Sorry it has taken me so long to write a blog, life here in India is busy but I will be better next time!
I thought I was time to update everyone on my teaching and what it is I am actually doing here 🙂 I have now fully got into my routine and am getting into the swing of teaching. Although when I think about my life here I still think its crazy how only 5 months ago I was sat behind a desk being taught and now I stand in front of at least 30 kids (usually more like 40 – 50) in each class being solely responsible for their learning.
I teach an age range from about 2 1/2 to 11 years old. I am teaching Spoken English or Grammar to two nursery classes (aged 2 1/3 – 4), two Lower Kindergarten class (aged 4-5), two Upper Kindergarten classes (aged 5-6), one first classes (aged 6-7), two second classes (age 7-8) and one third class (aged 8-9), two four classes (aged 9-10) and one fifth classes (aged 10- 11)! I have all of these classes multiple times throughout the week so I’m shattered!
Teaching, for both me and my partner at least, has been and is an emotional roller coaster. Some lessons are great and you come out feeling amazing. One that comes to mind is a recent 5th class lesson; it annoyed me that everyone I asked “How are you?”, the only response from I got was “I am fine”. So I spent a lesson teaching new and more interesting ways of answering, I now have kids coming up to me and saying “I am amazing” or “I am fantastic!”. But others aren’t as good and I often end up struggling with behavioural management.
Classroom management for the younger pupils is something I am struggling with. This is partly due to their limited English and my lack of Telugu, and also because they know that neither Catherine or I will beat them which is the only punishment they have here. And giving out my two stickers of the lesson to the pupils that behaved the best in the lesson (or as they now refer to them as “silent stickers”) isn’t doing the trick. However my older students (aged between 7-11) love these rewards. As soon as I get the stickers out all bums are in their chairs, fingers on lips and the room is finally quiet. They all want a sticker and will do anything for one! If you have any advice on how to stop 4 and 6 year olds going crazy in class, let me know!
On the other hand, it has definitely made me more creative. I have to figure out how to keep the young ones on track so they don’t get to distracted and cause havoc. One thing that is so simple but they love is writing the answer in the board, once they see me hand a student who answered correctly the chalk all hands go up for the next answer.
I have been basing my teaching around positive encouragement as there are limited ways I can punish children for being naughty, so I choose to focus on all of the good things the children are doing. Kids now run up to me with their boards to show me how much they have done so I can write “well done” or their favourite draw a star at the bottom!
There are some other challenges I face when teaching, for example in two of my classes there are autistic children, which do not get the right help or attention that they need. Which I also struggle to help with as I also have the rest of the class to teach and manage, so I have found small activities for them to do by themselves which I can come and help and check on whilst the other students are working. Which is not a perfect solution, but it is better than before when they just caused distractions to everyone as they couldn’t do the work. But it is also great as when they have completed it the look on their faces says it all as they are so proud to have got it right.
All in all, teaching is tough and when I think about all of the education I have had I am so grateful but at the same time I have a new respect for all of my old teachers. But the feeling of satisfaction you get when a kid finally is able to do what you have been working on is just amazing. My favourite memory of this is from my younger nursery class who are still learning how to write the alphabet (they are only 2 1/2!). One boy was really struggling with the letter ‘A’ and the first time he wrote it by himself I was so happy for him and because he could see how proud I was of him went and showed all the other teachers. So whilst it is a challenge it is the most worthwhile one.