Monday, December 12, 2011

My very own "Mind Your Language"

It's been a week since I met my two classes (Intermediate & Pre-Intermediate). My students hail from all over the world - literally, namely Angola, Brazil, Columbia, Turkey, France, Italy, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Ivory Coast, Canada, Taiwan, Vietnam, Egypt, Belarus and Yemen! I'm rather proud of myself that I know all student's names - which, of course, sounds very exotic to my South African ears!

My two morning classes (focusing on General English) is 90 minutes long. Sounds like a long class, but in fact, I wish it were longer. Conversation seems to snowball in the class and interesting debates have ensued over the past few days.

The past week has taught me so much, especially how we, as native English speakers take the language for granted. What we regard as "basic" or "everyday" words actually seem to be problem areas for some of my students.

The topics covered so far have been Business and Health. This week, my Intermediate class is studying the unit on Design, while my Pre-Intermediate class is focusing on the Natural World. For each lesson that I prepare, I'm learning just as much as what I'm teaching my students. Sometimes I feel like I'm back at school with the Grammar aspect of it. I must be honest, though - it's not as grueling as I thought it would be...yet!

Some of my friends have joked around saying that I sound like "Mr Brown" from the old British sitcom, Mind Your Language. Honestly speaking, I do feel like Mr Brown - without the intense classroom fighting and minus the pompous principal, Ms Courtney!

Mr Brown & his colourful students in Mind Your Language
Speaking of which, I work with a fantastic bunch of people. Each teacher brings something very special to the staff room.  Many have either traveled extensively or have had several years experience in this industry, making the work environment a very stimulating place to work in. There's always some kind of interesting conversation happening - whether it's about books, theater, teaching methods or lesson idea's.

Everyday when I leave a classroom, I take a bit of my students with me. I love that even though I'm a teacher, I'm learning from them - about their respective countries and cultures - every single day.

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