Yesterday I was chatting to another teacher about everything, nothing and all things in-between (something?) and somehow this ended up including my best teaching moments of the last year. It was a great sharing experience so I thought I’d write a post with them here and Invite you to do the same.
So, here we go, in no particular order.
1. Share a picture.
This was a pre-int group I had done the year before and remembered really enjoying the lesson where they had to describe pictures and the events happening when they took the photo (New English File Pre-Int). The previous year only one student brought a photo, so this year I reminded my students far in advance and suggested many different ways to bring and share a photo. In the end, they ALL brought a photo! Every one of them. As such, my final 10 minute fluent practice turned into a 30 minutes extended lesson with the receptionist kicking us out eventually! Every student shared their story and some new language came up as well. I also believe it was the moment that group of students really bonded and I noticed that they were the most united group I had all year.
2. International House Young Learners Conference in Prague (and the IH online teacher training conference)
Going to the IH young learners conference in Prauge and talking about Dyslexia was an amazing experience. I can’t really explain just how nervous I was but the sense of achievement was incredible. Being asked to the do the same talk for the IH Online teacher training conference was a real validation of the work I invested and that quality of the seminar.
However, even better than presenting was meeting teachers from all around the world, hearing about their issues, solutions and ideas, and getting to explore (very briefly) the beautiful city of Prague. It was certainly worth all the issues that came attached at border control in Ukraine and financial outgoings.
3. What Should I Do?
Another fairly standard lesson that seamed to transcend the classroom for a moment and go beyond what I expected or hoped. At the end of a lesson on Should/Shouldn’t/If I were you etc (typical advice elements) the final activity I set was to offer each other advice for a real situation or problem. I shared a personal problem and the last part of the lesson turned into a group sharing and advice session. The result was that at least one student left the classroom feeling like she now knew what she needed to do and I could see that she meant it. There were a few other moments where the language stopped being useful for an abstract need in the future and became of actual use right there in the classroom (like the students spontaneously deciding to arrange a trip to a bar at the weekend) but that was probably the best.
4. A day in the Life of a freedom fighter
With a teenage class I decided to test out an activity from 52: a year of subversive activity for the ELT classroom called daily routines. Like the traditional tell people your daily routine except that the people chosen are more unusual like an innocent person in Jail, a terrorist/freedom fighter, a person who is wheelchair bound etc. My students at first thought it was really boring until they grasped the type of people we were talking about. Although it started off as a very tong in cheek exercise with similar answers the following discussion about Disabled people in Ukraine was really incredible.
With the same teenage group I chose to set a warm up activity where they wrote out what they had spent money on over the last week (you can read more about the budget lesson here.) To see one student really think about way she was
wasting spending her money really made this activity stand out and extend beyond its allotted time. I honestly believe it completely changed the students attitude to the rest of the class from typical sit back and let it wash over them to really considering the material.
[A possible criticism which I am still wondering about was raised in regard to how effective this actually is for language teaching, personally I believe it led to a higher engagement in the receptive skills and more output in the production stage but I don't know if the same could be said for a possible language lesson. Does anyone have any more insight here?]
What about you
So, those were my top 5 moments from the year as a teacher. I could certainly add some more experiences but I think 5 is a nice number for now.
Now it’s your turn! Post your own post or write some in the comments with your top 5 teaching moments this year.
If you want to use the same image I made above then use this code bellow.
[P.S. This post contains an affiliate link]