12/06/2013

Procrastination 2.0: Teaching

Heyyyy, 

I managed to struggle through last week's 4 consecutive exams, although I don't know how - I'm pretty sure I got about 8 hours sleep throughout the whole week. I've already got one of my exam results and I can safely say I've passed one of my modules and got half of the credits I need for this year. Where the other credits are going to come from though, I have no idea. I'm not the best at getting exam results (my stomach's gone all fluttery just thinking about it) so I'm going to move swiftly off the topic until I've finished all of my exams and I've got all of the marks back. Until then, though, I'm going to have to fill the blog another way, which brings me to today's topic... teaching!

As I've mentioned in other posts, I've been teaching English whilst I've been in Spain. Loads of people I know teach in specific English schools or academies, but I don't, I give private classes instead. Why? Because I didn't think it through, when I came to Spain, I had no idea that I'd be able to teach, because obviously I have no particular qualifications except being English and doing an English degree - and doing the first year of an English degree isn't particularly good preparation for teaching English as a foreign language. Anyway, the story of how I fell into teaching: I was out one night, and a girl who was a language assistant in a school (hi, Lisa) was talking to me about teaching, because the English teacher at that school was looking for a native speaker to do some conversation classes with her daughter. The next day I was given her email address and it turned out she had some neighbours who were looking for an English teacher too, so she introduced me to them, and I began teaching their kids as well. 

I only teach on Mondays, not for any particular reason, that's just the day that all the children I teach were free, and I give three classes and each is an hour long. I teach (or taught) children of different levels, a 12-year old girl who is a really fast learner, but had only just started learning the grammatical features of English; a brother (aged 12) and a sister (aged 10), the brother knew the basics of English and his sister didn't know anything, but their mum wanted me to teach them together (I've stopped teaching them now as it was getting to the end of the school year and they had other things to do); and a 13-year old boy who speaks English really well because he'd been on summer camps and to academies when he was younger.

The 10-year old girl made me this because it was our last class.
#bestteacher


Because of their different levels/abilities I had to teach different things and in different ways. For example, with the 12-year old girl, I'd focus specifically on grammar, then ask questions using that grammar as conversation practice. With the brother and sister however, I taught basic nouns and verbs, and then asked the brother to put it into the past tense or future, so he'd be tested too. The 13-year old boy was a different kettle of fish too and with him the classes are more conversation/vocabulary based as he generally understands most grammatical functions in English. 

Doing conversation classes is hard. Harder than teaching in an academy (in my opinion). You have to plan your lessons in advance, and you have to be the judge of what would be an appropriate topic for certain ages and certain abilites, as opposed to being given a curriculum or a text book and being told to teach from that. I equally have to print out and find my own resources, and make sure they're all correct and things. It's hard, man.

Anyway, to sum up this incohesive mess, I like teaching although I didn't choose to do it originally, but it's hard and stressful and I'm not entirely sure whether I'm doing it right. Ah well. 

That's it. I'm going to go and convince myself to revise... at some point in the future. 

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