Previously I wrote that that teaching 11 year olds in the middle of summer was very difficult. Well I found something that is more difficult than that. My kid's school asked me to substitute for a week but they didn't tell me the level of the class I would be teaching. So Friday I showed up thinking I'd be teaching the E5 level class (11 year olds with really good English level)
Instead I had to sub the P class. The P class is a class of 6 7 year olds. Who have the most basic English Level. Like they don't even know their ABCs. It is the most basic, most elementary level of English imaginable. So I had to teach 2 hours of English class to a group of 6 7 year old students who have no English ability. I will tell you something.....I enjoy a good challenge; I've run marathons, moved to a completely foreign country, got a job without any experience.........but all of those adventures pail in comparison to stepping into a room of Taiwanese kids....who know very very little English. It was by far the most challenging thing I've faced here. How do you entertain, and teach a group of students who barely know their ABCs, without a Chinese teacher in the classroom for two hours?
The Answer.....act like a complete and utter clown. Seriously you just have to release all of your inhibitions, and just have fun. That is one of the key things I've learned here.....in order to be an effective teacher, you have to be passionate, disciplined and above all...relaxed. So I spent 2 hours playing stupid games, acting like a clown, throwing a ball around the classroom, all so that they would not hate learning English.....did it work? maybe...maybe not. They didn't leave the classroom crying, but they didn't leave singing my praises. Am I still completely and utterly terrified of facing them on Monday?...you bet your ass I am. Will I pull out all the stops, act like a clown, have as much fun as I can....in order for them to feel comfortable, relaxed and confident about English? You bet you ass I will!
.....because I believe in the transforming power of education....