Why does each workday have a different vibe even though I teach the same classes in the same classroom (mostly)?
Today was one of those days when I felt in the zone. Most of the time, I felt fully absorbed in what my classes and I were doing. And let’s be honest, it’s not always the case. If somebody had observed today’s lessons, they would have thought they are meticulously planned. Except they weren’t. I guess I was really lucky. Or did I suddenly get enlightened or something?
I had five lessons today. In the morning, before the first lesson, I had an interesting conversation with my colleague. We didn’t talk shop as usual, though. We chatted about life and most of the time, we were just reminiscing. Another colleague joined in to add some missing memories. Then another teacher stopped by and provided more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. This, I believe, was a good start. This, I think, may have been the reason why today turned out to be a diamond among the rocks.
Anyway, my first lesson was an elementary class with a group of 12-year-olds. In the course of the lesson, I suddenly remembered that I had promised to play a song one of the kids had suggested the previous day. To be completely frank, I didn’t even know what song it was – I only knew what kind of language it contained. On the spot, I learned what they had in mind – a song called Everything at once by Lenka. Despite a complete lack of preparation, out of nothing, a wonderful lesson emerged; ideas were coming to me naturally and everything seemed to make perfect sense.
The second class was one of those regular, frowned-upon ‘coursebook’ lessons when you follow the instructions in the book and just complete the exercises. However, it turned out to be meaningful and useful too.
In the third lesson, (I was standing in for a missing teacher) I had a large class of 12-year-olds. I introduced a vocabulary game to be played in pairs, which, as it usually goes with large groups of excited kids, finally got a bit too noisy. I was happy they were enjoying themselves but I thought a cooler would come in handy at some point. Just before the lesson, I read this post on a visualization activity. At the end of the somewhat loud activity, I told my students we were going to calm down and relax a bit. I played the first 5 minutes of the video from the post above. I’d like to thank Nick Bilbrough for sharing this since it was exactly the type of activity we all needed at that moment. Moreover, rather miraculously, it perfectly fitted into my plan as the language used in the relaxation video was something we’d been practicing for a while.
Then I had a one-hour break when I did some paperwork. One always feels great when all paperwork is done, right?
Then I had a class of 16-year-olds. They are very good kids and they work really hard. What a superb combination! My plan was to revise some grammar for the upcoming exam so the students were quite motivated to focus and they participated very well without looking too stressed.
The final lesson was the icing on the cake, so to speak. I really love this class of 17-year-olds. They are into speaking activities and they invariably appreciate it when I bring some interesting topics to discuss on a Friday afternoon. I found an article called 101 Fun and Interesting Questions to Perk Up Boring Gatherings. I half-jokingly pointed out that a final Friday lesson could definitely be labeled as a boring gathering so we might well need to perk it up a bit. At the end of the activity, it felt like a boisterous party where everybody was having a great time. To my surprise, by the end of the lesson, nobody indicated that it was already time to finish (which they usually do a few minutes before the bell rings).
I have nothing else to add …… 🙂