I’ve been teaching this group of students for almost seven years. It looks like ages and it’s definitely my personal record. I can’t even recall how it all started. It seems we’ve done everything over the years: we’ve discussed every topic and tried every activity. Yet, I don’t feel exhausted or de-motivated in any way.
Teaching the same group of students for a long time clearly has many advantages as well as challenges. I’d say it really boils down to how well you get on with each other. If you’ve built a good rapport with them over years (but honestly, it appears that good rapport sometimes happens without the teacher having to lift a finger), you need to put next to no effort into your teaching. Things somehow pan out the way you need them to and learning emerges peacefully along the way. But most importantly, teaching such a class is extremely enjoyable and satisfying. One of the signs of this blissful stage is, for example, that the coursebooks we’re using have become almost superfluous. They’ve become shadows of the necessary evil.
For the past two years, we’ve had four lessons a week, one of which is the final lesson on Friday. You would probably agree that the last Friday lesson is
a nightmare always sort of special. After all, it’s almost the weekend and everybody’s mind is switching to a different mode. This can be positive or negative. If you teach an unmotivated bunch of kids, it can be a real pain in the neck and honestly, such a lesson usually turns out to be a waste of time because the people are not really present for what you want them to do. On the other hand, and this applies to the group I’ve been teaching for seven years, it can be the highlight of the week. Although their energy and motivation are not exactly at their peak at the beginning of the lesson, my creativity and enthusiasm are (because I know I’m teaching them!). It’s the final meters till the end of the race, so to speak. And I enjoy these last moments thoroughly. Luckily, this is infectious. And as they have nothing to lose (nothing threatening or high-stakes is ahead of them on a Friday afternoon), they usually plunge in and swim with me.
I wouldn’t change this group for anything in the world… I feel sad when I realize that there’s just one year to go and then it will be over. They’ll go their own ways. I know already I’ll miss them a lot. After all, they were part of an important chapter of my professional life.