I was asked to teach one lesson of an ongoing class for Singapore Academy, the head teacher’s class actually, and she would be observing me. Does this mean a teacher is making the academic decisions in the school? Too good to be true!
Usually, I don’t do demo classes, it seems to invite too many scams. Unscrupulous schools invite prospective teachers for an unpaid demo lesson, then charge students extra for a visit from a special teacher. Or the school can arrange multiple demos, and pass the group of applicants off as an endless variety of foreign employees. But I’ve got a pretty honest vibe from Mr. Singapore, and had a good chat with the head teacher, Olive, so I decided to give it a shot.
The school’s office, where I met Mr. Singapore last time, is in a lovely modern mall, with Gucci, Mudd and Boss shops, and a not-Starbucks offering armchairs, wireless and coffee that was actually brewed. Women in trendy black spitz perfume or offer makeup samples, and there’s a kiosk to put your own face into a bobblehead doll.
The actual school is across the road and down the block, on the fifth floor of a disused vocational college.
Maybe I was given the best class to show how great the students are, but whatever the reason, they were fantastic. They were still Chinese teenagers, a bit inclined to embarrassed silences when put on the spot, but they were happy to raise their hands, offer English words, answer my questions and read aloud. They were attentive without waiting in passive silence for the answers to be given. There was a bit of talking, but in my mind, conferring to find the correct English word or catching a confused classmate up to speed is a good thing, not a discipline problem. With one exception, they gave creative answers when I took class in a silly direction. (I was meant to teach simple past so we wrote a group story about the worst vacation ever.)
It went very well, and afterwards I had a good talk with the Olive about the program’s goals, the students’ plans and so forth. There’s actually a test for students to get into the program… I’ve heard there’s one for our primary school too but I think it tests your bank balance. And the kids are preparing to study in English-speaking countries, so motivating them won’t be hard. (“Fine, don’t do your homework. Good luck in Canada!”) I really hope they can offer my required salary, and not only Mr. Singapore‘s stream-of-consciousness comments will make fantastic blog fodder. Small classes of teenage students would be great!