Image courtesy of Mooshuu
Yesterday, I saw a tweet along the lines of, “If you could go back in time to your first year as a teacher, what would you say?” Good question. At first I wasn’t entirely sure what I would say, but the more I thought about it, the more it kept coming back to one thing: it’s not about me. Well, if that was all I would say, the younger me would probably say thanks and then move on. Also, if that is all I wrote today, you would be fairly disappointed in this blog post and might never return. For the sake of the skinnier Nathan and all those who dare enter this blog, here is what I could say in more detail. [Note: this was also sort of covered by Mike Griffin, although his was primarily about conferences.] Continue reading Recollecting
Image courtesy of Christoph Rupprecht
Today marks the beginning of another week of TESL practicum observations for me. While I have enjoyed watching these new ESL teachers starting off their journey, I have to say I am a getting a bit tired. I realize that this is an important step for these trainees, but I feel like this is taking a whole lot more out of me than I had anticipated. It is funny considering that I’m not the one doing the lesson preparation and having to teach the class. I am not entirely sure why it takes so much of my energy, but I think I have a partial reason. I think it is because I care about helping them.
Long ago, I was in their shoes. I remember being that energetic, enthusiastic, nervous-to-the-core, rough-around-the-edges teacher in training. I distinctly remember the disaster of my first class and the not-so-interesting second class. But what I remember the most was the support I received from my TESL instructor, Gail Tiessen. I am so thankful for her. She was kind, firm, direct, and quick to help. Her comments kept me going, thinking, and improving. I am happy to still call her my mentor.
Yesterday, I was in church and the pastor was using the analogy of a pair of oxen being yoked together to work the fields. These oxen would not be able to finish the work on their own. Also, young oxen might not know what is expected of them without the support and guidance of the more experienced oxen by their side. The yoke isn’t there to punish them, or to say they can’t do it, it is there to give them support and guidance.
This analogy got me thinking about how we support and mentor those who don’t have the same amount of experience as ourselves. Continue reading Mentoring
Image courtesy of Evan Hahn
I was doing a practicum observation the other day and I asked the instructor what she would like me to focus on. She mentioned a couple of other items before mentioning how she gives feedback to the students. “I think I praise them too much,” she stated. It got me thinking, can we praise students “too much”?
Giving correction in the classroom is something that most teachers struggle with. How can we give students correction without making them feel discouraged? I find it interesting that we talk about give out too much correction, but we rarely discuss too much praise.
Continue reading Praising