Now I myself am going to go on an expat rant! (I know it’s hypocritical since I just talked about how obnoxious foreigners who complain are, but I generally keep a positive attitude, I just gotta let this rant out!)
My biggest challenge in teaching here, which I may have mentioned before, is adhering to the methods used here for teaching such young children. At home, kids go to kindergarten when they are 5 or 6, then to first grade. Here, there is Pre-K, K1, K2, and K3, and then first grade. So K3 is basically equivalent to “kindergarten” at home. Kindergarten is when children are first faced with some studying of letters and sounds and handwriting. By this time, children have already picked up on a lot of this knowledge and ability through other means, such as singing and playing. Here, they don’t seem to think “playing” can be educational at all. SO, starting in Pre-K (which at home would be pre-pre-pre-k), they have kids tracing lines and are yelling at them for not tracing and coloring inside the lines. This is what is difficult for me: not only forcing 2-4 year olds to sit in a desk for a lesson and a boring assignment, but also telling then its not good enough and making them do it again. I neglected to be strict with my K1 students’ tracing and coloring for one semester and was informed that they were behind and I needed to take it up a notch. It breaks my heart to be tough on them for something I personally don’t believe matters.
I hate that I find myself so upset when 20 three year olds aren’t sitting still in their desks or doing their endless pages of tracing. These kids don’t know what they’re missing and still manage to come to school with huge smiles on their faces. They are so precious and so smart. I could rant about these methods all day (as I mentioned that some expats do) but the truth is, I love my students and at the end of the day, that’s why I have stayed. I didn’t come here to teach Montessori school. I came for the learning experience of teaching not in America and for the opportunity to interact with children of a different culture. I have found all of these things here and wouldn’t trade my time here for any job at home. That said, I could not do this job forever, but it is nice to explore.