October 5, 2014 by gemmalunn
This week was the first week in my new job and with the exception of a 3 week pre-sessional course the only time I’d taught in over a year! I handed in my dissertation on a Friday, went on holiday on the Saturday, returned two weeks later on the Sunday and had my first class at 9am on the Monday! So to say I was well prepared would be an understatement, I had the Sunday afternoon to prep and get my head together but as the week went on the lack of preparation became apparent. I don’t mean actual lesson plans, I’m referring more to general preparation of getting back into teacher mode. Basic yet integral parts of my teaching, like error correction or giving instructions, felt rough and poorly planned.
On Thursday evening as I was planning that I’d set my students’ homework on Friday to write their first entries of their learning journals: to reflect on their first week, I realised that was exactly what I also needed to do. I needed to do some serious reflecting! As a starting point I dug out my teaching journal and scribbled down all my random thoughts from the week, these mainly consisted of what I felt lessons had lacked and what I should have been doing better. The notes then turned into ideas about what I needed to do to improve these aspects. I immediately felt the same relief and sense of clarity that I used to feel when I regularly used my teaching journal.
It may be a coincidence or down to the activities but Friday’s classes seemed miles better. I felt more in control and more aware of my actions again. So I set myself some homework this weekend to do some serious reflecting and generally try to get back into the mindset of a teacher! Here’s the full list of my homework so I can’t make any excuses:
- To read over Diploma lesson plans and notes.
- Read some past blog posts (✓).
- Start reading other ELT blogs again (✓).
- Start tweeting again and reconnect with my PLN (✓).
- Write a post (✓).
- Go back to basics with lesson planning
I wasn’t expecting to feel so out of touch this week but I suppose it’s normal after a long break. I wonder if anyone else has had a similar experience?