The first day of teaching happened. Wow - I am so tired the best adjective I wrote is "happened". I am almost too tired to write this but I know if I don’t, I’ll just regret it later. I showered a bit ago but I am already covered in a fine layer of sweat so might as well sit and bear through a little more.
The principal’s office is just a large room where he and the head teachers sit. It’s an amazing people watching spot. Today was an extra interesting day as I saw many parents coming in to see the principal (many = like five but hey it’s more than the usual). Apparently, that day the principal had summoned all the parents of the students who had been skipping school. These kids happened to (apparently) be mostly tenth graders and mostly boys. The principal was explaining to these parents why their students could not advance to the next grade. I later heard via some teacher gossip that these students would not come to school for months and just show up out of the blue. With all this going on the principal said a quick hello to me before I went on my way to start teaching.
The third graders were sweet as per usual. This was my first time teaching this batch of kids so it was a process to figure out which kids are the “loud ones” and which ones need a little more time and encouragement. We all bonded pretty fast and the lesson went smoothly (Animals and Colours — as is from the 2017 report). If anything, it was a tad slow. We were not getting through the list as fast as we usually do but that’s okay — it might just be the first day drag.
We had a crazy time in this class. The teacher left :P (I teach third and fourth graders during school hours - which works well because the English teacher is MIA these two weeks - for the sole reason being that I cannot handle them on my own). The lack of a teacher kind of tips the success of a class. We managed but it was louder than what I was used to. No big deal — it was actually kind of a win because I think I have matured enough to at least handle the students. It used to be that I could NOT control them but the fact that I managed is progress. The lesson was the same as the third graders but we got much father than they did.
Sixth and Seventh graders
This was by far the most disappointing class. The behaviors was just so insane - they could not stop talking. Talking is a generic word - what I really mean is verbal sounds that fall into categories ranging from teasing to screaming. We only made it through the vocabulary of the lesson (Activities) by which point I thought continuing the class was just a waste of time for the students and a an abuse to my thought which had been screaming. I was so bummed that I had to stop 15-20 minutes early - It’s just that I actually feel really guilty. I want to provide them with every opportunity I can for learning but if they don’t want it there is only so much I can do to thrust it at them.
Eighth and Ninth graders
This went MUCH better. We got through the entire lesson (Activities) and it all went relatively well. The disturbances were minor and I actually got some new faces in the classroom that I never had before so that was really fun!
The most notable thing I want to talk about is actually a little problem I have. I teach 6-9/10th graders the same lessons for three years now. I have had three lovely and intelligent girls that have attended my classes for all three of those years. At this point they know the lessons very well. That said, the classes are really of no use to them but I still want to provide them with a chance to make use of my presence.
For now I am doing #1 because it’s really not a big deal to print out a few papers from three people. Most of the other students are well within the area in which my lessons are helpful and of appropriate difficulty. We can explore the other options later...
Tenth and eleventh grade
Quite a number of tenth graders came and they told me they were having trouble making time for my class and studying for their final exams. I told them not to come — I love what I do but I know where I stand as a priority. I would rather them do well on critical exams rather than having fun English lessons. Today was just a day for me to figure out how many students would come so I could figure out how many O/L English papers to buy (This is the class I teach O/L English to btw). I am guessing about 6 max students will come tomorrow - the eleventh graders are coming for sure because this class is very relevant to them.
The book I used:
Hi! I'm Samalya. When I'm not running about cramming for school I sit on my laptop and (attempt to) make a curriculum to improve spoken English in rural Sri Lanka!