The end of the semester is winding down with both my graduate classes and my preschool/elementary/adult classes at work. This week I have a few papers which, perhaps luckily, I must complete tonight as this week is parent observation week in my afternoon classes. Observations make me nervous though I learned at my job before this that they have the potential to be really helpful. This week's lesson is pretty simple: do a few workbook pages then make a Christmas card. Not exactly thrilling for tired parents in the late afternoon but at least I am honest. The teacher before believed that actions spoke louder than words (lots of Total Physical Response) and never did any of the things I do with the kids like bingo games or letter puzzles or crafts. I hope the parents see that it isn't just a big pile of messy construction paper that their children achieve but that they completed the lesson by listening to the instructions in English. Also, for the littles, craft is excellent for building their fine motor skills. Since employing craft in my classes, the handwriting of even my three year olds has improved. I spent the morning cleaning the classroom and making slight improvements (covering up some unused but unable-to-86 toys with this cute American Jane fabric in blue) and preparing for the first round of Christmas cards. I wish I had taken before pictures of the classroom but I will try to take some classroom photos later this week, maybe with the kids in action. I realize I must really be becoming a teacher when I want to boast about my classroom but the transformation in my eyes is incredible. When I arrived there were papers from teachers up to five years ago, not important, informative papers but scraps of unnecessary paper that no one had bothered to throw away. This litter was stuffed into every nook and cranny. A cluttered room equals a cluttered mind and in an English class with young learners, any distraction is a deadly for a lesson. There were also lots of unused materials and games that the former teachers for the past few years had deemed over the students' heads and yet I use successfully on a regular basis. I am not trying to suggest I possess a superior ability but rather have to express my bewilderment over how people can so often underestimate the power and potential of the human mind. For children, the language barrier is more of a river that they are learning to swim across and our role is to help their journey.
But speaking of cluttered minds, it is time to get the kids to pick up and lay our futons out. Hope you are well.