Thursday, February 2, 2012

What Bad Days in EFL can Teach You

Friday was my first "bad day" as a teacher. I was running behind from weekend travel and stressed about 4 new courses that are beginning. My first course was normal, but not particularly great. At the end of the second course, however, my student became very angry. I'm not sure that she was initially angry with our (one-to-one) session, because she only expressed to me that she was unhappy with the content and materials (General English vs. Business English) of another group course she had started taking with me. When she complained to the office, however, she told them that she was mostly unhappy with the one-to-one session.

This threw me off and I felt really bad. The rest of the day I spent trying to get through the remaining lessons, and going over it in my mind (and trying not to cry!). It took a while to shake it, but in that time I was able to take a valuable lesson from her anger (which, incidently, I still believe to be unjustified....perhaps that is my defensive mechanism at work).

And that lesson is this: Students are not teachers. Despite the systematic planning and the theoretical background that informs your practices, students will not always see the purpose in your lesson. If it falls outside their experience of learning, it may seem like a lazy lesson, like a boring lesson, or like a useless lesson.

Perhaps explaining the point of what you are doing can help them see the value of the activity???