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Teach English in Ming'An Zhen - Baotou Shi
Teacher selects a reading material. She makes sure it is just the right amount of challenge appropriate to the student’s level. She assigns the text on Friday. She says that it will be discussed on Monday. Monday arrives. Out of 30 students, only four read the text. In that situation, what do most teachers do? Often, they give time for reading prior to discussion. Others move along and proceed with the discussion. Some group the students and provide instructions as to how the story will be read and discussed. And there are some who will express their disappointment to the students. I have all been those things, except for the first. Reading in class, in my perspective, eats up too much time without having the students really understand what they have just read. Reading is tedious. Even with interesting material, reading can still be monotonous, especially for someone who has other things to worry about. Reading as a leisure is a rare opportunity, but mostly, reading is simply boring. I myself have only read one book in 2019, and I am not even finished with it. If this is my current state of mind regarding reading, how will I transfer to my students my deep love and reverence for the allure of Greek tragedies, the complexities of Nick Joaquin’s stories, the imagery evoked by Edgar Allan Poe, and other idiosyncracies of literature? I ask. I ask my colleagues and my coordinator for ideas. I ask former teacher for techniques. I search for new ideas. I attend seminars and learn from other participants. In retrospect, I found that I do know a lot of ways. The problem lies in delivery. And I can say, with all honesty, that I have tried my best. Some methods have been successful, such as the group reading and group discussion. Even the score incentives have been effective at some point. But, still, I feel that I have not done enough to spark the love for reading and the desire to analyze a story. However, I realized that reading is not a spark that should be ignited. Rather, it is a habit that should have been cultivated from the beginning. As teachers, we are not entirely responsible nor at fault whether the student is immersed in reading or not. Still, even if the love for reading does not exist, we can always motivate the student to do so. It is a good thing that stories are sort of a treasure hunt themselves—you must go through the details to find out the ending or the meaning of the story. Giving out clues about the story seems to pique their interest, so whenever I assign a reading material, I give away clues, but not so much. As an English teacher, I think I am just going to accept the fact that there are topics or skills that will be challenging for both the teachers and students. At the end of the day, what matters most is that there is a new learning from both sides.