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Amparo Bertram

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05:49 pm: Being in possession of information, always a good thing
Today I started out by requesting a school calendar for the year, since from last year's experience I doubted I'd get one unless I specifically asked. If I'm reading it correctly, the farewell/welcome party will be held next Friday. And unless I'm mistaken, it will be at the (Japanese-style) grill down the block from the school. (Gee...a grill...how lovely. What do you want to bet they don't get many vegetarian customers?)

Now that teachers are assigned to all their classes, they've started having planning sessions to coordinate what they will be teaching. One teacher came up to me to discuss our class together.

Teacher: Here is the book we will be using. I don't think it will be too hard. Have you used it before?

Me: <looks at book titled Window on Britain> ...No.

Teacher: I want you to mostly handle the class by yourself.

Me: I don't know anything about Britain.

Teacher: Written?

Me: Britain. I don't know anything about Britain.

<looks at first activity: "Name some towns and cities in Britain and mark them on the map.">

Hello, American? Sure, it's embarrassing how little I know about other countries, but hey--science major. Show me a cell and I'll name its parts for you. A foreign country? Not so much. Besides, this school does have a British ALT, and it's not me.

Teacher: Here's the answer book.

Me: <sighs>

I was consulted on part of the planning session between two of my other team teachers, who will each be teaching a different section of a class that uses the same textbook. At first they asked my opinion on motivating students to speak by giving them stickers on a sheet every time they volunteer in class. (They then show their sticker sheet to the teacher at the end of the term to be included in the grade.) This is used very frequently, though I don't particularly like it because A) the teacher has to have a lot of stickers all the time, and B) I really don't want the students thinking that there has to be a reward in order for them to speak in class. They should be expected to speak.

Eventually the teachers decided that, instead, they would reserve a few minutes at the start of every class for talking directly with the students, as kind of a warm-up. They would also organize three large speaking activities (show & tell, skits, and speech contest) throughout the school year, and since everyone would have to participate in those events, everyone would get speaking practice. That would take the place of sticker sheets. I like that idea a lot better.

Since my fairytale class has been discontinued, I offered to use the materials I had available for it in the other third-year classes instead. They seemed to like the suggestion, because it went along with the skit project they want to try. (For example, students could act out a fairytale.)

I found out the number of students enrolled in each class. The incoming freshman class of English majors is small this year--only 30, in contrast to the usual 40.

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[User Picture]
From:megory
Date:April 5th, 2005 03:05 am (UTC)

Hmmmm...

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I'm glad you got a schedule. That could really help.

It's also great the fairytale idea went over well.

Direct talk with students each day sure beats the sticker book in my estimation, too.

You have so much to accommodate to with new classes of students as well as new teachers to work with along with changes in curriculum.

Window on Britain, huh? It might as well be New Zealand or Australia. I guess if they stick with the book, it could work.

I hope you find something to eat at the grill. You might stop by ahead of time and scope out the place. You might even tell them you'll be there Friday with the group. They might be able to make something without meat/seafood if they know ahead of time. I'm surprised that last year's teachers will be able to make it, since I would think that they are already at their new location.

I hope the year turns out great!

[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 6th, 2005 02:20 am (UTC)

Re: Hmmmm...

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I guess if they stick with the book, it could work.

I suppose so. It's just the team teacher wanting me to "mostly handle" the class that worries me. (He's head of the English department this year, though, so he probably wants to get a break from planning whenever he can.)

You might stop by ahead of time and scope out the place.

That would probably be a good idea. I'll see if I can remember to do that over the weekend.

I'm surprised that last year's teachers will be able to make it, since I would think that they are already at their new location.

They are, but from my experience, they come back for the party if they can. They try to set the party on a day that other schools aren't having one.
[User Picture]
From:megory
Date:April 6th, 2005 03:35 am (UTC)

Re: Hmmmm...

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It's just the team teacher wanting me to "mostly handle" the class that worries me.

How did I slide over that part? Isn't that specifically *not* allowed in your contract? It might be important to mention that you aren't allowed to before the year gets off to a start, and that you aren't inclined to disrespect the contract. It's already something that you will have five hours more per week than the others. It seems that if you have to follow that part of the contract, you should also have to follow the other parts.
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