Today was a good day.
I had my demonstration class, which is where the principal, vice principal and other teachers come watch your class and evaluate your teaching methods. I was very nervous a few days before when I heard that there might be about 10 people watching. Luckily the class was third period, and I also had a second-period class, so there wasn’t much time to get nervous this morning.
My first class went better than expected. A student came to offer me a rice cake that he got while traveling to Japan at the beginning of class. Then the class and activity went well and most kids participated. One thing that has helped immensely in my two worst classes was creating a seating chart. I now have some of the trouble makers right up front where they are less inclined to be noisy since I can catch them so fast. Also, by putting them in a group with some well-behaved students it gives them more motivation to not distract everyone around them. Their group actually has a chance of winning games or competitions, so they like that.
For my demonstration class, the principal and vice principal didn’t even come! There has been a big “incident” at my school this week, so I think they were busy dealing with that. (Hey I said today was a good day, you didn’t expect yesterday to be good too, did you?) More on that soon. But there were six teachers who came, including the head of the English department. The class was also recorded.
Of course, I had handpicked one of the best classes for the demonstration class, but that is standard procedure, I’m told. After the class, the head of the English department told me he thought it was a very interesting lesson and that the main activity was good because it required everyone to participate. The activity was a whisper game, where I and my co-teacher whisper an interest, such as making people laugh, to the last student in every row. Then the students have to whisper it up the row to the first student who writes the job, in this case comedian, on his whiteboard. It works well because everyone has to talk. If someone doesn’t, then the team can’t win, and one thing I’ve learned is these boys want to win.
But my favorite moment of the day was when I introduced a board game to my class that I had made. The students rolled dice to move around the board and had to say “I’m happy to hear that” or “I’m sorry to hear that” based on certain scenarios. There are enough special squares, like return to start or switch places with another player, to keep them interested. They could easily just play the game and not speak English as I can’t constantly monitor seven or eight groups of students, but to my delight, they self monitor themselves. Since they want to win the game and beat their classmates, they don’t let others get away with not speaking English. They also help explain things to those who don’t understand. I saw one student patiently explaining what words meant to his group member every time I stopped by his group. Seeing that I had given students the necessary base to understand the phrases and scenarios well enough to teach them to others was very rewarding. So this is why people like teaching, I thought.