Friday, May 22, 2009

Year-End Review

One of the things I love (and hate) about the end of the year is how unsubstantial it feels. I mean, since the seniors have left, I only have thirteen lessons a week. Of those, many will be canceled because of class trips and other events. Next week is our last full week of classes - both weeks in June actually contain 3 teaching days each. Because of the ongoing school-leaving exams, classrooms are always changing, which adds to the loose feeling. Of course, I enjoy the free time, and freedom, but it's a weird time - like I'm in limbo between school and summer. I think the students feel it too, and they've all started their slide into summer - this, combined with my lethargy, makes teaching the last few weeks a struggle for me.

It happened today that I had my second-to-last class with the 11.d. They're one of my "meh" classes - I only see them once a week, and up til today they didn't make too much of an impression. I certainly enjoy class with them, but... you know the type. They're not good, nor bad; English mediocre; sometimes studious, sometimes lazy; they did make me laugh pretty frequently, but generally I can say I never really paid them too much attention.

And after today I feel a bit guilty about this, because it turns out they've been paying attention all year! As part of the year-end review, I asked them what they remembered doing this year. They remembered everything - even things I'd forgotten. Not only did they remember the topics ("we talked about personality"), they remembered the content (i.e. the vocabulary we learned)! They were enthusiastic about reviewing - I had them work in groups* and each group wrote a mini-test about one of the topics, then quizzed each other. Best of all for my teachers heart, they gave me some feedback about the year. Okay, maybe it wasn't 100% honest feedback, because most of them said they liked everything we did, but the braver students volunteered a couple things they hated. Along with logical, precise reasons why they hated them.

So it was a happy surprise for me to discover, now at the very end of the year, that I really like this class (I'll have them again next year). And I guess it's a good lesson for me, at the end of the year, to remember that I should spend less time worrying and complaining about bad classes and more time enjoying the good ones.

* One group was cooperating less well than the others, and I almost died laughing when the girl turned to me, reached down into the depths of her English memory, and dramatically announced, "Emily! I can not work with them. The ghost... of cooperation... HAS DIED!"

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