Did 3 weeks of 100+ classes before having to attend a wedding overseas followed by moving right afterwards. Starting to get back on schedule.
My tips for this update:
(1) Find what you are good at.
I see posts all the time of teachers finding themselves with excess time and reading a storybook to kids, playing hangman, or playing tic-tac-toe. To this day, out of 2337 classes that I have taught, I’ve never read a storybook, played hangman once, and only play tic-tac-toe with 1 regular student because he goes apeshit when its time to play (it helps that his mom doesn’t mind either). I personally find little to no value in doing these things if you have extra time. This is just my personal opinion, especially since parents are paying as much as they are for these lessons. Furthermore, I just can’t picture myself reading Dr. Seuss or any other children’s book to my students. If you are the type of teacher that enjoys reading storybooks or teaching/playing games when there is extra time, great! Every teacher has their own unique style to personalize the learning experiences of these wonderful students and I fully respect that.
There are two things that I believe have helped me, perhaps even differentiate myself from the crowd. (1) I often change my voice between a masculine and feminine voice, sometimes at will and without even thinking about it. At first I originally would do this for role-play. Now I do this unconsciously and at any time. I’ve gotten a lot of praise from parents mentioning how much it attracts the students to maintain focus. (2) I find ways to have extended and off topic discussions. I believe this is especially valuable and beneficial, in particular for assessment classes. There are a lot of assessments in which students will finish them very quickly and you have to be ready for that. I find any opportunity possible to extend and ask questions to the students during assessments. I’ve gotten pretty darn good at it as well (humble brag).
(2) Assessments that I believe require preparation for students finishing early!
Below are Level 2/3 assessments that I believe DEFINITELY require extended conversation or some type of activity/game/storybook:
Level 2 Assessments:
Unit 3 Lesson 6: Don’t get me started on how difficult Lessons 1-5 are for these beginner students. I’ve found that most students, however, go through this assessment rather quickly. Levels 1 and 2 are fairly simple, while Level 5 is extremely short.
Unit 4 Lesson 6: Similar to Unit 3 Lesson 6, the math and grammar sections are very short and not really much of a challenge… even for students who may have struggled in the lessons prior to this assessment.
Unit 8 Lessons 6 and 12: These will definitely need to be stretched as far as you can stretch them. If you are just going through slide by slide without any interaction or discussions, I guarantee you that the students will finish within 15 minutes. I personally feel like Unit 3 (School Phrases) and Unit 8 (Colors) should be swapped.
Unit 12 Lesson 6: The phonics blends and math section are a cakewalk for students at this level. Extension will be needed for this assessment.
Level 3 Assessments:
Unit 3 Lessons 6 and 12: This entire Unit isn’t very difficult for students that I’ve taught. Students can do these in their sleep. You will need to extend and stretch these assessment as much as possible.
Unit 7 Lesson 6: I feel like this is the worst assessment of any Level 2 or 3 assessment in terms of content. It hardly covers any of the tedious word form and standard form numbers that students learn during lessons 1 – 5. It also barely covers possessive adjectives or any of the difficult /oo/ or /ou/ phonics sounds that students learn. I’ve never had to stretch an assessment as much as this one. Be prepared!
(3) Seriously, stop complaining about 4 apple parent feedback.
Unless you are below a 4.0 rating, there should be no complaining. None. Zero. Parents are paying over $20+ for each 25 minute class. They are the customer. Learning English for these students in Asian countries isn’t a game. For many of these students, English is seen as status and power rather than a way of communicating. Many job requirements and promotions require a specific English score on language exams. Unfortunately, many of these English language learners are focused to learn English for extrinsic purposes and benefits. It personally pissed me off to see how English is taught when I was overseas. Even if a parent gave you 4 apples, you still got paid right? Did their 4 apple no comment feedback leave some type of emotional scar? Am I missing something here?
As I mentioned in the last update, find ways to improve. There isn’t always going to be someone holding your hand along the way telling you ways in which you can improve. Be honest with yourself. Assess yourself objectively. Find ways to improve. I always hold myself accountable. I’m not competing with anybody but myself.
Have a great week everyone!