… and usually paved with the crushed hopes and dreams of children.
We jest of course. If there’s one thing we can say about The School we are working in it’s that we wish British education was this interesting and engaging.
After a full week (Wednesday to Sunday) of observing and interfering in lessons, we have at least an idea of what we’re going to be doing.
Lessons last an hour and a half, which sound really daunting but actually fly by. In the first lesson the students pick an English name, which can sometimes be really interesting (Dolphin, Angel, Tony Stark, Dragon), and that they keep throughout their lives – or at least throughout their time at The School. These they write on the board to gain points during the lesson which eventually equate to “dollars”. Following this, the English activities are really exciting – whether they’re for 4 year olds or 14 year olds – we have had such fun getting involved with the students and finding out about heir lives, interests, hopes, and dreams.
Whilst we’ve got a few challenges learning Americanisms, and memorising the finer scientific points of grammar, there has been a mountain of support in the form of our co-workers, physical resources, and some really thorough workshops. If the biggest irk we have come across is the teaching of “mail carrier” instead of “postman”, and the spelling of “color”, and “favorite”, we actually have a sweet deal here.
Although the pronunciation varies between English teachers according to their accent, we’ve found that the students are wise to many different dialects and therefore don’t struggle as much as they might. And seeing a group of four year olds imitate a thick Canadian accent is utterly adorable.
One of the more interesting aspects of our work is The School’s ethos to provide a Western sense of professionalism and customer service. Also important to them is the development of the students sense of curiosity and confidence to explore ideas outside of the classroom.
And so concludes our first week of training. Next week we start to co-teach lessons and begin to get to know a few of the classes we will be taking over in week 3. Nervous doesn’t do it justice; even though we’re terrified, we realise that we couldn’t really be in a better place.