Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Voices in My Head

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the end of our last Kindergarten semester was marked by a musical production. My class did Peter Pan. Just imagine for a second what it would take to get a class of American kids to memorize a musical in Mandarin. Needless to say, it was a challenge. How do you get a bunch of seven-year-olds who barely speak English to memorize a 30-minute English musical? By doing a lot of yelling and threatening that we would not be allowed to do if we were teaching in America. And, by practicing over and over and over and over.
Towards the end, I would come home at night and find that the musical was playing, on repeat, in my head. Not just my lines, but all of the lines. Trust me, after practicing with the kids for hours on end the last thing I wanted on my mind was a steady stream of “Look out, it’s Captain Hook! He’s trying to shoot us with the cannon!…” Sometimes the songs would be playing in the background “Yo ho yo ho a pirates life for me…”

As mildly disturbed by this as I was (having uncontrollable voices in your head is usually not considered to be a good thing), I knew it was a passing phase. The semester would be over soon enough and my head would be free to return to the thoughts that normal people have; about friends, money, laundry, whatever, and if a song were stuck in my head, it would be one that I actually liked…or so I thought.
The kids I’m teaching are younger now, and I’m not sure if it’s their age or just my new Korean co-teacher’s personal teaching style, but my teaching these days seems to revolve in large part around teaching the kids songs, songs about playgrounds, animals, letters, fingers, etc. This can be cute (how could happily singing children not be cute?), and fun, a nice break from worksheets. But sometimes it can be a little too much.
We will practice the songs with the kids, and to reinforce their learning we will play them as background music during lunchtime, morning circle, and playtime. The same songs are on repeat throughout my morning, songs that I never liked to begin with. My co-teacher comes into my classroom carrying the CD player and I cringe. Please, just let me teach math, phonics, anything else. And, to top it all off, the voices in my head are back.

I wake up on a Saturday morning and what do I hear? “This little duck that I once new, a little yellow duck with a feather on his head, he leads the others with a quack quack quack…” I’m not sure what is worse, pirates or quacking.  All I know is that I’ve had enough of both of them to last me a lifetime.

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