two' we have the 'pairs' and 'snakes and ladders' games. We also have bingo plus I can knock up a word search or two and a few round of 'beat the clock', if there's anytime left. However, first of all, is our weekly 'being healthy' lesson. Sandy and I have decided to put all the classes together again and go through different vegetables and fruits. We shall split the board and ask the students to put each flash card of a fruit, or vegetable, on the correct side of the board. Then we shall get them to do a bit of colouring, choosing fruits or vegetables as the subject. At lunch the Cambodian teacher, Sandy and I are going to go back to the new 'Library two' building (to see if there has been any improvement) before the Cambodian teacher takes us around her village.

However, for now, it's sleep … which is long over due.

Toodle Pip!

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