Monday, January 10, 2011

In the Classroom

I came to the realization the other day that while most aspects of our lives have been documented on the blog, I have wholly neglected to discuss our jobs.  We teach English.  I have been working solely with children; whereas, Gavin seems to cover the vast spectrum of humanity - bubbly, cherub-cheeked children, petulant teens, and even a few adult classes.

I love my job and I find my students endlessly entertaining.  Even the naughty ones.  Kids in the classroom setting are unpredictable and most importantly, fun.  I never pass the threshold without some semblance of a lesson plan scribbled into a notebook.  That said, I rarely follow it in the younger age groups, choosing to run with the energy of the collective instead of sticking to a preordained schedule.  With this approach of structured chaos, I have accordingly developed a stock of games that I can easily fall back on at any time and mold to the lesson of the day.  In one two-hour lesson, my students swiftly move from relay races, running dictations, and flashcard grabs to game-show quizzes, ball throws and memory games.  I really try to incorporate my creative background as well, so coloring, drawing and constructing are also mainstays in my classes.  After running in circles for an hour straight, the students really enjoy unwinding with a box of crayons, a picture hunt worksheet, and a glass of Merlot.

This is one of my beginners' classes.  They are wild!  To tame these insatiable balls of energy, we created calendars in small groups.  Here they are showing off their work:
 They are between 8 and 10 years old.  Although many of them are at different levels of English, they are all fairly good at this point and I am consistently surprised by the size of their vocabularies.  We can thank the Disney channel for that one.
 The boys have a pretty hard time staying still for a picture!
I also teach some very small children. 
They range between 4 and 5 years old.
We spend a lot of time dancing around, running from flashcard to flashcard, shouting at the top of our lungs and coloring.  They have an English vocabulary of about 10-20 words.
Repetition of daily vocab embedded in different activities is the theme here.  We focus on four words a day (at most) and exasperatingly repeat them over a hundred times through the lesson.
This class learns about the life of a very exciting family and their charmingly ambiguous alien/bee larvae friend Beeno.  The course books are always eventful and my activities generally hold their attention.  Here they are enraptured in a board game this past weekend.


Anonymous said...

Nellie, I was curious.

Do the 5 year olds prefer Merlot, and the older ones move up to Tequila shots?

Something about that entry .... kinda cracked me up.

(Nice pics of the kids.)


Isis said...

... ps:

I don't know why I've come up as Anonymous for the last couple entries.

but I wanted to mention, Teaching ESL was MY FAVORITE JOB of my life. You and Gavin are really fortunate to be doing that, it's so fun !! I'm sure you're great teachers...........

Lots of Love !!

Carol said...

These children are so adorable, no wonder you are always saying you just want to take them home! Lucky you to be having so much fun.