Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It's my responsibility

I was prepared to teach the unit on "Medicine" with grammar points and listening exercises. I could instantly feel that the energy levels weren't to my satisfaction. Some students sat there, clearly preoccupied. It didn't take long before the energy affected others in the class.

After I set them off on their first speaking activity, I could see that it was going nowhere.

"Do you trust me?" I asked my class.
"Yes, of course," they replied.

"You know that nothing I do with you will be a waste of your time, right?" I asked.
They nodded.

"Please close your books and clear your desk. You only need a piece of paper," I instructed.
They followed my instructions.

And so...using the same picture as I did with my group yesterday, I gave them 10 minutes to write about whatever emotions were evoked when they saw this.

From Google Images
Some students wrote vigorously. Others sat tapping their pencil on the desk. Paper, blank. I refused to believe that their minds were blank, too. If anything, it was the opposite.

I paused next to one of my solemn-looking students. I could see he was battling. We looked at the picture again. Slowly, I could see him opening up and he started to see beyond the surface. It wasn't planned that my students would stand up and present their pieces with the rest of us, but it turned out to be a really good exercise. Some students spoke with a lump in their throat, while others showed a much softer side to themselves.

I sat there in awe. Beaming with pride. When the class was over, they admitted that their hearts felt lighter.

One of my students, Mohi, happened to be in my office just after my class. I shared what happened in my class with him. He noted that I was very sensitive about my students and their feelings.

"How can I not be?" I asked him.

I thought about this further during the day.

How am I possibly meant to teach (anything) when my students sit in front of me looking and feeling listless. With their minds preoccupied, far far away, of course it affects me, their teacher. I may as well not teach anything.

I sometimes need to break through to them before even attempting any kind of activity. Whether I do this by means of a joke or a short piece of music, it is by all means, my responsibility to ensure that they are fully with me during my lesson.
Anyway, just wanted to shared that today...
Hope YOU had a great day!

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