Getting Through

still a favourite image of mine when I write about teaching.

Today’s Perfect Moment, this time, comes from my teaching day. I spend quite a bit of time encouraging the students as well as teaching them things. This comes in the form of feedback, and comes in the form of little reminders. I hope they are listening, but sometimes, I think they really don’t believe me. (And, yes, sometimes they aren’t even listening to me.) However, two recent comments from students leads me to believe that I might be getting through to some of them.

The first was from a student who found herself alone in what was supposed to be a class of about 7 students online. I guess the others were too tired to wake up for class. We proceeded with the lesson, but because there were fewer questions and fewer group chatting oppourtunities, (as in none) we had time to explore other topics. My student told me that she was reading an English book. I am always happy to hear this. I love books and reading and I think it is quite a good way of improving one’s language skills. She is reading the first Harry Potter book and she is almost done. She has already bought the next two volumes and is excited to start the next one. The thing that makes it the Perfect Moment is that she told me the more she read the easier it got. She felt good that she was reading something, and that she could understand it without going to the dictionary. I could see by the smile on her face how happy she was.

The other moment was a little more unusual–maybe a little Meta. My class was covering participle clauses. I don’t think this is a terribly difficult topic despite how it appears on the page. However, getting students to use it outside of the classroom is quite difficult, so I usually start with recognition. If they can see it being used, and if they can understand how it avoids repetition, then maybe it is something that will stick with them.

After tackling this task, a bright student called me over and mentioned that I seemed to use participle clauses a lot in my blog. I had told my students that they could read my blog and ask me questions about it if they wanted. In a class of 15 students, usually only one or two even bother to check it out, and only a few a year read it with any frequency. I was quite happy that she noticed and we talked about why I tended to use it so much. She seemed to get it and maybe I have a new reader.

Teaching can be very rewarding, but I want the students to feel rewarded as well. These two Perfect Moments make me think I am on the right track.

About Anthony

I am: equal parts rebel, romantic and shockingly average Joe. a writer trapped inside of an ESL teacher's body. an introverted attention seeker. a teacher who hopes one day to be called "Captain, my Captain." an intellectual who can do some very dumb things. a person whose Japan experience, despite being so long ago, still exerts a strong influence upon him. a lover of books, music, beer, hockey and Pizza.
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