This week we’ve been rapidly acclimating to the rhythm of the virtual classroom. Teaching is becoming more natural for me, and the class periods seem to flow organically. Furthermore, there seems to be much more engagement from the students, during both “shout-it-out” games and through their spontaneous comments during class. While a couple groups are still a bit shy, I can tell they’re still understanding me when they smile at our frequent light-hearted moments! We showed some funny videos this week: in one of them, a crazy guy demonstrates how different animals eat their food – that was a fan favorite. Big Describer has proven to be a massive success! The students are shown a description of a type of food (which I have them read aloud), and they try to guess which food is being described. I have gotten around 90% participation across all my classes, and a few of the students just need a little encouragement. One way I like to spice up this game (pardon the pun) is by adding more information about the food, or having them use it in a funny phrase, like “cheese, please!”
Besides connecting with the students, an equally important component of this experience has been, and will continue to be, my friendships with the other volunteers. I teach with Jessica and Wendy four times a week, and we often stay after class to chat. We share tips about what’s been going well in the other classes we teach, and we all learn from each other. At this week’s big group meeting, we all shared what teaching techniques have worked, and how to employ new strategies. I anticipate that as we influence each other more, our lessons will continue to become more creative and effective!