Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday classes

In the first class, one of students couldn't make it due to a meeting at her uni. Which left two of us, a girl and myself, talking about the same old subject - how to improve English. I thought to myself, "Gosh, how many times have I said the same thing!" This girl has been my student for 10 years, actually more than that. She has got a job right after graduated university but has been thinking to go overseas to get a master's degree. The question is, she says, in what field she wants to study. Which is a huge question I reckon.

We were supposed to read one of the stories in the book we use but we ended up talking about the same question. She asked me a couple of questions regarding the reading but her major interest right now is to get high score in TOEFL. She has a vivid photographic memory which has been her advantage while she was in Japanese educational ladder, however, getting M.A. is a very different ball game. It takes more than memorizing all the information in a textbook. It takes more than getting right answers in multiple choice questions. It takes desition-making, problem-solving, critical-thinking and analyzing skill. If she doesn't have a clear vision on her goal, pursuing it is challenging. Giving up her current job and doing self-searching business alone in overseas sounds a bit too risky for a 24 year-old Japanese woman with a serious sleeping problem.  I am not certain whether I should tell her or not this biting truth. After all, it is her life yet I feel responsible to inform what she should expect.

The second class was the last one, at least, for a while, till they finish the entrance exam for high school. We did a reading practice and an interviwing activity. After that, I shared my favorite quote, "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. " with my interpretation. In the last class, the question is thrown back at me: Did you do your best?
I am sure there are so many ways that can be more enjoyable, productive and meaningful for those students but my question is whether I have tried enough to facilitate the most enjoyable, productive and meaningful learning environment for them. The answer should be YES yet pathetically it is always YES/NO. Yes, I've done what I thought it would the best. No, I haven't really figured out what exactly works for each of them. I suspect that I can never say YES to the question but it is a good question to keep on asking myself.

The third class has just started a month ago but I had them last friday since they had a football practice this monday. Those new faces motivate me to do better. So far, they are absorbing all the new information brilliantly. My mission for them is to be ready for Jr. high and to cultivate positive attitude towards their ability to learn this new language. So far, so good.

 Overall, I had a very emotional day.

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