First Days of School Take Two

Dear friends,

Earlier, when asked how the first day of school went, I felt I could not respond because the first day didn’t truly feel like the first day. The first day was more like teacher in service, and then during the first student week, students only had short introductory classes. I didn’t even have a schedule yet. I felt in limbo. 

But this week, school swung in full force! I finally have a semi-set schedule. I know my way around the school. And I have met almost all of my students. 

The School!

Now I’m getting to know what my students like, which ranges from Coldplay, to camouflage, to coffee breaks. The latter surprises me most, as I am just getting used to the idea that teachers have daily, half hour coffee breaks, let alone the fact that students can leave school grounds as well to go to coffee shops or even bars. I am also very surprised to see that many of the students smoke on school grounds during break. 

I realize I probably shouldn’t be surprised, given that my students ages are between sixteen and twenty-five. But I’ve not taught adult classes before, since I specialized in secondary, so this is new to me. I’ll even be giving English conversation classes to teachers in the evening, if there is enough interest. But then again, this whole Prosser/Ivy Tech/High School system is new to me too. 

All things considered, I think I’m settling into the school well, particularly now that I’ve gone school supply shopping with my bilingual coordinator. She took me to the local teacher store to buy needed supplies. And now I have a desk, a desktop, a shelf, and a locker at my disposal. I feel set up here, finally.

Where I feverishly lesson plan

School supply shopping

I still have trouble gauging the students’ English language abilities and adapting to their levels. I know I speak too quickly and need to modify the lessons into more sizeable, one step or phrase at a time chunks. But the students are forgiving of my mistakes. They listen attentively and participate in the games. They are quick to tell me about their favorite brands (Nike pronounced Nicky) or what music they like (Tim McGraw or Miley Cirus’ Jolene). And they ask a lot of questions. Good signs. 

We did concrete poetry this week (picture taken with student permission)

I think we are starting off on the right foot. 

We’ll keep you posted.