Sunday, May 9, 2010

An ESL Teacher's Tale - Part 3

Day 1 - PART 3

I return to the classroom with all but the two youngest students, who refuse to come with me. They stay with the secretary. I have five books to hand out; text book, activity book, phonics book, phonics activity book, and a log book. Once they have their books I indicate that they should open their text books to pages 3 & 4. Five minutes later, all the students have opened their books to the correct pages. Using my book as a guide I begin to read the thought bubbles. The students automatically repeat everything I say, they've clearly had much practice at listen and repeat. The listen and repeat goes like this:

Character 1: "Hello"
Character 2: "Hello"
Character 1: "Hi"
Character 2: "Hi"
Character 1: "What is your name?"
Character 2: "My name is Peter. What is your name?"
Character 1: "My name is Suzy."
Character 2: "Nice to meet you Suzy."
Character 1: "Nice to meet you too."

After several read through's, half the students are able to repeat what I say. The other half both sound and look like they are chewing tree bark. If this was baseball, I would be one happy manager. I once again ask individual students what their name is. Four students answer the question, two mumble something that may be English, and the rest just stare at me like I suddenly grew antlers.

I tell them to close their books and get out the phonics book. As I'm writing the letter 'A' on the white board, I hear a commotion behind me and someone saying "teacher, teacher." Turning around, I see half the students pointing at the clock above the door and the other half stuffing their new books into over sized book bags. It is time to go. Thus, my first day with a new beginner class comes to an end.

(to be cont...)

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