Friday, September 21, 2012

Does that make sense?

I'm realizing more and more the things I take for granted, such as people understanding what I say to them.  This is especially true in English classes, where I for some reason assume that the students know a lot more than their level suggests. 

Yesterday I had 2 classes.  In the early afternoon I had my first session with a group at the level called Trailblazers, which are around 8 years old.  I had eleven 8yr olds in a room shouting that they wanted to write on the board and leave the room and play an online game that their last teacher had let them play.  Well, at this point I realized how good I'd had it with the Monday/Wednesday teens, and that my Tuesday teen group was basically sent down from heaven.  Luckily, I quickly figured it out: walk right up in front of them to make them listen, offer writing on the board/cartoon that I had planned anyway as rewards for good behavior.  They also had some problems understanding what I said, so I needed to find ways to make it simpler and more kid was kind of cute how once some of them got it, they would explain it in Russian to the others.  It was more challenging than I thought it would be, but I completed the lesson without going through my entire plan and still got a "thank you" from one of my students.  Hoorah!

Immediately after the Trailblazers, I had Sheila's adult group.  They're a bit shy and quiet, but I tried warming them up by starting with a video about bigfoot (he had been a part of the unit when we met on Tuesday.  I know).  Then we ran through the homework, which was a little like pulling teeth.  After this, I passed out a worksheet on present perfect tense, which I thought would be unnecessary and boring - but they liked it! It turned out that they actually needed the practice and had questions (which I was able to answer.  I felt really good about that), and then I asked if it "made sense" to them.  Such a simple phrase for us, but they looked at me with puzzled faces and asked me to explain...I went with "understandable" as in, "do you understand?" Then I kept using it, and I think they picked it up.  I assigned homework so we could end early and go to a presentation for the adults about changes going on at the school, and that was that.

After work, I went to TGI Fridays (yes, they have it! And yes, its basically the same) with some of the other teachers for some decompressing and bonding time.  Much needed and very nice end to my first week (can you call it that? I have no work today but do have 6 hours on Saturday...c'est la vie), I think we're going to get along very well.

Tomorrow I have 2 hours of little ones followed by 4 hours of teens...wish me luck as I head to work on my day off for some good old lesson planning! 

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