After the false start on Monday, the school took off over the course of the rest of the week. I’m scheduled to teach 21 hours, but right now I only have 10 hours because the Senior 4 students do not arrive for a few more weeks. I’m really glad I don’t have the full course load yet. I’m focusing on trying to get a feel for things with the limited hours and need to get four different schemes of work done.
My first lessons were just introductions. I brought in my US map, showed some pictures, and did a survey to gauge how much about computers the students already know. I’m starting to teach lessons with actual content, beginning with Microsoft Excel with Senior 5 and Files/Folders with Senior 3. After only a few real lessons, I’m still struggling to figure out how much material to cover in one class. Since I have to split my time between the classroom and computer lab because of limited resources, do I try to cram in a lot of notes to maximize computer time, or do I move slower but sacrifice some practice time? I need to feel out a good balance over the next few lessons.
Some other problems I’m running across are related to the curriculum. For example in Senior 4 English, I’m expected to teach them Romeo and Juliette. That’s hard for native English speakers let alone for non-native speakers! Unfortunately, the other teacher teaching Senior 4 is teaching it, so I don’t feel I can skip over that unit.
In Senior 5 ICT, the first unit on the curriculum is the internet. The government somehow expects all my students to create a website. Keep in mind I have 40 students per class and only 4 computers and 1 modem. Yeah, not happening. Sorry, students.
My school is a training center for future teachers, and some of the teachers are college students doing their practicum. One of these teachers was complaining to me that he doesn’t feel comfortable training students to become teachers when he hasn’t fully completed the training himself. Other teachers have raised concerns about not having adequate books and materials to teach students. And teaching in a foreign language is always the biggest issue.
After a month with nothing to do, my days sure got busy really quickly! In between classes, I try to split my time between the teacher’s lounge and my room. I want to socialize and get to know my fellow teachers, but I get more work done at my desk in my room. I’m still giving a few English/computer lessons to friends on the side, and some clubs are gearing up to start in the very near future.
My headmaster put me in charge of making an English club, and the students have already requested that meetings start next week. I had the head boy bring me a list of all the interested students so I could get a head count. Eighty students have signed up, but I expect to add even more once the Senior 4 students arrive!
A community counterpart is planning on starting a GLOW club and a BE club at my school that I’m going to help out with. I’ve told him he’s in charge of that club and I’ll just be there to help out. I’ve got enough on my plate at the moment.
Lastly, some students have requested I open the computer lab to them after school and over the weekends so they can get extra practice. Today I opened the lab to a few boys for an hour and half so they could practice using Word and Excel, but by the end we were just talking about American music and movies and looking at Google Earth. It was fun hanging out and getting to know them better.
Although I’m slightly intimidated by all the work, I am grateful that the majority of my students are very curious and eager to learn. I would rather have these kids begging me to start a ton of clubs than have students who are disengaged and bored!