27 July 2010

First 2 days of teaching: check!

27 July

Day 1 of teaching:
I thought day 1 went pretty well. It was a lot easier than I was expecting, but there was one part that will prove to be difficult throughout the entire practice school: multi level classrooms. Out of 15 students, 1 is really strong, and 2 are pretty strong. You see, we received textbooks for a 5th grade class who has supposedly been learning English since they were in 2nd grade. However, in Moldova, students either begin English in 2nd grade or 10th grade. In Razeni, I am getting the feeling that the majority of the students learn another language before they learn English, so these kids are completely lost. The three students who have studied it in the past speak are overpowering the class and I feel like the other ones are getting so far behind. While I was nervous as I’ll get out, I will say that the day, in general, went well. My resource teacher told me I was born to be a teacher because I am really patient with the students, although I have to begin to teach the students so they will learn instead of teaching them strictly for the sake of teaching. So day 2 was supposed to be better, right?

Day 2 of teaching:
Fail. Really. I feel like everything I’d practiced wasn’t important. My resource teacher taught the first lesson about families. She did the vocabulary, pronunciation, and text portion, and so all I had to do was teach the grammar of the very “to have”. Here’s the problem, though. Yes, I am a native English speaker. However, I cannot for the life of me tell you why the grammar is a certain way, or how the verb chart is without looking at it. Obviously this is something I will learn before I teach the students, but thankfully I will have a partner teacher to help me along the way AS I’m teaching… because right now they are just supposed to sit back and observe.
So first, I reviewed the vocabulary they’d learned in the first part of the day from my partner teacher. Things were going well. Then I began the grammar. I thought things were going well here, too. Until I asked them if they understood. Only 1 person raised her hand. There were 10 minutes left in class, I’d been teaching this for about 30 minutes, and they had no idea. So I had to call in my lifeline and have my resource teacher finish up the class teaching the students. Honestly, I felt like I totally failed and now the students won’t come to class because they aren’t going to learn. I hope this isn’t the case, but that’s how I feel right now.

What did I learn from today?
Grammar needs to be taught in the native tongue for clarity.
In British English, “To have” is actually translated “To have got”

**My dad always knows what to say to me... this was the email I received after he read this post:
Teaching can be very frustrating as you will have the very strong students and the weak. It is tough to keep the strong challenged without leaving the weak behind. I do think you have a gift for teaching and working with the young. Always remember, if it were easy, anyone could do it.

Much love,


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