Sunday, 7 December 2014

Farewell Class Three

Mouse count: 107
Well the traps are packed away and so I must retire at 107. I was hoping to reach 108 which is quite an auspicious number in Bhutan. (It is said that 108 monasteries were once built in one day). So long Mickey! I held you at bay; but no doubt you are marshalling your forces and will be back causing trouble for the next teacher who comes.

Now, before I start this blog post dear Reader. I must just tell you that a typical post of mine gets about a dozen hits. How curious that my blog entitled 'Naked Dancing' has thus far had 197 hits. Shame on you dear Reader. Shame on you!

Well I must admit, I’ve put off writing this blog entry for a few days. By writing this entry it makes it so final, I have to admit that I’m never going to teach my lovely Class 3 again.  Saturday 29 November was my last day with my wonderful Yr 3 class who I have been teaching English and Maths to for the past year. 

Unlike in Australia, the kids must pass their exams and continuous assessment if they are to progress to the next grade. Those who fail even one subject may well have to repeat the entire year. Now, I don’t agree with this system at all because it simply puts all the pressure on young children who shouldn’t have to be worrying about such things and puts no pressure at all on the teachers who can simply shrug their shoulders when students fail and blame them for not trying hard enough. I’ve mentioned before that in class 5 (which is mostly comprised of 11 year olds) there are two 16 year old boys struggling with puberty, acne, an interest in girls and no doubt a bruised sense of self-esteem, whilst the rest of their class are still innocents. These boys clearly have learning difficulties and need extra coaching, what they don’t need is to repeat year 5 again. 

But, as usual, I digress. I’m pleased to say that all my class passed English but at this stage it looks like two boys have not passed Maths. In year 3, they must sit a national Board Exam and it was such an unfair test that I actually wrote to the board and detailed my complaints question by question. One question was so poorly written that it made no sense whatsoever. (Please see the photo included). Moreover, the test seemed to me to be designed to trip the students up rather than let them demonstrate what they know.

Do you know the answer???

There is also a tendency to ask 2 questions at once and only put one line for an answer. Surprise, surprise, the students tend to only write one answer and thus lose a mark. I’d challenge many Yr 3 kids in Australia to pass this test, and remember my class are doing it in English which is for many a 3rd or even a fourth language!

So, on Saturday, I gave them their tests, asked them to check I’d added up their marks correctly and then said goodbye. I tried to avoid sentimentality and schmaltz and instead chose to carry on talking to them as I have done all year – telling them what a snotty bunch they are!

They truly are a delightful class and my biggest regret in leaving Bhutan is not being their teacher anymore. I am truly proud of them. They’ve had a native English teacher for two years now and their spoken English is simply amazing, I don’t slow down or talk to them any differently than I would to a grade 3 class in Australia.  They are a lively bunch; just like in Australia, the boys tend to be a little bit more unruly than the girls but they are always respectful and polite. Some people claim that humour is the hardest thing to grasp in another language but I could always have a joke with them and they could have a joke with me and we got a lot of learning done too!

Goodbye Class III (they love their Roman numerals in Bhutan), I really am going to miss you.

1 comment:

  1. I'm enjoying a chance to catch up on your blog. It brings happy tears to my eyes to see these lovely children here, obviously so much further along the path of learning due to your hard work. I'm so glad you were there to teach, joke and love them. No matter what happens in the future of their education I'm hopeful that we've given them a good base to achieve all their dreams. Best of luck to all the kids of Class 3 to continue to do well in Class 4!