Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2.5 weeks of teaching

It's hard to believe I've been teaching here for two and a half weeks.  I've found out that this job is hard.  There are many different things to juggle at once.  Planning for class is also a new challenge.  What kind of materials will we use today?  How can I plan classes that engage the students in the subject?
My eighth graders are very excited and have lots of energy.  My big task is steering it in the right direction.  They love to chat with their neighbors and sometimes regaining the class's attention is a big undertaking.  At the same time, they are very excited to participate in class, read aloud, and answer questions.
My eleventh graders were pretty shy at first, but they are warming up as they get to know each other and me.  They are certainly less excited to participate and are more self-conscious of their English abilities.  I enjoy the trust and relaxed environment their older age allows.
I'm learning a lot by making mistakes.  One example is that I was planning to read a novel that was too difficult for their abilities.  I make many mistakes each lesson in regards to classroom management.  But I am learning.
Another great resource has been the other teachers.  Many of them have provided various kinds of help, besides welcoming into their community.  This job would be almost impossible without such warmth and support.
Last Friday was especially fun.  The whole faculty took a trip to the Rhein area.  We took a gondola ride up the hill, saw the Niederwalddenkmal, the surrounding towns and finally went on a cruise down the river where I saw the Mäuseturm, which I read about when I took German with Prof. Fink.  A whole lot of fun, though I forgot to take my camera.  I also spontaneously joined a local community choir that several other guest teachers have participated in.  It was really nice to sing again; I didn't realize how much I had missed it.
I've discovered that teaching is rewarding.  It's nice to come home after a day at school and feel productive, knowing the students had a chance to develop, be that in English or in general as a person.  It should be a good year!

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