Something happens when you actually start teaching children. They learn something. It’s incredible. In fact, I think it’s a miracle!
I made mention in an earlier blog of how I was going to paid for watching movies some time soon. Well that time is upon me, and my two weeks of movie-watching with children have begun. And it is in this non-traditional English class setting where I encountered – quite keenly – the miracle of teaching.
The structure of the course’s curriculum is designed to be student led. If this fails, the purpose of the course fails, and we just have a classroom full of students blankly staring at a screen filling out worksheets. Watching movies with ESL children effectively is actually a challenge. And one I was going to need to tackle if this was truly going to be student-led class.
(Side note: the point of student-led classes is that the teacher doesn’t need to do anything. [puzzled face of indifferent frustration])
So on the first day of class, I taught my students how to teach themselves, that they were going to be watching a movie with their brains this week, and it actually might be a little hard because it’s all in their second language. I taught them that they were going to have jobs, and needed to take notes, and might start seeing things they did not see before. I told them that people write books about movies – no, not write books like J.K. Rowling (We’re watching The Sorcerer’s Stone) but write a BOOK about the MOVIE. I told them they were going to be movie critics in this class, and BigByte has never offered a course like it!
And then there were technical difficulties. (Of course, it was the first day of class.) But we were still able to watch a segment of the film, because I felt not watching any of it would have been stupid and Teacher Victoria would not be daunted. And then students uncomfortably stepped into their roles of word master, discussion leader, summarizer, and character observer. I coached them through the entire process. I was beginning to wonder how this “student-led” course was actually going to go.
But I kept encouraging them and cheering them on and applauding the students who took on roles the first day of class. And I prayed to God above that these students would learn to engage or else it was going to be a tough week.
Today, before I even started my introductory comments for the second day of class, students were already volunteering to take on roles. I was so impressed. I sensed motivation and engagement in the atmosphere, and I was so encouraged. IT WAS A MIRACLE!
Perhaps this is what teaching is all about.