Written on paper and then typed up for your enjoyment.
I’m sitting here in class while my students are taking a test… a real, genuine, fill in the bubble with the correct answer standardized test. For both my literature classes (see more details below) I’m administering a diagnostic test to assess their reading level at the beginning of the school year. This will help me group them by ability for certain tasks, as well as allow me to chart their improvement throughout the semester. (Huge shout out to my PiA friend in Shenyang, Jason, for giving me the test!) I’m really excited by the “officialness” of it all.
These past few days I’ve really felt like a teacher. I’m confident in front of the class and yet relaxed and friendly. I’ve been working hard at memorizing their names, and we’ve already been able to joke and laugh together. The students have left class smiling, which feels great. One student said that I “looked lonely” because I just moved to Kunming. (I’m hoping she meant that I must be lonely… I certainly hope I don’t have LONELY written on my forehead…) She offered that we could be friends, and that she and her classmates like me. I was so touched.
Lesson planning has been a lot easier so far– mostly because I’ve been reusing some things from last year. However, now I’m so much more efficient. I now fully understand how to model directions, use CCQs to check for understanding, and then just let them go with an activity. I finally feel like I’m being a successful guide on the side, rather than sage on the stage. I feel like I am challenging them already and gaining their respect through some tough love. It’s always better to start out strict and then ease up a little, right? I’ve already shown them that I do not tolerate tardiness, talking while other people are talking, or using cell phones in class… but I have a feeling I’ll have to give them a few more “reminders” throughout the year.
This semester my schedule is just about perfect. On Monday I have two sections of Public Speaking. These are probably going to be my favorite classes because they are fairly small (15-20 students= easy to keep everyone involved) and they have an awesome textbook, which makes lesson planning a breeze. They have an assignment for next week already—give an “old bag” speech. This involves finding a bag that is meaningful to them in some way, and putting three items in it to represent their past, present and future. They are supposed to talk casually about the items as they pull them from the bag. I gave them an example using my environmentally friendly shopping bag with a tootsie roll representing my favorite childhood candy, a luggage tag representing my recent move to Kunming, and my passport, signifying a future full of traveling and new adventures. I’m excited to see what they come up with!
On Tuesday I have three sections of American literature. This, like Public Speaking, is an elective, meaning that hopefully the students are there because they are genuinely interested in the subject matter. We’re doing some activities with Dr. Seuss next week… I think it’ll be fun.
Today, Wednesday, I taught three sections of the compulsory English Literature class. So far my classes have only had 50-75% attendance rates, so I’m thinking that I might have to get creative and try to find ways to motivate kids to come to class. Or maybe they think because it’s the beginning of the semester, and the rosters aren’t finalized yet, they think that they’re off the hook. Think again kiddos. I already caught one girl sign in on my sign in sheet, and then sneakily leave class. I went to college too… I know how to play that game!
After three full days of teaching, I’m exhausted. My new weekly slogan is going to be TGIW, because my weekend officially begins on Wednesday at 5:40. Hello, weekend getaways! This four-day weekend will be full of moving into my new apartment. More about that in another post.