Manic Monday – Teaching English
About ten days ago, I started teaching English. When I got the call , I was like ‘Yeah, I know how to teach grammar from all the German lessons I used to give. Plus, I started learning English 20 years ago, so how hard can it be.’ Right? RIGHT? Wrong. I realised that explaining a language to somebody is way harder than just using the language. I could have known that, but me being me and all… I didn’t really think about it. I just went into the class room the first day and shouted ‘Good Morning! How are you? Let’s take a test, to see what you can and can not do.’
Nobody argued. Good start, I thought. After the test, I asked ‘Who of you hates English?’ Three hands came up. ‘Who of you likes English?’ – Two hands went up. So only three out of nine hated it, at least two liked it and four didn’t care at all. Not too bad.
I went home, marked the tests and wrote down the weaknesses of each person in my class. The weekend passed by and I made up some handouts with useful phrases and forms of (to) be etc. On Monday I went into class: ‘Good Morning! Let’s talk grammar!’
‘What structure does a sentence in English have?’
‘Ooookay, give me a simple sentence in English, please.’ – After a while somebody came up with ‘I am hungry.’ So we analysed the sentence on a white board with different colours and everything (cause I am awesome!) and we learned the difference between a part of speech and a part of a sentence. After that, we learned how to turn statements into questions: Question word (not mandatory, depending on the question), modal verb or a correctly conjugated form of (to) do, and the rest of the original sentence, with the verb as an infinitive. Question mark at the end, and boom that’s you.
We exercised this, over and over. Break. Today: ‘Build a question out of the following sentence. My son plays soccer every Saturday.’
‘Come on, people, we did this last week. You know this. Don’t be shy, here, there you go. Yes, please.’ His mouth opened and out came: ‘Plays my son soccer every Saturday?’ – Me: ‘What does the rest of the class say? Correct or incorrect?’ – The class: ‘Correct.’ (At least there was a hint of a doubt.)
Maybe I lost my teaching-Mojo? Maybe I am explaining it wrong? Too complicated? Too fast? I don’t know for sure. Five more times to go, not much time but so much to learn.