“I know what you said! And I know how to spell it!”
It’s been quite a while since I’ve been around such young students (My youngest brother is fifteen!), so I definitely didn’t give my students enough credit! Some students really surprised me with the amount that they knew! Some are very confident and (maybe) a little patronized when we try to ask them very simple questions saying “I know, I know” repeatedly.
Everybody warned me that you have to be able to adapt when working in education, but you don’t really know what that means until you’re in a classroom, with a crowd of children, antsy with excitement or boredom, and you look at your team mate like “what now?”
If you don’t see where I’m going with this, well let’s just say our first class didn’t exactly go as planned… Lily and I had spent quite some time going through, and preparing, potential lesson plans, only to have it all go out the window.
Grade level different than expected? Not a problem! The students don’t know how to read yet? Problem. We divided the students into two groups and led them through the game, where I had (some of) their attention for a whopping five minutes before they asked if they could skip around in the game. We had not prepared for how to deal with students this young, and we wound up spending less than ten minutes playing “heads up, seven up” to keep the students in order as well as entertained. (They spend half the time with their heads down and being really quiet, it’s perfect!) Nonetheless, they still learned a lot about birds and some of the hazards they face, which was awesome.
Although a lot of things didn’t go quite as expected, Lily and I definitely didn’t dwell on the negative. At least, it was definitely a learning experience for us. We learned a lot on how we could improve things in the future, and also have some funny stories that came out of it! Though the drive back home included some horror stories, it was also filled with laughter as we talked to each other about the things that went well.