Friday, 20 November 2009

Construction of My New English Room

There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to leave a positive footprint in life.

Today started like any other day.

I got off the bus across the playground from Gucheon Middle School, adjusted the strap on my laptop bag, and walked towards the front door. Jake (my grade 7 student) was sitting in the windowsill of his homeroom on the second floor, and he waved at me and yelled, “Good morning Ken teacher!” as I approached. 

I set myself up at my computer in the teachers lounge, and I saw Kim (my other grade 7 student) shyly peeking at the door. I beckoned her to come in, and she walked in and stood beside me with her “thinking face” on. A lot of my kids come and join me in the teachers lounge to ask questions, or browse through Facebook pictures (they especially love any of me camping, skiing, or sightseeing in Canada), and I have no problem with it as long as they stay quiet and don’t disturb the other teachers (who are either working, playing solitaire, or sleeping). I saw Kim’s face change as she remembered the English word she was searching for as she said, “Ken…uhhh…penpal…letters?...where?”

Earlier in the semester, I began the “Canadian PenPal Project” at both of my schools, matching each one of my middle school students with a Canadian student of the same age. With the help of my sister (who is currently in grade 10) and one of the high school teachers at my old high school, letters have been successfully going back on forth all semester. Some of my students live by these letters. They’ve included photos, e-mail addresses, questions, and just about anything at all just to have a Canadian contact. Kim’s PenPal is my younger sister Krystal, and she’s one of the many students who frequently asks me about the letters.

“I will send out the letters on Monday. I don’t know how long it will take for you to get a reply.” I said. “Did you write down your e-mail address?”

“Yes” she replied.

“Good. Check your e-mail. Maybe she will send you a message when she gets your letter.” I said.

She thanked me, bowed, and left the teachers lounge.

Later that day, I was teaching my grade 8 class when all of a sudden I heard a series of loud bangs, scrapes, and screeches coming from the adjacent room. I had to raise my voice to be heard over all of the noise, but I couldn’t leave to find out what it was. The noises continued for the rest of my class.

When the bell rang, I left the room and immediately went to take a look next door. I was absolutely shocked with what I found. The music room had vanished. Every piece of furniture was gone, and a group of workers were in the process of ripping down the walls. I turned to Sunny (my co-teacher) with a confused look on my face, and she told me that the school had decided to build an English room.

At Bunam Middle School (my primary school), I have a state-of-the-art English room that all of my students come to for their classes. At Gucheon Middle School, I have to rotate between my 7th, 8th, and 9th grade classrooms (which are right beside each other) to teach my classes. It’s not an inconvenience for me in any way, but the school decided to invest in the construction of an English room in an effort to compete with the other schools in the region and (hopefully) attract more students.

I returned to the teachers lounge, set myself up on my computer, and prepared to relax for the rest of the afternoon. Twenty minutes before the end of the day, Sunny came running into the lounge and said, “Ken. I need your help. I have somebody on the phone.”

“What?” I responded. “What do you need my help for?” I asked.

“I have the designers on the phone for the English room, and they need to know what the room name will be for the plaque above the door.” She replied.

“The school wants me to pick the name for the English room?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said “and they need it by 4:30.”

She ran back out of the room and I began to brainstorm some ideas. Here’s what I came up with:

English Room

English Lab

English Center

English World

English Lounge

English Café

English Space

English Hub

And just for fun I threw in these suggestions for the kids:

English Headquarters

English H.Q

English Command Center

Sunny brought my ideas to the administration office, and I left for home feeling pretty good about my small (but nonetheless important) contribution to my school.

- Ken

1 comment:

  1. That's a nice footprint...your suggestion forever above a door in a little town in South Korea. Thumbs up for Ken Teacher!