We only have one more week to go, then the new semester is about to start. I had a lunch meeting with my boss and other fellow teachers two weeks ago; I wouldn’t say it was a conference, it was pretty informal. Usually, my boss holds the meeting before a new semester starts. The purposes are informing the new curriculum as well as ideas and suggestions exchange. The office clerk told me that I might gain one or two more new students in my class, the rest of it would stay the same.
I’d like to thank Ms. Aiden Yeh, my instructor in Wen-Zao College and Mr. Terry Doyle, a professor in City College of San Francisco. They both left very positive and encouraging comments in my last posted blog. It is a pity that Aiden is leaving for her PhD in the U.K. Although, some students thought she’s very demanding on their school tasks, I still consider Aiden as the best teacher in Wen-Zao College. I really appreciate that she wrote the points about students’ improvements, “Now that you have implemented several lessons already, I wonder what sorts of learning improvements did you see from your students. Were there any? How did you know that they have improved? What were the signs of improvement?” Those questions made me think of my teaching in the past and how I should adjust the way to improve my students’ learning.
Most of my senior students are retired; they come to community activity center or church to learn something, meet new friends or just for fun. According to my boss’s command, the classes should be interesting and fun; no more any pressure to them (Some of them have high blood pressure already.) Therefore, there are no quizzes; no tests but only fun activities. My class is so called “advanced” level, so they won’t go to the “higher” level class in the program. I have to admit that we don’t have any criteria to classify students’ levels. Even worse, after summer or winter break, a few of them would say they forget what they have learned. As a teacher, I should be more motivated no matter what the learners’ attitudes are.
In the very first class, I would like to have a fun writing activity as a review for my class. A sheet of unfinished story will give every pair of my students. The story goes like that: …The old couple baked a gingerbread man for Christmas. When the gingerbread man jumped out of the oven, it ran away…It wanted to cross the river, but there was a crocodile in the river… (Now, it’s your turn to finish the rest part of the story.) With this practice, I hope I can see how much English they still remember or forget.
In this semester, we would continue studying the reading, some travel English and movie class. Speaking of movie class, I’d like to thank Terry again. He did offer the very practical and fun materials for me. My students found it a little bit difficult, but they were inspired to keep studying more. I do have good relationship with my senior students. Actually, we learn and respect to each other. I like the words that Terry described, “You have warm relationship with your students and the class was joyful.” I like that expression. I suppose Terry also has a wonderful class; as I can see he is a very caring and warm teacher too. I’m expecting his blog or any stuff he is creating in the near future.
Cindy R Shih