Practice Makes Perfect

In Bangalore this week, the bus drivers’ strike has significantly impacted our teaching week. The bus drivers in the area are protesting for higher wages which forced the schools to close their doors for a few days. I am on my third day of holiday as a result and have been counting down the hours until I can see my students again. The silver lining to all this free time is that it has given me a chance to reflect on the teaching that I have done thus far.
My first official lesson was a reading lesson last week. My host teacher showed me the story I would teach the day before and sent me back home with materials to prepare. After reading through the story multiple times, I realized I wasn’t very fond of it. However, I was determined to still make the lesson fun and try to work in some deep thinking into my lesson. The story involved good karma, I wanted to engage the students by having them share a time when because of a good deed they did, something positive happened to them in turn. I had prepared a personal example to get the students thinking. When I arrived in class and tried this activity with the students, it didn’t get the response I had hoped for. The students were not able to come up with any personal examples of a time where they had been positively affected by good karma. I still am unsure if this aspect of my lesson didn’t go well because students are not used to this type of thinking and making connections or if the connection I wanted them to make was too specific. Either way, I think I learned a valuable lesson about improvising when a lesson plan doesn’t go how you expect.
Later that day, I had a very impromptu opportunity to teach a grammar lesson to a group of first standard students. The lesson was about the articles a and an before nouns. For this lesson, I was thrown into it so I had absolutely no planning. I engaged the students in a refresher on vowels and consonants and how that helps us to distinguish which article to use. I made it interactive by letting the students yell out vowel or consonant as they identified which one a word started with. The students caught on very quickly to using a and an. Even though the classroom got noisy, I was really pleased with the student learning that occurred.
Looking back, I don’t think I have a concrete reason why my one lesson flopped and the other one went off without a hitch. However, I do think both my successes and failures in teaching here has significantly helped my growth as a teacher.

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