October 12th 2012, Friday
Teaching day. Elizabeth and I taught first, the 6th form as it is called out here. Our lesson was on school subjects. We alternated introducing words and sentences to a class we had never met. Our expectations were low of their English comprehension, lower when the usual teacher told us that they couldn’t speak very well. They ended up doing a great job by my standard. At the very least they preformed higher than my expectations. They were able to repeat our words and even read our sentences. The comprehension was there, we could tell that they knew what we were teaching.
Perhaps we got a bit ahead of ourselves. Their ability to produce new material using what they just learned was too fast of an expectation. They ended up just rewriting or repeating what we wrote or said. Our word bank was too small and confusing. This is something that we will make better in the future.
While working with the training staff on how to teach I feel like I am in High School all over. I very much disliked High School. Here the answers and method are black and white with no real room for debate. An oversimplified example would be if a teacher asked, “Identify problems.” And I responded “I have too many friends.” The teacher would say that was not a problem. I would respond, “It is a problem because they don’t all get along so I am not able to spend time with all of them together.” Usually a teacher would say that was incorrect and that I was not following the rules of the lesson, that I was thinking too much. College was a great release, a journey into freedom from such limited thinking. I understand it is important to limit responses to teach a lesson or prove a point, but comprehensive thinking of many different levels should always be supported. Don’t stifle a young mind. I almost didn’t go to college because of High School, I’m glad I did. My mind has never been so open.
Cold. I am writing up the notes while observing classes and my fingers can barely move over the iPad from the cold stiffness. I didn’t feel the cold earlier when I was teaching, my adrenaline was pumping. Now it is making me miserable. I felt like I might lose a toe. Overall or class went really well. We all had strengths and weaknesses in our lessons. Part of our training is that we have to teach 15 classes and observe another 10 and take notes. The process of observation is quite easy and I think I may have found a window in the middle of the day to allow myself some time to write.
Each observation requires notes to be written up about class which can be made easily without even paying attention to the lesson. A simple, “good movement around the room” and / or “spoke in easy to understand commands” will suffice as sufficient proof of observation. I can spend the rest of the class documenting and working on daily write ups. And if anything major happens I can document it since I am only sitting in the last row and privy to all classroom shenanigans.
To write in later: Notes on Clancy’s takeover of Elizabeth’s and his class with his rough teach style. The running back and forth of Charlotte’s and Jerry’s class. The class of the day we all struggled through and then Clancy’s breakdown in our kitchen. Actually that about sums that up. I can update those later. Time to move on to the next day while it is fresh in my head. Our first attempt at singing a song.