And only 2 days to go to Istek Schools International ELT Conference2011. I remember last year. It was such a big excitement to wait for the event. I met most of my PLN there and had the chance to chat and enjoy every break. It was not just a conference. I had great fun out of it.
I used to love conferences because they provided an opportunity to brush up my teaching or retrieve the things I had forgotten. Still I love conferences because of the same reasons and plus I also enjoy them for the fun I have with my global PLN.
My workshop will be on Saturday at 13:30 and I do feel so sorry because I won’t be able to attend some of the workshops I really want to attend. However, it is a relief to know that they will also be at IATEFL where I will just listen and learn from them.
Since Sunday I’ve been reading posts about my friends’ blogs. I couldn’t attend any of the Virtual Round Table sessions but I tried to catch something. Dave Dodgson in his presentation challenged us to make a word cloud from our blogs. Today I couldn’t resist the challenge and created my blog’s poster. As I can’t view wordle anymore, I created it with worditout.
As my friends, I’m also happy with the content and if I write a paragraph out of my word cloud, it will be like this:
It was a Friday afternoon and the kids were very tired so to cheer them up, the teacher told them they would listen to Beatles songs while writing their stories or poems. ‘Poems and stories’ the kids shouted in despair but the teacher was smiling happily thinking the challenge she made 🙂
It all started with the reading text in our course book called ‘Boys R Us’, Going for Gold, Upper-int. (Longman)
The story was about a teenager who was a reluctant student but changed when a teacher assigned them to write a 20 page- story in 2 months. The teenager went home and wrote his 20 story and soon realised it was just the beginning of the actual story and in the end there was a novel on the teacher’s desk.
After reading and doing the comprehension exercises, we talked about the text, challenge and the result. They said they loved the idea. Then suddenly I realised I loved the idea very much too and told them they had a new challenge and two months to write a story of 20 pages.
The thing which made me write this post was not the challenge I described above. It was an attitude of a very special student I have in the class. He is very kind, eager and motivated. He has loads of problems with his English and no help at home: however, he tries his best to overcome all the obstacles.
OK now I’m telling why I decided to write this. On Friday he came next to me with a notebook in his hand and said he wanted to show me something as he needed some advice. He said he started writing the story and felt something was missing so he surfed on the net and found some ideas on how to write a story, develop ideas, etc. He showed me his plans, character definitions, setting, event and I just felt very proud. I was amazed at his motivation. I praised him and told him that the thing he had been doing was just the thing I wanted them to do. I told him I knew I didn’t guide them well and I would hand them a checklist the following handout tomorrow
I don’t know what I’ll end up with but I’m planning to have a story compilation book of my students.
This post is written for Shelly Terrell’s #30 goals challenge.
It was some years ago. I had the prep classes then which means I had 12 hours with the class to teach grammar. The students I had that year were the laziest or the most demotivated ones in my teaching career.
They didn’t have the habit of studying, no responsibility for school work. They were like 10 year-old kids although they were 14 and 15.
Most of the times I was angry and I was feeling we were going nowhere.
I remember spending nights to find a way but the first term ended in a total failure.
Then suddenly I realised there were things I could do.
We had a reading text on music and Beatles and I found out they knew nothing about the group so I told them we would work on a project on that Friday afternoon. I assigned them to research Beatles and bring as many things as they could to the class.
On Friday afternoon, I entered the class with colourful cardboards, pens some Beatles pictures (just in case they didn’t bring), my Beatles CDs (those were the days we had no wireless in class and also no YouTube), packets of crisps, plastic cups and plates and coke to drink. I told them it would be an edible Beatles afternoon and while working in groups they ate, drank, chatted and listened to Beatles songs. The fun they had was immense. Their posters looked gorgeous then we put all th0se Beatles posters on the corridor walls for the others to read.
From that day on we had fun Friday afternoons to create new posters on different subjects.
Some of them were more eager to do something. I remembered a colleague advising us to praise the kids before criticising them and that was it actually. I mainly criticized those kids without trying to praise them. Then slowly I said how they were improving themselves and then challenged them. If any of them got a better mark than his/her previous test, I’d take them to drink coffee with me at one of the bookstores cafes. ( not only the highest mark, I encouraged even a slight progress)
In the bookstore, we really had great time having our tea and coffee and then spent some time examining the books on the shelves and they really loved the idea. I realised they enjoyed chatting with me. Me… a teacher, a former foe. On the way home, one of them asked ‘what will be the next challenge, teacher?’
The next challenge?
I wasn’t prepared for that and told them I’d tell in the class.
The next challenge was a traditional 5 o’clock tea at my home. I made them scones, finger sandwiches and a sponge cake.
We had so much fun that year till the end of the term.
Of course for the edible afternoon and the going-outs, I asked the principal and their parents.
At the end of the term, they wrote a sketch and performed to their parents. From the entrance of the school to the auditorium, we stuck the posters they created on the walls to direct the guests to the venue and they were so proud of themselves that day.
Some of these kids dropped out of school the next year unfortunately. Yet I hear they are doing quite well to survive. Some others managed to graduate and some of them won the university entrance exam and they are studying now.
I sometimes meet them at that bookstore buying books.
They still call me or sometimes they DM on face book to inform what they are doing.
Those kids were actually my challenges. While I was challenging them, they helped me to enter their lives and find a way to do my job. I learned from them that a teacher should never give up. Success is a relative concept. Some of those kids had problems at home, some had poor primary backgrounds and even a little progress is a success in some cases.
Last but not least, the lesson I got from this experience: Food and music can open all the doors 😉
Just found this poem ‘The colour of my dreams’ by Peter Dixon while searching for something else in my files and I thought it would be lovely to take it to staff room to think once again on success rates, even to the classroom to make students realise there are different types of learners and the ones they are bullying without realising have a wonderful world in their dreams. Then I found the song of the poem. I have no classes today but will think what I can do with it in the classroom.