This question was on my mind when I realized that I have completed half of my internship. At this point, I have familiarized myself with the students and the school. I no longer feel the nervousness and uncertainty if I am doing well while working on assignments. Although I am still lacking in my skills, helping the students with their English and receiving feedbacks have fostered my confidence and composure. Sadly, as I gain self-assurance, my time at ERI School is running out. Including last week, I will have three more weeks with the students, because they will spend one week on a trip to Myanmar while I stay behind working on a project for the school. I pondered upon what more I could do for the students during my limited time here. Therefore, recently, I have started a series of English night classes with another intern at the school and we had our first two classes last week. I received a go-ahead from the field supervisor after some training and we quickly prepared a lesson plan for the students.
During my time at Wesleyan, I have some experiences preparing informal lesson plans since I had to mentor an elementary student as a part of my course work. However, it was my first time teaching adult ESL learners and I had little idea what I should be preparing for. Luckily, my site supervisor and faculty supervisor provided me with various resources and got me started with some examples I could include in my lesson plans. Furthermore, I found inspirations from the courses I took at IWU. I took classes in the Education department where being a culturally relevant teacher were emphasized, so the experience assisted me in finding ways to integrate my students’ cultures into the classroom. In addition, I took a class on Language, Communication, and Culture last semester, which reinforced my knowledge about the elements of a language and how fluency in a language is acquired. With all the assistance and inspiration that I received, my lesson plans comprised mainly of games and fun activities in which students could work together because meaningful communication among a learning community is crucial to learning a new language. Furthermore, I used multimedia to stimulate students’ mind because each student has a preferred way of learning which enables them to get information faster ( a reference to Theory of Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner). It was amazing to witness theories learned in school to be applied to a practical situation. As an aspiring educator, I cherish these experiences because they work to solidify my foundation to become better and more conscious of my practices.
As far as the experience went, standing in front of a body of students and pouring my heart out to share the little that I know in the vast universe of the unknown was an unforgettable experience. Although my goal is not to become a teacher, I respect the profession and the people who work hard to spark a love for knowledge in students. Even though the class was optional, I had a good turnout when 15 out of 16 students came to class ready to learn, their eyes sparkled excitement. It became an honor as well as a burden shared between us two interns to meet that expectation. However, students were engaged in the activities and enjoyed the class despite it ending an hour later than expected. I received compliments on how well the class was structured and that it was easy to understand for the students. Also, I got great feedbacks on ways in which I could improve my class such as encouraging students to speak up and paying more attention to the slower students in the class. Another great advice I received was that I was speaking too fast even with an adjusted speed: “Even if you think your food is not that spicy, I can still taste the spiciness.” I realized that I should be more considerate to the students’ need and make more accommodations for them to make their learning experience more meaningful and pleasant.
Having taught two English classes at ERI school, I have accumulated some skills in both lesson planning and teaching ESL. These skills will come in handy once I develop my career as an educator in the future and help me assess my skills and practices. I am hopeful for the few coming classes remained to be the better than the last two as I work on the pieces of advice given and come up with new ideas to make the English class more stimulating and engrossing to the students.