Procrastination is the thief of time. After some 20 days, finally I'm budged by the higher connection speed in Ange's place to sit down and well... what better things to do on this lazy afternoon than reflecting on everything that I had gone through during my past 10 weeks of teaching practice?
Come to think about it, 20 days is not really a long time but all the lesson plans, school uniforms and even the Federal Highway seem like such a long time ago. When I was teaching, I always made mental notes on things to write, things to say on my blog and to my students. I was so afraid that I will cry on the last day but when the big day finally arrived, I was left with a rather empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. Yes, I was touched by the appreciation shown by the students but Sept 12, the day all final year TESL students looked forward to with bated breath on 7 July was just like any other day. Chee Hwei and I did not not jump up and down jubilantly nor did we weep tears of sorrow.
It was not only on the Monday after the week that the feelings started to sink in. Gosh, not only did I miss my students, my, my, my, I even missed teaching! It felt strange not to be surrounded by those rambunctious young things and sometimes I had to remind myself that it's OK, everything's over and I didn't have to worry about whether the lessons would work out or how the kids will behave on that day.
So, in order to to start my grand scheme of a reflection, I will break it down into parts like this :
I am feelingI certainly miss this bunch of merry makers. It's good that 4C has a blog and I can leave some footnotes there.
RegretI have not much regret for 4A but I feel really, really sorry for 4C because I think I did not teach them well enough, class control was bad at times, lessons not tailored to their interest and ability sometimes. These are the things that I will discuss under Things I Will Do Differently. In spite of it all, they later told me that I was a nice break from their rather strict teacher.
HaPpy!Hehe, I am so happy that I do not have to lug mahjong papers around anymore. You see, my school belongs in the dark ages of technology and it's either they didn't have a desktop in the ADP room or a projector in the classroom or the damn thing is locked and nobody knows how to operate it. And all that hassles and red tapes for a trainee to even borrow one....
Things I might think about differently...Overall, I think I thought about too many things during the whole 10 weeks, what my students think, what the other teachers think, blah, blah, blah. But there are things that I should have thought more of such as ways to be more creative and innovative in the lessons despite the technological shortcomings so that the darlings wouldn't be dozing off.
The other thing that I should have thought of differently is the presumption of my students' previous knowledge. Sometimes, I took them for granted and assumed that they know many things such as what are the nouns, verbs, etc but the fact remains that very few students are aware of such things and to be honest, they don't really need to know which is which for them to practise good English. Besides, I assumed that the proficiency of all of my students are above average but it's still a mixed bunch of abilities in every class. But then again, there are quite a number of the students are really, really very good for their age too.
I have had a few great teachers and I know that teaching is a noble profession. However, I didn't know that teaching can be so cool. We have always complained about students these days who are nothing like the good old times but no matter what, they are still the translucent canvases who are so easy to love and to leave marks behind.
Things that I might do differently...
If given the chance to start all over again, I definitely would want to put my foot down and be more strict with the kids. This is something that I must learn to do effectively. I told them that teacher had turned blind many, many times for turning a blind eye to them not submitting their homework, not paying full attention, etc. I also would want to find a more teacherly way of responding to students' cheeky banter because I tend to be so young at heart to fall into their game sometimes.
On the other hand, I wish I had conducted some games session with them because honestly, I did not really do language games with them. I wish I had spent more time to figure out the types of games that are suitable to be carried out in Form Four classes instead of making sweeping assumption like no, they might think that it's too childish for them. Besides, classroom management and the appropriate teacher personality in conducting games activities are also the skills that I have to pick up.
All in all, the 10 weeks marked the milestone in my journey to be a teacher and it is one of the most wonderful experiences in my life. " To teach is really to learn twice."