Teaching a kid a different language that is not at all common in his own country is a difficult thing. Its not like he hears these words all the time, or even sometimes. Teaching him to read is difficult because most times he doesn’t know the word he is saying. So after learning commonalities like ‘colors’ and ‘numbers’ and a couple of phrases like ‘it is a…’ we hit a wall.
In his English class at school, he is a very lazy fella. Others are writing down and learning approximately five new words a day. But Nika doesn’t even write them down. Great. So my new plan was to make picture flashcards in powerpoint of words the other students are learning and words I think he needs to know to communicate better with me like “Stop, Messing, Around, And, Pay, Attention, Or, I, Am, Going, To, Hurt, You.” or variations of those words.
So I did and it worked very well. Except for his obsession with touching the keys of my Mac Pro. I cringe at that because little man has zero hygiene awareness. And well… it’s my Mac Pro. But he really started to grasp the words and concepts well. I think we can make up a lot of ground this way.
Then I discovered something that has been riddling me since I started teaching here. I not only ask him to say the picture he sees, I also have him read the word and sound out the letters. When he did this the first time, he could not correctly pronounce any of the letters correctly. But I know he knows the letters. I went back to the book and pointed to the letters and yes, he knew them. But when put together he was more likely to say the sound of the letter. He did that for a while, until something clicked with him and he then started to say the correct letter.
The problem is (from what I can gather) Georgian alphabet has letters that correspond to Latin (English) alphabet. But their actual word for the letter more or less is the sound of the letter. Meaning the “r” is said as ‘rrrr’, but we say ‘r’. Does that make sense? And the ideological problem with that comes in when for example you have to pronounce or someone asks them to write, “E” because the sound of our “E” is their “I”. I notice this mistake ALL THE TIME. And with the ‘c’, ‘s’ and and ‘k’.
So hopefully I’m no to something with Nika because in addition to having a larger bank of words, I want him to be able to spell words by himself, too.
I only have two classes on Tuesday’s. And one co-teacher is with me for both classes. She was ill today, so I had them by myself. They were both 2nd grade. For the first one, I must say, I held their attention pretty well. We did some reading, and listening comprehension and a little fill in the blank. Then things started to unravel. I ran out of material. It was time to continue to new words and readings. I didn’t want to get too far ahead. Then they started to not listen. So in frustration, I stopped trying to give them more information and was putting my coat on as the bell was going to ring in 5 minutes. That got their attention. One little guy said, “No, Mas”- meaning, “No, Teacher. Don’t’ go!” I guess they thought I was mad and leaving. (I was mad. And would have liked to have stormed out.) They started yelling at each other to shut up and listen. I turned back around to look at the class (for what they thought one last time) and they all were quiet, sitting straight up in their desks with hands folded. I gotta say, I was impressed.
I took my coat off and for the last bit, they were perfect angels. And when the bell rang, they all came up and gave me a group hug.
And I’m a sucker for group hugs.
All by myself
Don’t wanna be
All by myself
All By Myself, Celine Dion