On Monday a new class was formed of pupils from various classes and some who have not attended for a long time, being named The Penguins which was a name previously used but not currently. This was because they were moving up to the secondary school, consequently the timings clashed and I was asked if I wanted to teach them.
Within the class of nine, three of the thirteen year old girls were extremely confident, the three boys who had not been attending were very quiet and there was also Raksmey who said he was twenty two but in reality probably twenty one, looking absolutely shell shocked, and he appeared to be unable to speak. It felt as if we were all being thrown in at the deep end and although I was outwardly appearing in control I was just as scared! I had no books for them and no handover from their previous teachers (I did access some information later in the week) but I did have Lena, my interpreter for the Gryffindors.
So I started with my name is, what’s your name, how old are you and proceeded to try and find out more about them. When I asked how long have you been learning English, one of the girls said a year and as I went round the class it was always a year so I laughed, then we all laughed and so off we went hopefully on the right foot!
On my third lesson with them I decided that I wanted to use the outside area and despite the lively girls preferring the classroom we are now settled.
My worry is Raksmey but he has been coming every day and I have created more of a balance now between the different personalities. Slowly slowly seems to have worked and he will now repeat words if I say them first. So my biggest challenge is to keep stretching the girls whilst not leaving the boys behind.
This is a photograph of the Penguins, taken by Lena, and when I looked at it I was worried as they looked so sombre but it has since been explained to me that unless you make them laugh they will always be serious for photographs as they automatically perceive a photograph to be formal. My hand is on Raksmey’s shoulder.
The Gryffindors are continuing to make progress, for one of the conversation homeworks every hand was up to speak in front of the class, myself and Anna were euphoric! They are also taking it in turns to read the story books that I have given them and are now happy to attempt words that they do not know and they are definitely more confident in asking the meaning of words. There is no doubt that working with Anna is advantageous, we improvise and change content if it is unsuitable. No one had heard of James Bond but I have asked Martin if it would be possible to show them a film on a laptop, I am not sure if it will be practical but we will see.
Some of us recently sat round a laptop and watched The Killing Fields with Jason adding to the commentary as several of his family were killed at that time (which is how I came up with the idea).
I wanted to try the outside area for lessons, explaining to them that after the lesson we would take a vote and go with the majority. They did not understand what a vote was so it was a useful exercise. Although it is dark towards the end of the lesson and all the mosquitos come out to play, the majority voted to stay outside so that’s where we will be from now on. To be honest the light inside was no better anyway.
This is a photograph of the Gryffindors working and with the mini bus driver who arrived early for us on Friday evening! He speaks no English but is a lovely man, I asked him if he wanted to learn English via Lena and he laughed and said that he had just wanted to come and say hello!