Tuesday, March 30

My first time teaching

Yeah Yeah I know ... teaching AGAIN. But it's the teaching month now, since our teaching practice starts in a week.

Yesterday I was teaching for the first time. I was nervous, I couldn't sleep, I didn't know if my lesson plan was ok, I felt like I would run out of time, I was afraid pupils wouldn't talk at all, I was afraid of more or less everything. (Although my menthor, whom I only met through e-mail, was very encouraging: "Don't worry, everything will be fine".)

Thanks to heterogeneous groups type of lessons they have at that school (they make 3 smaller groups from the usual 2) there was only 15 pupils at my lesson yesterday. They were nice, they were standing up until I greeted them, they sat down and waited. I started with my lesson and they were surprisingly cooperative. They answered my questions, they did what I told them to do and to my horror we were done with the "theoretical" part of the lesson in 20 minutes! Ooops ... Well in the end that wasn't really that bad because they needed some more time to do the practical part.

You see, my topic were 2 formal text forms: bill form and order form. Pretty dull topic, I know. They knew everything in theory but they had some problems when they had to fill them in so I think 25 minutes for doing that wasn't too much.

Of course I had to deal with some special people - they are 15 now so I guess you can imagine what that means. Teenagers: extra hormones and extra I-wanna-be-noticed thing. :)

To sum up, I think I did ok, regarding the topic that was pretty boring. It was, after all, my first time. :) Now I'm a bit more motivated and I'm going to start writing lesson plans for my teaching practice right now! :)


Thursday, March 25


I have problems with sharing.

You see, at our faculty (and probably everywhere else) it's usual that every new generation of students of a certain major creates an e-mail account so that the teachers can send us meterials and the students share everything we have. It works in theory! Or, to be honest, the teacher part works. When it comes to students it just doesn't.

I can't understand it! I typed my Slovene literature II notes last year and at the end of the semester I sent that file to our e-mail for everyone to have. I did the same with this year's 1st semester's Slovene literature III notes. I sent my papers, I sent my presentations, I sent useful things I found online, I sent study materials I made for myself. No problem. Do you know what happens next? I send an e-mail asking for some notes I didn't have and ... no one answered.

And that's not all! In the last few months it happened that someone just deleted some files, for example the list of literature we need for some exam. I mean, you just can't be that rude and competitive.

Especially now, when we are preparing for our teaching practice. We made an agreement to send our lesson plans to other people but guess what happened again! There were exactly 3 plans sent and only two of them aren't mine.

It really makes me so angry. There are 60 people and only few of them are selfless enough to share. Why couldn't we all benefit from everyone's work?


Wednesday, March 24

Tutoring problems

A student has to earn her living. So I tutor. I tutor 2 girls with a lot of difficulties with English language. One of them is really a tough case. With regular once-a-week tutoring she scored 27 percent on her test and a week later, after an urgent tutor weekend she scored 32 percent. I gues I'll have to try harder.

This particular problem is about my 11 year old sister whom I help with her English homework and studying from time to time. She contacts me during the week and I can tell you... tutoring over the phone or over Gmail chat is messy. Yesterday she was asking me all the time: "What does this word mean? How do you say this word in English?" I was a bit sick of it so I told her she has 3 different dictionaries and she's old and intelligent enough to look those word up.

"But, but .... "
"Look them up!"

A few hours later she called me because she didn't know what to do with her homewor. She had those weird words "present simple" written in her notebook and a list of some more weird words. "What is present simple??" It's a tense my dear. And those words are verbs. You have to use them in a sentence.

"PLAYS. What goes with plays? He, she ot it. You got that one right. What does this "she" play? Basketball. Ok. Now write that down." And then I heard her typing.

- "Are you typing your homework?
- "No, I'm checking it in a dictionary."
- "Amm.. first of all, dictionaries don't translate sentences and second of all .... don't you know what "she", "play" and "basketball" mean??"
- "Yeah but ... you said I have to look it up."
- "Not if you already understand it!!"
- "Oh... I thought that was a bit weird ... "

You see ... I have problems with tutoring. That's because I demand a bit of common sense! I think I should kidnap her and take her to a 3-weeks "I-can-think-with-my-own-head" camp! :)


Monday, March 22

2 weeks until teaching practice!

Ugh ... I'm so nervous.

I've had English language didactics and Slovene language didactics courses for 5 months now but I still feel like I know NOTHING. And even if I do, all that theory doesn't help much.

On Friday I went to the school to see my menthors and talk things over. I prepared myself: I bought a new notebook especially for this purpose. I wrote down all the questions and I printed all the materials and forms I needed. I got up at 7am, I had my breakfast, freaked because I didn't have anything nice to wear because I just came home from uni and had to wash most of my clothes... and when I finally found something I dressed up and sat down. And I was sitting for another 2 hours because my meeting was at 10am. Did I mention I was nervous?

However, I went there expecting having a loooong talk about all the details because I probably expected everyone were so excited about it as I was. Well I was wrong. My Slovene language teacher menthor was so relaxed and friendly, she just gave me a pile of textbooks, reference book for teachers and some comfort and encouragement. She also said she would involve me in other activities like pupils' journalism club, individual help for pupils with special needs and so on and on. So far so good. She was "sympathetic" which was exactly what I needed.

On the other hand my other menthor, the English language teacher is a bit older and more experienced. She was nice too, but she didn't really know what there was to talk about. :D Any questions, anything unclear? Yeah, for example HOW DO I DO THIS?? :)

I know it probably sounds ridiculous and overreacting but that's how I feel about it right now, going into the unknown - a classroom full of crazy mean little kids! :) I am nervous. My friend, who already had her first teaching experience said she felt like she was going to die, but after the first few minutes she relaxed and everything went smoothly. You just have to start. I really hope that's true.

Every beginner needs motivation. I bought myself some. It was my new notebook which just couldn't be more appropriate for the occasion. Words of encouragement waiting for me every time I look at it. :)

Wish me luck! :)