Teaching Tactics

We are slowly but surely adapting to a life that everybody on social media is dubbing “the new normal”. This is true of both my teaching life and my personal life. On the one hand, teaching still remains online with the exception of my Dutch guy. But it’s a slow week as I did not see either my Dutch guy or Katya on Monday. Both were too busy to have class. This is also my last week with my pre-intermediate English learners. At least for this class. I spoke to them last week about continuing with me and they all seem keen to continue. In fact, one of my students actually called the English Center to inquire about continuing, and if it goes through we will be either starting a new course on 30 June (Happy belated birthday to me) or 7 July. That is, of course, if everybody wants to take the class. One of my students is a chef and her work is paying for it. She’s the one who called. The other two are cousins and are high school students, and while one works at a supermarket and may have her own funds, I am not sure about the other student. I, of course am quite happy for the work. We will have to see.

I screwed up my timing a second time with PIE. I had to make a 14th lesson in the series. You see, dear readers, the 10th lesson in my series I designed as a games lesson which can only really be done in the classroom as the games are tactile. So that was out for my online class. In the first online, class for PIE that I taught, I made the 13th class to accommodate the lesson that can be only done in the classroom. In this incarnation of PIE, I went a little too fast and I didn’t realize just how quick and smart my students actually are with English. So I now find myself in the unenviable position of having to make a 14th class in the series to make up for both the games lesson and the fact that I went too quickly.

So as ever, I turned to friends for the answer. Regina came through with the idea of designing a class around questions. She even gave me some materials to use. But forgot to attach them. So I went online and made a board game with question words. And that will be the last class of the series. I am hoping that it’s easy enough and interesting enough that my students will be able to have a little bit of fun with it. I went online and I found a do it yourself board game template on an ESL site and I made steps in the board game with question words and a topic. For example one square contains the word bike. The students are going to roll a dice and based on where they fall will make a question for another student the second student has to answer it and then roll the dice. We will see if this works on Thursday afternoon. I’ll be sure and report next week.

I am quite proud of my Polish adult student. Remember last week we were preparing for an English language assessment? We prepared quite hard for it doing a role-play and also formulating the writing assignment that she would have. It turns out that the role-play had not been necessary. That was in Polish. But she did such a good job on the writing assignment and so well in the interview that she got the job. Her life is now set for the next 33 months. It’s an 18 month internship with 15 months worth of work after that. I think we will continue with English lessons because she needs to improve her English and her speaking ability. To that end, I am going to have another intake with her and we are going to focus her English around her work. That’s not to say that I won’t do interesting topics that are not work related but I really want her to increase her foothold in this company. And one of the ways to do that is her language skills.

VIP kid continues to degrade. But the good news for me is if I stick it out with all these other teachers jumping ship maybe my schedule will go back to normal. We will have to see what happens over the next six months or so. In the meantime 20 June is a strike day and I am actually looking forward to the day off.

That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.

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