End of Term Two — Sick is the New Standard

My second term has officially ended, and I’ve come out of it in one piece — albeit sick once again. I suspect that I caught a bug from the office and/or university (again), so I really need to boost my immune system somehow. I suppose it’s not much of a surprise that I’m suddenly getting sick regularly considering that I’ve spent the last several years working from home, hidden away from germs, and then all of a sudden working in a school and interacting with dozens of different people daily, constantly exposed to varying germs and bacteria. I see lots of vitamin C in my future.

It’s been an interesting five weeks. Even though I taught the same level again this term, it was a very different experience due to a number of factors — the first one being a new set of students. The group dynamics are very dissimilar for each class, so something that works quite well for one group of students may not work as well for another group, which meant that I had to practice my flexibility and learn to move along when something was proving to be unsuccessful.

I also got to experience having a challenging student in one of the classes. Challenging, not academically, but in the sense that he was often disruptive — frequently tardy, disturbing classmates, talking and/or laughing loudly during instructions or explanations, standing up to move around or step out of the classroom as he pleased, and just not listening in general. I never wanted to reprimand him because I kept thinking about Sir Ken Robinson and Gillian Lynne’s story. I knew that sitting still was difficult for him and that he always needed to move, and I didn’t want to automatically classify him as a “bad student” — although, somehow, I’m quite sure that this particular student is not destined to become a dancer or choreographer. I had five weeks to think of a way to engage him in the lessons in such a way that he wouldn’t negatively affect the other students in the class. Unfortunately, I was not able to come up with anything.

This past term also presented me with an opportunity to work with a new co-teacher for the level and that was a rewarding experience. What I like best about having a co-teacher is the collaboration that takes place and the exchange of strategies and ideas, so being able to work with someone new every term expands that. Each teacher has something different to contribute as well as having varied areas of expertise, so having such an eclectic group of colleagues has no shortage of knowledge to be shared and gained.

I like to think that I have grown as a teacher over the past five weeks — as well as the past five weeks before that (my first term) — and I understand why experience has such precedence in the job market. I’m still fairly new at this and I know that I still have loads to learn, but I feel myself becoming more confident as the weeks go by. I have a better feel for the environment and the processes involved, and I’m starting to feel more comfortable in my classroom.

Speaking of my classroom, I love that it’s my own. When I step into my classroom, it feels like I’m walking into a bubble where nothing matters except what’s going on inside it. Whatever troubles I have disappear and all that matters is the next two and a half hours with just me and my students. It was recently repainted from a bright shade of yellow to a dull shade of grey, and considering that there aren’t any windows, it’s kind of a gloomy sight to behold now. I didn’t make much progress in personalising it over the last two terms, but it’s definitely on my to-do list for this upcoming break week and the final term of the year. I’ve already seen some great decoration ideas on the Internet and I’m really excited to get started on it.

Looking forward to the break week and my upcoming third term.