Teach English in CushijiAng Zhen - Yongzhou Shi

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It is extremely easy to get into a rhythm of teaching a certain way and relying heavily on your resources at hand. As a fairly new teacher, I spend a lot of time with the resources (mainly books) I am provided and in lessons, I teach the content that is necessary to complete a given objective. I often rely on the books for additional activities, transitions and traditional book work. While the students never spend the entire class with their nose in the books, I felt that we were not having quite as much fun as we could. Classes began to feel a bit stale and interest seemed to be diminishing. So, I decided to conduct a small experiment, and discovered something wonderful. There is hope for bringing the excitement back to the classroom. I have a regular class with one student and we had been in a good groove for a while. We would spend some time in the activation stage reviewing vocab and drawing, then do some work in the book, practice reading aloud and finish the lesson with a game. After the first month and a half of similar lessons, it was feeling quite slow. The student began to refuse doing any work from the book and only wanted to play our end of the class game. So I decided to simply make a game from each of the exercises in the book. We were drawing, acting, guessing, writing, and giggling all over the classroom. We only used the book to look at a picture for one of our games. The time went by quickly and the student asked to play our end of class game. I had to tell the student that sadly, we did not have time. While the student was a bit upset about not playing the shark game, we were both surprised that class was finished. As we cleaned up our supplies, the student turned to me and said “we didn’t even do our work!” This was the perfect response. I showed the student that they had learned and basically completed everything in the book, but simply in a different way. We completed the objectives of the lesson and had lots of fun doing so by playing games and having fun. While the student was slightly upset that everything about the lesson had changed- ahem, shark game - we were both quite happy to have had such a fun time. Since the time of this lesson, I have been more intentional about working outside of the books and trusting my creativity and intuition. I believe that the initial rut was created not by a lack of care or effort, but by the simple challenge of being a new teacher. Sometimes it can be difficult to trust your own ideas, but you don’t know the outcome unless you try. In this case, I think it was a success and I think this lesson will be a great benefit to my many classes in the future. It certainly takes some work to plan and be in a creative mindset, but it pays off when a lesson feels like you didn’t even do your work!