Thursday, July 9, 2015

June 24 2015

I reflected on the teacher awareness point “you should never give an assignment of any kind – formal or informal – in class/out of class – that you have not actually done yourself.” I am guilty of this, particularly when I teach beginners. Yes, I look through the book ahead of time, and yes, I stay a chapter ahead of my students – but do I do every single exercise? The answer to that would be a firm no. I think I rationalized it by saying to myself that I am a native speaker and the exercises -- doing every single one gets boring when I’m prepping lessons. But at the same time, as a teacher I fall into that dangerous trap of assigning busy work when I don’t look over the lessons too. I start to think to myself “oh, this will take up some time, let’s do this.” Which is very dangerous and is probably how I was taught a foreign language most of the time. There we go, falling into default mode again. I did this again this past week too. Our session is ending and so I had to give a final exam. My supervisors request that we stay consistent and if we teach form the book to give the test from the book as well. Since I’m a new teacher, with very little experience teaching adults, I do this and thought I was doing folks a favor, saving myself time, etc. I waited until two days before the exam to print the exam. I looked over it, sure, to make sure we had gone over the things that were on the test, but I didn’t take the test myself. I didn’t think I needed to. Well, sure enough, as my students were taking the test, there were questions, and I started looking at the test with a closer attention to detail and yes, there were a few really confusing items. Also, the directions were worded differently than the directions in the activities I give for homework and that confused more than a few students. So, I suppose lesson has been learned. If I am going to give a test, I will take the test first. Even if it is an intro level class and even if I think I am wasting my time at first. Good call. With our new session starting next week (after the holiday) I have been given a new class. I will be teaching high intermediate to advanced learners. There is more complicated grammar points that I will have to explain. The readings are longer. I will most certainly have to slow down, and do the exercises before teaching them. I will have to re-learn some of the grammar from my high school English classes. I think this will force me to be a more mindful teacher. But I will take it one week at a time. 
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