There was a light cascade of snow to complicate and complement my early morning walk to the bus stop. Its drops were so fine only the light from the streetlamps illuminated it. Rather than get bogged down in thoughts of snow, weather, climate change, and global warming, I just put my head down and proceeded to the stop. It was already a Monday morning, and I just didn’t want it getting any more Monday-ish.
As an ESL teacher, Monday classes are the X-factor. The students might have had an exciting (but tiring) weekend or they might have had a boring weekend. Neither of these things is guaranteed to lead to easier teaching. They might have done their homework or they might have “forgotten to do it.” They might be homesick. They might be experiencing their own personal “Monday.” There might be new students who graduated from a lower level in the class, which might totally change the dynamics and the rhythm of the class. There are many factors.
As a teacher my strengths are my creativity and passion. I don’t follow a list of master lessons that I have made. Every time I teach something it is different, or at least different in some form, from the last time. Sometimes it works and sometimes it fails because I forgot to work out the kinks in something or because I failed to consider something or because I overcomplicated the activity and didn’t spend enough time thinking about the directions I was going to have to give.
Currently my most challenging class is my Elementary writing class. It has students who are true elementary and beginner students mixed with some people who have improved their English and have changed levels to intermediate. I started this class in late December and some of the students are still the same. If I repeat something that we did four months ago–which would benefit the elementary students–the “veterans” groan and say that we have already done it.
Having had a bit of time today to prepare, I went into class armed with a new idea. It would work for both the elementary and the pre-intermediate students–at least that is what I told myself. I have already explained that I am creative. What I haven’t explained is that not all of my ideas are usually fully formed. They usually need to be tested and tweaked a few times before I can feel complete confidence. A great idea on paper may not always survive the transfer to real life.
The long and short of it is that I had the time to really consider my plan before teaching it. I won’t bore you with the details but it involved me getting the students to write a story as a group by proposing information, forming it into paragraphs, presenting the information and doing a last minute correction of their story. My execution of the plan was quite good and I am confident that it worked well for the beginners and the intermediates.
You’ve read the paragraphs and you’ve probably concluded with me that Today’s Perfect Moment is the development and execution of my lesson plan. Indeed it is.