One thing that went well: The warm-up turned out to be quite a success. We practiced each other’s names. I kicked things off by saying we should test the teacher. I went around the room and named everyone who was there so far. (100% correct, not because I worked at it, but because names generally come easily to me.) Then we split into two groups and did name chain drills that rapidly turned into free-form name repetition, which I had no problem with. Next, we mixed up the groups a bit and repeated. We wrapped up with a second test for the teacher because more students had arrived since my first test. Everyone is very friendly but maybe a little shy, and they seemed to really enjoy this excuse to get to know each other a little bit more.
One thing to improve: We’re doing some process writing, and we’re getting to the point where they need more individual time from me for guidance, corrections, etc. I’m not really sure how to provide that in a class of 18. Weekly conferences? Email? I’m not sure what’s best.
One surprise: Our first computer lesson was not an unmitigated disaster. Granted the room was locked when we got there (just like last semester), getting everybody up and running went slowly, and the room was seriously cold. Still, they all got to my website, and all but one student successfully filled out the online survey I’d made to get a sense of their computer skills and their interests. I didn’t realize I was missing someone because I had 18 answers and 18 students. It turns out that somebody filled it out twice… with totally different answers each time. Ah well. We made it through, they’re more familiar with my web resources, and I’m more familiar with their interests and needs. A surprisingly solid start!