I walked into the classroom, which didn’t have a light. There were large windows with blinds, through which any curious students could peer. Any light that poked through was natural lighting. Since students stay in their classrooms and the teachers rotate, several of my kids were already waiting for me. Others were on their way. I began introducing myself to them with a handshake, and was impressed that they said, “My name is…” instead of just saying their names. One boy told his friend to come say hi to me. These kids were such angels. This room was much wider than the last, but I still wanted to retain the U formation of the desks that had worked so well last time. It wasn’t the best idea, but I was busy putting up the posters and keeping them from falling off of the whiteboard. When it rains, the humidity makes it harder for the tape to stick to the board. The sounds from the neighboring children and dogs could be heard from the classroom. It would be more difficult for them to hear me here, so I would have to make sure I had their eyes even more so.
While struggling to put up posters that were not crooked, I asked them to copy down the date and the day’s topic: Games and hobbies. I gave my rules and began reviewing from their previous lesson, which involved sports. I began by acting out soccer, football, and tennis to have them call out the sport. I had them copy down some notes on affirmative, negative, and interrogative sentences, then moved on.
To have them practice their pronunciation, I passed out post-it notes one at a time to them. Then, they said the word(s) like “Walk in the park”, and they had the choice of putting the picture on the Venn diagram for solo/group/both activities. I hadn’t thought of having them stand up to say the word at first, but after the first intuitively did that, I had the rest of them do so. I enjoyed seeing how different students perceived activities as being solitary or group activities. Some thought that listening to music was a solo activity, while others thought that walking in the park was a group activity.
For the last 10 minutes, I had them apply their learning by creating their own “fun house”. They would invent a house with 5 rooms, each for different activities, like playing sports or instruments. They looked confused, even after I drew it out for them, so I asked one of them to explain the directions in Spanish. One of the girls in the front row eventually spoke up and gave perfect directions to the class. What’s interesting about the students here is the care they put into their drawings. None of them said “I can’t draw!” as they might in the states. They just quietly took out their rulers and began forming perfect lines. Some of their houses had roofs and some boasted colorful pictures. As I walked around, I noticed that all students I’ve seen so far are usually prepared with an array of pencils, pens, colored pencils, and sharpeners. Most important of all, they love whiteout. They tend to feel the need to correct everything and do it all over again in a neater way. Or, they might just use it as an excuse to go “borrow” it from a classmate in order to say hi to them. We ended the class with a round of applause, and I thanked them for their attention. I’m realizing how important it is to give them as much wait time as possible. Even if it feels like an eternity, it’s what’s best for the students. They need to be given time to process an English question as well as to formulate an answer. Well, I’d officially finished teaching during practicum week! It was time to head to the Pacific Ocean after 5 days of co-planning, observing and teaching.