My first day of school got off to a brilliant start on Monday morning. Either I was too jetlagged to hear my phone alarm, or it didn’t go off at all; maybe it was more the former rather than the latter. Either way, I woke up the time I was supposed to be there, so I was in panic mode.
I got washed and ready in record-breaking time and power walked all the way to the school. Well, almost all the way as I quickly discovered that it definitely was not power walking weather; I was sweating bucket loads!
Once at the school with my sweaty self, I was given some time to acquaint myself with my classroom. Now remember this; it was completely bare. No materials, no books, nada.
This was definitely in stark contrast to the neighbouring classrooms with their appealing, colourful and thoughtful displays and lay outs. I was given a while to read through a load of rules and regulations.
‘I really have a lot of work to do,’ I thought to myself.
Then entered Elsa with her beaming smile. She answered the many questions that I had.
“Right,” she said, “are you ready to start with your kids tomorrow?”
‘What?’ I screamed in my head. I did not feel comfortable teaching at all, not in the slightest and my classroom hardly encouraged the kids to want to learn English. That question was starting to become a regular occurrence. And I’d later find out that I would ask that question on at least a weekly basis.
In the end, I was given an extra day to decorate my classroom and to familiarize myself with the children’s syllabus. I can just about draw a stick man, much less make a variety of art displays for a classroom, so that was a huge challenge for me, but I was quite proud of my efforts in the end. Even though I was given an extra day, I still didn’t feel ready. Nevertheless, the next day was show time, regardless.
The first day with my first, second and third grade kids was quite nerve-racking, but it was a lot of fun. I was introduced to them in Spanish, I guess to make sure that they behaved. I distinctly remember their beaming faces and how quiet they were as they listened intently to Elsa’s every word. And I definitely remember how quickly that stillness disappeared by the end of the week!
Anyway, so I had them for one period instead of the timetabled two, so that we could get to know each other through games and activities. They loved the games – score! And they were angels, well in the first lesson anyway, but that declined a bit (ok, quite a bit) during the second week.
But anyway, as I was told not to follow any curriculum for the rest of my first week, it was a little difficult to just think of games and activities to keep them occupied for the time that I had them. It definitely is a lot harder than it seems, believe me, but I managed it in the end.
It was over the following week where I had to be a lot more creative with my activities and displays, because of a distinct lack of resources…