Sorry I have been so lax on blogging lately! Every free minute has been spent writing nine graduate school application essays (ugh!!) And I still have to tell you about camping last weekend, but I’m going to blog out of order and talk about today first, because it just happened and I’m SO excited!!!
So, Fulbright comes to observe your teaching every so often just to give you suggestions and see what’s going on. So, today I had my first observation. I wasnt nervous until the 5 people observing come into my class and set up a big camera. Then, I got nervous. Would my kids participate with so many people watching? Would they even like the lesson? What if I mess up? What if they dont understand my game and we have to use too much Chinese? What if my lesson is boring?!!? AHHH!!!!!
So I start by doing “Classroom English” where I teach my classes useful phrases and commands for the classroom so we can use English more often. Things like, stand up, sit down, take out a pen, line up, open your books etc. That way, we can give directions in English and they are more likely to pick up the gist of what we want. Then, I move onto the long E sound for my phonics lesson. We play a game called Making Words and then finish up with the workbook. The lesson went pretty well! My kids were engaged and we didnt mess up too badly. The timing was a little off but I didnt expect any horrid critiques.
We walk into the principals office to have a meeting about our lesson, where I find out….they LOVED it. Loved it so much in fact that they want to use the video to show other ETA and LET pairs what good co-teaching looks like and they want us to present at the midyear conference!!!!!! They said we had such a natural co-teaching ability and they were so impressed with our positive classroom environment and atmosphere. They liked that we had so much positive reinforcement both verbally and physically with things in our class like points and the paper chains. They said we have great classroom management and clear roles that makes our class easy to run.
Kelly even asked me to write a list of all the classroom English I teach my students everyday because the government here in Taiwan has really been pushing English teachers to give more instruction in English as opposed to Chinese. I spend 5 minutes at the beginning of every class doing classroom English so that during class we only need minimal (if any) Chinese, so it’s completely worth the time. Kelly wanted to give the list to the government so they could help other teachers speak more English (SO COOL!)
Of course, we had critiques as well. Our game was: Each team had 16 letter tiles. I would ask them to manipulate the tiles to spell different words (using long E and long A sounds). Whatever team did it fastest got a point. In America, I play this game individually and it’s not timed…but in Taiwan, competition is really the primary motivator for kids. So, I made it a competition. But, in doing so, I made it so the slower kids who needed more help maybe didnt participate as much and gain that valuable experience. I also didnt give definitions for the words I was asking students to spell, so they didnt have a lot of context. All good things to keep in mind for the future! (:
I thought our lesson was good. Not anything super special…it’s always how we teach Phonics. We didnt write a special lesson plan because we were getting observed…we always write them that way and try to do similar activities. So, I expected them to like the lesson, but I did not expect the amount of positive feedback that we got. They really did love it and want our co-teaching to be a model for everyone else!!!!!!!! I could not be more excited!!!! I love working with Sophie and I am so glad it shows! (: (:
I had an individual meeting with Kelly and Emily (program coordinator and my academic advisor) after my lesson as well. They asked, “So…do you have anything you want to talk about that’s not so smiley and great? You’re just so smiley. Like all the time you just smile. Is there anything you need help with?” NOPE!!!!! I’m loving it!!! Su-Ao is perfect and Sophie and the principal are wonderful. And to make me even happier, I have my first soccer practice today after school!!!!!!!! WAHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! I’ll keep you updated on that later!