Today we were to review the different sports, because our kiddos have a quiz on Thursday. I walked over to the INAM School with Robin, and I told her how abnormally nervous I was to teach today. I’m realizing how unpredictable our lessons can be, and that’s mostly why I was nervous. There are so many distractions and anything can come up. For example, the kids have been coming in and out of class sporadically for the past month because they are going to band practice. This takes precedence over learning time because the band is practicing for the Independence Day Celebrations next week. All I can say is that I can’t wait for the celebrations (which will be a blast) to come and go. Our kids need to be in class and stay in class.
I wanted to tape the lesson with my camera so that I could see what goes well when I teach, and more importantly, what I can work on. As soon as I walked in, I said “Where can I put my camera?” to the kids, while scanning the room for a spot. One of my stronger students, Reynaldo, pointed to the top of the whiteboard. “I don’t want it to fall!” I said, and he just smiled. They didn’t seem to offended or shocked that I would be taping the lesson, but I explained to them what I was doing in any case. After working at my previous school, I learned so much from watching videos of myself, as well as videos of other teachers. I explained to them that I wanted to improve my lessons, set my camera in the back of the room, and pushed the Record Button.
My co-teacher walked in and we got to work. He took role, and before he even finished doing that, three students were already being called for band practice. They left their materials and headed out quickly. Other students paused at the door and asked to come in. In the states, I’m used to teaching in quiet classrooms with minimal distractions coming from the outside. There’s enough inside of the classroom to worry about. Here, it’s the opposite. There aren’t too many behavior issues within the class. The students are mostly compliant and positive. My authority as a teacher hasn’t been challenged very much at all as it definitely would have been in the first few days of class in the U.S.. It’s also because I still have the shock value of being a foreigner that students still don’t feel comfortable testing me out. One thing I’ve learned from teaching is this: the kids will always test you. It’s all about the speed and ways in which you respond to them.
The highlight of the lesson was seeing one of my quieter students, José, speak up and participate more in class. I have only been teaching for two weeks, but both my co-teacher and I have been impressed with his participation. I remember him showing up ten minutes early to my English Youth Group my first week here, and he wouldn’t say more than a sentence the entire time. Even after we prompted him to speak in English, he would only answer in Spanish. I approached him after that I made it clear to him that he had more potential than he thought. It looks like that worked, because today he was naming off as many sports as he could in English, and he was the first student who could identify a verb from a sentence in English!
While I watched the video of the class, I shook my head at myself. Although my goal was to increase the girls’ participation and engagement, I subconsciously stood closer to the more vocal boys on the right side of the room. I looked at them more. Just through my eye contact and proximity to the boys, I wasn’t showing the girls that I believed in them as much. This was something I saw other teachers doing in class, but I never thought that I would be doing the same! On Thursday, I will change these habits so that the girls know I expect just as much from them as I do from the boys.