Journal: 16 < 19 < 20

Students: 20

One thing that went well:  Right before class started, one of my early birds asked for clarification on the grammar point.  My class doesn’t always understand when to use Simple Past and when to use Present Perfect (I went to Italy vs. I have gone to Italy).  The woman’s question was about the difference between specific time and general time.  Her question led me to frame the functions of Present Perfect a bit differently in class, and it really seemed to be working better for people.  Yay for student questions!

One thing to improve:  This is going to sound trivial, but I really need to remember to think about whether or not I have enough books and/or copies for the whole class.  I have enough books for 16 people, and today I made enough copies of non-book materials for 19 people, and I was surprised when I didn’t have enough for 20 people.  Focus, Emily!

One surprise:  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading their writing when I took it home to comment on last night.  I was also surprised at how very long it took me to read them all, write meaningful comments, and suggest corrections.  There goes my hourly wage!  🙂

Journal: General Things

Students: 17

One thing that went well:  I wouldn’t say it was a stellar class session.  It was fine, just not great.  In particular, I struggled to stay student-centered.  I am happy that even though it was hard, I continually asked myself, “What am I about to do that the students could do instead?”  Answers: giveexamples, read questions, hand out writing folders, and many more Teaching 101 no-brainers that I almost totally overlooked.  It just wasn’t coming naturally to me today, but I managed to be mindful.  This helped me stay focused on the students instead of hosting The Emily Show.

One thing to improve:   I guess I’d like to improve my class endings in general.  Looking back at the lesson, there was nothing wrong with it in particular – I just feel kind of “meh” about it.  Maybe taking a few minutes to recap and wrap up would help us end positively instead of neutrally?

One surprise:  I managed to not make a mess today.  I usually have my stuff strewn about the room, which is pretty impressive given that said stuff doesn’t live in this room.  Each epic mess is only ever a few hours old.  But anyway, today my piles and stacks were manageable !  I think it’s because I’ve been working hard to not save what I don’t need and to leave home what I don’t need to bring in.  I’ll be ready to suavely* roll on my way when the classroom’s next instructor arrives instead of ineffectually fussing around my materials hoard for 10 minutes, slinging it haphazardly together and staggering out of the room as usual.  Wish me luck!

*I will probably trip, but that’s not the point.

Journal: Students’ Cars

A surprisingly engaging little bit of class today:

Red Ferrari Sports Car by freefotouk on Flickr
Red Ferrari Sports Car by freefotouk on Flickr

I wanted to practice the meaning of possessives, meaning ‘s and my/his/her etc.  I felt that the actual purpose of using them was getting lost in our nit-picky practicing.

So I quick collected pictures of cars on Google Images and stuck them in a Word document. I ended up using very, very cool-looking cars (as well as a pink double-decker bus). I labeled each of them as a certain students’. For example, I labeled the orange car Student A’s Car, and the white car Student B’s Car.

That was pretty much it. The students seemed to really enjoy the big reveal about whose car would be next, what color their car would be, and how awesome their car would be.

The language flowed naturally from it. “This is Abdikhadir’s car. Abdikhadir, what color is your car? (My car is blue.) How many people fit in your car? (Two.) Do you think his car is fast or slow? Is this car good for Abdikhadir’s kids?

And come to think of it, the conversation really flowed from it as well.  I should use pictures more often as conversation starters.