The Gryffindors

On Monday during the day, I sat in with the younger children. At one point as I was in a classroom alone, several children arrived, sat down and opened their books! I looked outside and couldn’t see anyone so I began teaching them and I asked them individually to write one spelling from their last test on the board. They were so attentive and happy, I was really enjoying myself. Twenty minutes later, one of the volunteers arrived to take the class and it was just that they had all arrived early, so they all trundled out to the other classroom!
In the afternoon Martin (second in charge) during our induction, asked me if I would like to sit in with The Gryffindors -Jason (director) had been teaching them but had passed the class to Lena, an interpreter, who did not wish to teach. I knew at that moment that this was the class for me as they were an older group and I thought that I would be able to utilise all my skills with them.
It was torrential rain early on Monday evening and only three pupils came, apparently they work in the paddy fields if it’s raining as it is the best time to replant the rice. The average mark from the previous Friday spelling test was 4/20 so I knew that I had my work cut out. Lena was pushing me to do the next ‘grammer point’ which was tenses but I explained that I would spend some time getting to know them and assessing each pupils level of ability.
On Tuesday ten pupils came to class. I asked each one to write their names on a coloured card that I now produce each lesson and it helps me as I know if there is no name card that they are new (to me).
I felt inspired when I spotted a clock on the wall as I had been racking my brain wondering where to start! I asked one of the boys to tell me the time in English and he couldn’t so that’s where I began…how ironic that we should start with time as I told them that I was going to be their teacher for three months and that we were going to make the very best of the time, concentrating on their confidence and helping them to speak English so that they could get jobs in the future.
Each pupil came to the front of the class and I asked them simple questions, one of the questions was what work does your family do? It was answered that their families are farmers (they have been taught by the school that although they are subsistence farmers, growing enough to feed themselves, they are farmers and not (‘doing nothing’). It has aided their self respect.
The age range, so far seems to be between thirteen and seventeen years old, some do not know their birthday; they just get one year older at the end of every year. They were all interested in how old I am but they ask everyone that question (or so I am told!).
It was obvious that they found it difficult speaking English and that their understanding was at different stages. Instinctively I knew then that I had to earn their trust to enable them to let go of their fears.
So bravely we moved on together and started to tackle the ‘grammer point’.
On Thursday I had thirteen pupils, an assortment of previous and new. We reviewed the ‘grammer point’ – present simple, present continuous and other verbs. Headway is not the easiest of programmes to follow.
Lena asked if I could manage without him as he wanted to meet his father, but now I had Janet to assist me and we worked on the lesson plan together.
I was apprehensive as to how it would all come together but there was no need to be as it was brilliant. They had all done their homework and were so joyous. It was a pleasure for me and I had a real feeling of purpose.
Humour, I have discovered is their forte and we already have a banter going on!
Finally today we have had a storm almost overhead prior to the lesson but I had four pupils come. It went well and I gave them a test with a promise of games next week, although it’s almost dark at half past five here!
Well that’s about it for my first teaching week folks!



4 thoughts on “The Gryffindors

  1. Kath

    Hi Irene I am really enjoying reading your blog. Sounds a real challenge one that you will fulfill no body will doubt you. Keep up the creative good work that you are doing love Kath xx



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