Friday, October 12
Students are students are students are students
Okay, so for the last few years I've been teaching at an "alternative school", yes quotes are required there. Students there were often troublesome and unmotivated, exposed to the world in a way that my students here are not. Okay, so now I teach at a high brow school for Astana's elite children who have been pampered in so many ways... economically, educationally, in many cases socially. My students there came to school wearing gang attire, butt bearing low rise jeans, skimpy skirts and usually a grimace of some sort. Here my students come wearing fancily tailored and trimmed suits and collared shirts, incredibly high heeled shoes, and often the less-than-flattering school uniform sweater or sweater vest. There my students came to class late, reluctant to get started, and then run out as soon as the bell rang leaving papers, books and assignments scattered around the room. Here my students begin class standing and wait for a greeting from the teacher and an invitation to sit. At the end of class they don't rush out, but many of them stay a minute or two to finish work and then leave class with a quick, "Thank you for the lesson."
There are a lot of differences in these groups of kids, but lets face it, students are students are students, no matter where they are from. I still have that kid who tries to outdo the rest of the class in presentations. There it looked like drawing an impressive street-inspired picture on your poster over night. Here it looks like selecting a soundtrack for your presentation and creating an emotional slide show to play behind you as you deliver your part.
I still have that kid who is too cool for school. There these students made a show of falling asleep or working on the pen tattoo they are adding to their arm. Here my "too cool" students roll their eyes when called upon as if I had asked them "what does c-a-t spell, class" rather than, "what are the weaknesses in the argument of the text?" and then they proceed to say something slightly correct which they are very proud of.
I still have the student who sits quietly in class not understanding. There instead of trying to listen the student spent the last 20 minutes carving his name into the desk and when asked why he didn't raise his hand he just says, "I didn't get it." Here that student has a page full of notes they don't understand at all.
I still have the student who is hilarious. There this student was incredibly skilled at distracting me and turning everything into a joke, sometimes to my delight and sometimes to my complete and utter frustration. Here that student is less vocal but makes me laugh when he shoots me the hang loose hand signal whenever I catch him doodling instead of working.
I still have really smart students. There these student caught on quickly, finished quickly and spent the rest of their time reading, drawing, or sometimes chatting with other friends who were also finished early. Here my really smart students love to glory in their superiority by quickly shouting out correct answers and then lapping up the attention they get when other students seek their help, which they freely give.
They are different in so many ways, my former students and my current students, and yet I sometimes feel myself thinking, I know you.