Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Ups and Downs of Teaching

I came to Austria to gain some real teaching experience and to expose myself to the language, obviously. I don’t necessarily want to be an ESL teacher like I thought a few years ago, but am very interested in being a Young Adult Librarian.

I have been in the classroom for three weeks now. In this time, there have been a lot of ups and downs. Despite being super nervous the first week, I think I did a good job with my introductions. Of course this was easy, because it’s pretty easy to introduce myself. The students are also very interested in learning about me and the United States.

The second week was more introductions, also easy, but I also had to start teaching regular lessons that I had planned. I was very nervous about this. I had to prepare and teach a lesson on Minnesota tourism and one on high schools. Before the lesson on Minnesota tourism, the teacher grilled me on the lesson plan. Of course this made me extra nervous! But afterwards, the same teacher complimented me on the lessons and told me the students really enjoyed it. The high school lesson also went better than expected. This is very much a “learning as I go” process. I’m still getting the hang of what I’m doing. Each class is also different. Some classes just stare at me while other classes can’t stop talking.

This week was actually my first full week of “real teaching.” I had to prepare lessons on various topics from obesity and health to the election. My first day teaching at my main school was actually a little disastrous. I was teaching 5 classes and thought I had prepared well. However, I got my classes mixed up and ending up teaching obesity in American when I should have been talking about diversity in America. Plus I struggled with printing out the materials I needed. The whole morning felt like a mess. Even though I thought I had prepared very well, in the end, I felt like I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been. However, I think the teachers realized I was just hitting some (hopefully temporary) bumps as I get into the swing of things.

By Thursday of this past week, I was feeling a little blah about teaching. I don’t hate it, but I was feeling a little burned out. I did prepare lessons, but wasn’t feeling enthusiastic about going to school. However, the lessons turned out surprisingly well, especially with my more difficult classes. Some of my classes are so enthusiastic that I’m there and some classes, well, they don’t want to talk! I did a lesson on fast food and Super Size Me for my most difficult classes and they seemed to enjoy it. All of my students seem to love to talk about McDonald’s!

So I started out the week feeling very positive about teaching and prepared for my lessons, hit a midweek slump, but I recovered by Friday. I am finding that I really need to be creative with my lessons and add more games to my lessons. I also enjoy these lessons more. For example, I played a question game with some of my students on Friday and it went over really well. The students and the teacher liked it and I didn’t feel like I had to talk endlessly.

I also want to become involved in the schools, which hasn't really happened yet, but I'm working on it. I hope I can tutor some students in English. I've also had two students add me as a friend on Facebook. And one of my teachers invited me to her little village in the mountains. Now I just need some activities at the schools. 

Today, I’m actually looking forward again to teaching this week. I’m using my triumphs and failures from last week to learn what I should change. Sounds easy enough, but this experience has been very challenging! But I do think I’m improving.

1 comment:

  1. i know your days will get better!
    things used to get messed up first, but it's gonna be better and better. i know you can do it!