13 October 2016

Remembering What I'm Here For...

As of writing this blog I currently mentor seven classes of varying English abilities, meaning that it is my duty to ensure that the teachers are teaching appropriate material in a logical progression and that the students are getting the most out of their time. So although I am not the one formally teaching the classes I am able to teach through people. However, with the amount of administration and volunteer management work I have to handle on top of mentoring the classes, I, unfortunately, have very few occasions to stand in front of a classroom and teach. When I do it is a great reminder of why I am here.
Every weekend, myself and the other members of staff teach a TOEFL class for some of our highest level students. Not only is it a nice way to get a chance to teach but it also gives me an opportunity to try out many new, different, more complex activities so that our students can practise their four key language skills in interesting ways. Over the months we have engaged in debating, art analysis and my particular favourite adaptation role-plays, whereby two students are given different characters and a situation to play out. Witnessing two Novices engage in a fictitious domestic argument over working late between a husband and a wife will be one of most memorable moments from my entire time in Laos.

Even during the week when I am personally not teaching, I have seen the English abilities of the students from the classes I mentor grow leaps and bounds from the relatively short time I have been here. I've seen students go from learning their A B C's to being able to hold full conversations in English. 
Sure at times it is easy to get bogged down in dealing with the administration side of the job but it is always made better when seeing, and often hearing, the moment of realisation when a student understands the concept you are trying to teach them.

It brings me back to one of my previous blogs where I questioned whether teaching English was doing more harm than good (click here to read it) and I am constantly reminded that regardless if not all of the content is fully understood by the students as long as they have tried their best and enjoyed the process of learning then that is all I could ever ask of them.

Luke T.

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