It is officially the end of Week 1 and I cannot believe it! It is so hard to believe that throughout this week, our team has led over 44 class periods with 3-15 students per class! I was initially unaware of the magnitude of students we’d be working with but after looking back at the schedule, I am genuinely amazed! The week started off strong. We met with all of the teachers at Zhuhai No.9 and Nan Ping Middle School. During the meeting, we were able to introduce ourselves and get a sense of what the in-person program looked like in past years. Immediately, I could tell that the teachers and administration from the schools were just as excited as we were to begin this journey.
The first week of class primarily consisted of teacher and student introductions. Classes were taught both solo and in pairs. I found that when working in pairs, it was a bit easier because there was more energy contributing to the classroom and we were able to bounce ideas off each other. However, I also enjoyed teaching alone because that allowed me to test new teaching ideas on the students. I enjoyed both the teacher and student introductions. The teacher introductions allowed me to get to know my teaching pairs even more and I found that a lot of us are similar in various ways. The student introductions were by far my favorite. I really enjoyed getting to know my students by talking about their favorite things. Some students were initially too shy to share but eventually warmed up by the end of class and spoke. With the time we had after introductions, we played a game matching the picture with the English word. This increased participation and excitement amongst the students.
We faced a few challenges this week. The most immediate challenge was navigating how to adjust to wifi/internet connections. Some of the classes had poorer wifi connection than others and our students were not able to introduce themselves or participate due to not being able to hear or see the teachers. An additional challenge, particularly for me, was being able to respond to the silence of confusion. In some of my teaching pairs, I have students who can speak Chinese and can help me through these situations. However, when I am teaching alone, I do not have the knowledge of my teacher pairs to speak Chinese and am limited on ways to ease confusion. These challenges were shared and discussed during our end-of-week team meeting and we have made adjustments that we hope will improve or resolve these issues.
In addition to teaching at the middle schools, we also have the opportunity to teach younger students. I was initially assigned to teach 5th and 6th graders, but when I met with my students they were actually 1st and 2nd graders. I had to quickly adjust to their levels but this excited me because I really wanted to work with younger students. During our first class, I introduced myself and allowed them to introduce themselves. After introductions, I primarily focused on incorporating music into the instruction as a creative approach to better understand the student’s level of English. Overall, I am really excited for future classes with these students and have a lot of ideas that I am looking forward to presenting to the students.
Cheers to Week 1!