Closure and a new start

11428562_10205230245008770_8145717557143461695_nAnother school year is over. I’ve experienced this moment many times before but this time it’s a tad special because, since September 2014, I’ve been a homeroom teacher to a class of 23 fourteen-year-olds.

I don’t remember studying any manuals on how to be a good homeroom teacher before I became one. I just remember I decided to take it easy right from the beginning. I started slowly, with caution, trying not to be too emotionally involved. I didn’t want to make any radical changes or come up with some drastic measures. I didn’t bang my fist on the table claiming: ‘Now that I’m here, everything’s going to be different’. Instead, I decided to observe and adjust along the way. And it’s turned out to be the best tactic.

It never ceases to amaze me how different each class is. Each class is a unique living organism and one tiny change can affect the whole dramatically. I love to watch these little changes. For example, back in November, a new student joined our class. When I first saw his exotic features, I was worried that his appearance may incite some negative comments. However, he turned out to be really easy-going, friendly and natural, and the class accepted him immediately. Earlier today, I was proud to see him publicly receive a prize for the best ICT student.

Next year, my class will undergo another test of tolerance. We’ll have a guest student from Hong Kong, who doesn’t speak a word of Czech. This means that apart from the fact that he comes from a totally different cultural background, the rest of the class will only be able to communicate with him in English. It’ll be a linguistic challenge for everybody – the class, the new student, and all the other teachers. But it’ll be demanding from a psychological point of view as well. My job will be to make sure that everybody feels safe and happy.

The number of students will actually increase by two since another student will join our class in September. It’s a girl who’s just moved from Germany. Although she’s Czech, she’ll inevitably come with a very different type of education and personal experience. I’m very curious to see how her presence will influence the class dynamic.

Well, there are lots of important cha(lle)nges ahead of us so keep your fingers crossed for us.

About Hana Tichá

I'm an EFL teacher based in the Czech Republic. I've been teaching English to learners of all ages for more than 20 years. I love metaphors and inspiring discussions concerning teaching, learning and linguistics.
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