Yesterday, I completed my first ever Open Class as a teacher. Inside me swirled a colour-loaded washing machine full of emotions – everything from confidence in the children and myself to hating their guts and wishing I could catch a moderately-crippling disease so I wouldn’t have to do the confounded class. Turns out, like most public performance, once the show begins to roll, it will most likely continue to roll until it has rolled itself to completion.
In the early hours of yesterday, I was a wreck. I was nervous. I was panicked. I detest being observed, which is strange considering my background in choir, musical, and theatre performance. The thought of having three lovely strangers watching me attempting to ‘educate’ their children was highly nerve-wracking. I was due to deliver my open class in the fourth period of the day, directly following our lunch break. Sitting in the teacher’s room for 50 minutes with nothing to do but ponder the upcoming 20 minutes of intense scrutiny did not do my psyche any good. Nevertheless, I tried my best to remain calm. Right before the lunch break was due to end, I listened to Rise Against’s ‘Saviour’ at as loud a volume as I could bear, to drive all thoughts of panic and self-doubt from my mind. The bell went. I was ready. I picked up my materials, stood up, and stared down into the bite-size abyss that lay before me.
The parents arrived soon after I did. They smiled awkwardly and waved gingerly at me as they entered. They sat on child-size stools at the back of my small classroom, eagerly eyeing both myself and the class. I began confidently, giving my obligatory spiel about the content of the class. As my longest unbroken period of speech for the entire class, I was elated when I completed it without a hitch.
From there, I showed the children flashcards to ‘test their vocabulary’ (more like test their visual memory, because of how many times they had seen the flashcards). The children then took turns reading pages of a simple story. I occasionally chipped in with questions to ‘test their comprehension’ and get them to speak and demonstrate their mastery of the English language. Finally, the children completed a written task comprised of some more comprehension questions. There were a few small hitches, mostly from the weakest student in my class, but nothing that raised my blood pressure beyond healthy limits. And then, before I knew it, it was time to give my obligatory little speech thanking the parents for their time and saying farewell. It was done. All of the preparation had paid off. All of the panic was unwarranted.
Now that the open class is completed, it seems like a rather easy coast to the Christmas holidays. Each day brings me closer to seeing my family in Australia, and being away from our first school in Korea for a little over a week. I cannot wait. With the major obstacle of open class behind me, I am a lot more relaxed, a lot more upbeat. I can see the end of the year, and I can’t wait to embrace it.