Wednesday, October 13, 2010

School Update

I met my 12th grade and 8th grade classes yesterday. The 12th grade students were better at English than the 11th grade students, though there are still a few who had a hard time understanding me. The oldest student in this class is 24, but there were several others who were in their early twenties.

Having high school students in their twenties may sound crazy to citizens of the US, but the students are not grouped by age here. They are placed in the class that fits their academic level. If a student starts school at 10 years old, he or she is put into first grade even though the other students are younger. Really I think it is a good system. Students are not passed on to the next grade if they don’t know the material. In fact there is a national test the students must take at the end of grades 6, 9, 12, and 13. If the students do not pass the test, they do not go to the next grade until they have passed the test. So far I have not observed any issues with the multi-age classes.

The 8th grade students were exactly what you would expect. Well, they were exactly what I expected. They were enthusiastic, quick to please me (for the most part), and loud. (Are you surprised? I wasn't.) They learned quickly, but they also spent a good deal of time giggling. They even tried to trick me at one point. Okay, not the whole class, just one girl. Ten of the students are 13 and 14 years old, and the others are mostly 15 and 16 with one boy who is 18. He seems to be the class clown.

I think we’ll all get along just fine.

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