There are always great rewards that come with teaching. Having the experience to teach anyone is self-gratifying. I was presented with a great opportunity of teaching English as a Second Language students. The experience undoubtedly opened up my eyes to the challenges as well as the benefits of teaching adults. With every experience, I was able to become stronger as a communicator, team player and teacher. The experience ultimately reiterated my passion for teaching and gave me the confidence to continue on my career path.
Teaching this course was my first time teaching adult learners, and working with a native teacher. This experience transformed my perspective on teaching English as a Second Language, as working directly with a native speaker proved to be a wonderful experience. During teaching this course, I was able to really hone and develop my lesson planning skills. I now approach this task with greater vision and ability to think about my lessons contextually, and to shape them in a manner that will be of the greatest benefit to my students.
In addition to developing lessons, this process taught me much about the importance of team work and the development of ideas and plans that would best serve our group of students. Lesson plans were generated out of planning meetings with a highly cooperative teacher. Having these useful plenary sessions prior to creating our lesson plans really assisted me in terms of organizing my ideas and gaining a better understanding of what concepts could fit with what classroom activity. The meetings were both informative and thought- provoking. We used these meetings to brainstorm and to create activities that will best meet our objectives. I learned that it is really important to think of every activity and how that activity is going to serve the students and meet with our objectives. I learned how to write lesson plans more successfully by maintaining a broader perspective and considering the students’ needs first and foremost. Ultimately, teaching this course taught me how to write a plan of action.
In conjunction with lesson planning, collaboration was extremely beneficial during my experience. My instructor pointed out how important group configuration is when it comes to planning. Group configuration is influential in changing the dynamics and overall attitude of the class. Prior to this experience, I never thought about the impact group configuration has on the attitude of the class.
It is also important for me to realize that group configuration becomes even more significant when teaching a class where students come from different cultures and speak different languages. After all, it can be much more difficult to speak in a non-native language with someone who also has their own accent, different from my own. For instance, we observed that Arabic speakers in the class had difficulties understanding the Chinese speakers. This posed challenges, but involving myself in this process allows me to work on overcoming these kind of challenges. I saw that groups tended to be less productive and less hard working when allowed to remain in comfort zones per se, versus enabling themselves to speak with other diverse student groups.
Additionally, I have learned that it is crucial to accommodate different learning styles and preferences in the context of classroom activities. I surmised this through observation. Students with a visual preference, for example, will work better in activities such as creating a personal life timeline. By contrast, a student with an auditory preference will likely be more productive in a story retelling or a rewriting activity.
Moreover, a tactile-oriented student, may work better in activities such as survey and report writing, while a kinesthetic student will probably be more responsive to a role playing assignment. Research has demonstrated that college students who were taught via a preferred learning style received higher scores overall than those who were taught in styles that differed from their own preferred learning style. Different learning styles and creating activities that will meet all different learning styles is challenging
Consequently, the most difficult task I encountered was providing feedback to the learners. It was my first time giving feedback to adult learners, so I was working on a trial and error basis. The most crucial aspect of teaching is ensuring that students receive proper feedback. When students receive proper guidance and feedback, then they are more apt to making progress. While this proved to be a difficult task for me, I now know moving forward in my career the kind of feedback that is conducive to ESL students.
Besides her other feedback, my teacher was also instrumental in helping me improve on my weaknesses. My instructor was able to provide me with efficient feedback and clear instructions. I was able to learn how to cut activities and move on with smooth transitions. After every activity that I presented, she used the opportunity to provide me with very helpful feedback and guided me to be a better teacher. She was very cooperative and understanding. She explained every single step in learning the fundamentals of being an effective teacher. The process of learning included grading, inserting grades, grouping students and implanting activity transitions. I appreciate the great feedback that my instructor was able to provide. It was well-received, and I plan to use it in my career.
Overall, this experience was beneficial to my learning experience and added to my passion to becoming an educator. Teaching ESL students is challenging but rewarding. Being able to create lesson plans, work in groups and provide proper feedback to my students, solidified the reasons why I chose this profession. Knowing that I am making a difference in someone’s life gives me utter joy. I look forward to the rest of my journey as a student and an educator.