Wednesday was the end of our last 6-week term before summer classes. The last day is always pretty hectic because I have to get students' reports done and printed correctly and plan some kind of review lesson that is more fun than usual. Today's blog will just be snapshots of the day's thoughts and occurences...
I really hate making reports. There's no place for me to give a number for effort. This is incredibly unfair for students who try hard but still can't get it right. We're supposed to be as objective as possible when grading, but that's rediculous.
In my first class (Beginners), I was greeted by a student whom I'll call Yonas. He said, "Teacher, your face red!"
I responded, "Well it's very hot outside today."
"But teacher, you look like tomatom."
"What? I think you mean tomato."
"Too-ma-too. Yes! You look like too-ma-too. Spicey too-ma-too!"
The joke's on him...I didn't correct his pronunciation or grammar, heh heh.
Finally, on the LAST day of the term, I got the beginners to to mix and speak without my help. Usually the men and women sit on opposite sides of the room. Being in a mixed-gender class is not normal for them since everything here is segregated. Today I paired the men and women for a speaking activity and they were completely fine with it. I am proud!
In my second and third classes (both Elementary) everyone was very nervous about receiving their reports. Even though I had told most of them that they weren't in danger of failing, they still worried that they might. I usually don't give out reports until the end of class, but I couldn't take much more "Please, Teacher, I must see my marks!" So in the middle of class I gave the reports. Thankfully, no one really complained that they didn't get the grades that they wanted, even the one guy who did fail. Still, some did ask, "Teacher, why you not give me more high marks for speaking? I good speaking, Teacher!"
After I gave out the reports, I had a vocabulary review game planned. Charades. The students always enjoy this game, and I have to say it's fun for me to see them, all adults, laughing like kids and having a good time in my class. But one woman in particular (I'll call her Amani) REALLY loves this game. She usually comes to class, dressed in the traditional black abaya and sheila, with a serious, somewhat tired expression on her face because she suffers from some health problems. But when we play vocabulary games, she transforms. I have seen Amani become "a rock-star", "a butcher", "have a barbecue", "have a haircut", and "fall in love", all in my class. Her team always wins the vocabulary games.
One of the other teachers decided to bet on which teacher would receive the most end-of-term gifts. I lost. I think this is the first term that I haven't received any gifts. BUT all of my students insisted that I must be their teacher for the next term. At the end of class, I practically had to ask them to leave because they just sat in their chairs. And all the ladies kissed my face before they left. I'm not writing this to try and show what a great teacher I am, but because I'm happy that my students felt so loved. That's how I guage my effectiveness as a teacher. If I genuinely care about my students, the teaching and learning will naturally follow.