I was annoyed…

I was annoyed today.

A homeroom teacher came to see me today. I always look up to him because he reminds me my dad. He has that intellectual look and he loves green. However, we got into a colorful debate after the English midterm exam. He has different opinion over how I design my midterm exam. Here’s a sum up.

1. Too much emphasize in listening(50%). He suggests that since there’s little opportunity for kids to be exposed in English environment, it is pointless to give listening tests.

2. Too little emphasize in reading. He suggests that reading is the main input for most kids, thus reading should be the main part in test.

3. Too difficult to ask students to write in complete sentence. He suggest to have more cloze test to accommodate average-leveled kids.

I knew he doesn’t mean anything bad, but it is difficult to explain the whole situation I’m facing right now.

Some parent who was majored in English complained to the dean at school the other day, "how come English teachers don’t teach grammar? or k.k.? Why do kids don’t know anything about sentence structure?"

On the other hand, I have THIS homeroom teacher ask me not to ask students to write in full sentences. Give them more cloze test.

To make the mission even more impossible, I have curriculum requirement  to meet.

Folks, English teaching in elementary level is NOT the same case like everything we have experienced back in the good old days. Please don’t judge the way it is now by the experience you had when you were young.

I don’t teach you how to teach Mandarin and math, you don’t bloody teach me how to teach English!

Okay….I know, there should be a place and time, a platform to discuss this issue rationally. I know I should be more open to critics, but it seems so easy for other teachers/parents to judge English teachers while very few of them actually knew what’s going on in a real English classroom in elementary school.

I was annoyed because there’s no one single quick fix. There’s no one fast answer for poor English performance. I can’t ignore the pressure kids will face in the future but I don’t want them to repeat the same old school learning style at the same time. I can’t please EVERYONE with the scarce teaching hour I have.

Kids need time to digest. True, we don’t have enough time. That’s why I see their funny sentence structures as part of the learning curve. True, most kids don’t have the luxury to be exposed in English, that’s why I want to start it in my class. True, they are not doing good in English test, but, does avoiding listening test gonna uplift their test scores? Does avoiding them to make sentences gonna benefit their end result?

Mr. x, I appreciate your concern but please acknowledge the fact that it is 2008 now. We just can’t teach English like the way we teach in the 80s or 90s…..


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