On “Winging It”

Yesterday was my fourth observed lesson. I was teaching the Elementary group again (on Tuesday it had consisted of 6 very chatty ladies), so I was really excited to do some fun pair-work and group activities with them, and basically my entire lesson plan from the warmer all the way to the filler was based on pair-work.

Only one student showed up.

And thus began Holly’s education in “winging it”. The good news is, it was one of the ladies who had been there on Tuesday, Marcela, and she was by far the most eager and willing student. The bad news is, of all the students who could’ve shown up, she probably has the lowest level of skill with the language. She was lovely though, and she tried so hard. I wanted to give her a big hug at the end!

Anyway, there were a couple activities I had to completely throw out – there was no way to do them with only one student. My warmer, for example, would’ve had two students sitting back-to-back, one would describe a picture I gave them, the other would try to draw it based on their description. Can’t really do that alone.

I’m actually really proud of how I handled it though. In a way, I thought it was quite nice because I got to really focus on Marcela’s needs. I played the listening activity more times than I would’ve for a group, since I could tell she needed it. Our trainers tell us to “teach to the majority” most of the time, because if 99% of your students understand something, you can’t afford to keep going over it just for that 1%. So if the whole class had been there, poor Marcela might’ve struggled more with some of those activities. But, because it was just the two of us, I got to give her more time, and at the end she really had a very good understanding of the new lexis. It was all travel themed (the sights of a city: castles, statues, museums, etc), and I had her do an activity at the end where I said, “I’m visiting Prague,” which of course she knows, so I said, “What sights should I see?” and she planned out a lovely little list of things I should visit in Prague. Many of them I’ve already been to, but she was just so darn excited about it that I think I might go see them again anyway!

The lesson was observed again, so after Emma taught (a second student arrived for her lesson – lucky!), our trainer Dan gave me my feedback. He thought I’d handled the abrupt change to the plans really well. He gave me some good tips on other ways to handle it in the future (For example, sit down with the student, which really seems like it should’ve been obvious! Duh, Holly.) and gave me another pass. Four-for-four! I have two more lessons, one of which will be observed.

After that, I literally ran up the hill to meet my 1×1 student Helena for our second lesson. We had talked quite a lot about her family during our first meeting, so I used that as our theme. I showed her a clip from the movie “About Time”, because in the first two minutes the main character Tim describes his family in a really lovely way. He speaks pretty slowly, too, without a lot of pauses, and it’s right in the beginning, so she hasn’t missed any plot or anything that would confuse her. I had her do a couple activities based on that – write down the characteristics of the family members described, fill in the blank work-sheet of the transcript, etc. Then I had her do a speaking activity where she followed the same format to describe her family to me. It went really well.

We don’t actually have proper class today. We each have a 10-minute meeting with Dan to basically progress check and talk about the grammar presentations we did on Tuesday in a bit more detail. Then I’m going to be at the school working on the big paper (about the 1×1 assignment) for a couple hours, and then Kelly, Sam, Sierra and I are going to the Globe for a study party. The paper is due Monday, but we’d all like to get as much done as possible today, since tomorrow (Saturday) we’ve all signed up for an extra seminar on teaching Young Learners, which will take up most of the day.

Apparently it’s the first time they’re offering this seminar, so we’re sort of the guinea pigs. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m more than likely going to be teaching Kindergarten-8th grade in Korea, so I could probably use all the help in the world given I have next to no experience with kids. Anyway, it should be very interesting, but will take up a huge chunk of Saturday so I really need to get a lot done today.

Haven’t taken any pictures since last time I wrote, but here’s one of my very favorites from last weekend (below).


The Lover’s Bridge.

Love from Prague!


About reallyholly

I'm really quite fantastic.
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