Going back to teaching old-school

So technology failed me. On Thursday, 29th October, plugging my laptop into a plug socket on campus, the fuse blew. I was left, quite literally, powerless. I did the class without a laptop and computer assistance. I’ve had the projector not work before, but had my laptop on with my slides and so I could read off those. But being very literally powerless was not fun. And the copy place on campus was shut for two days, which meant I had to go elsewhere to copy documents for my class. Walking round an electronics market showing people the fuse and them shaking their heads was not a lot of fun either. When a fuse eventually arrived, the cable still wouldn’t work, and so I guessed the charger was also dead. So I think had to get another charger (which arrived today – 12th November), ordered by a Chinese teacher at the school.

Actually though, and this is trying to see the positive in things, it couldn’t have happened at a better time. The following day, a Friday, I had four lessons, and this was me trying to get them into groups and discuss projects they will work on. I was in the same classroom all day, so arriving early before my first lesson, I put all my stuff on the board and then left it there. And the following week because of mid-term exams, there were no classes. Instead, I was on a seven day training course off campus, which meant no teaching (though there was a 30 minute micro-teaching bit I wasn’t aware of. I used my partner’s laptop for this as it involved co-teaching).

The lessons this week I planned so a laptop was not required. For the senior classes, they practiced their performance, so I didn’t need to show them many things. For Junior classes, however, topic was animals and without showing pictures of animals I’d be a bit lost. So I had to print out pictures and got the students to recognise them. I also had a lesson observation from my manager and a couple of Chinese teachers. The class had been planned to be without a PowerPoint, and so it was. In fact, the Chinese teacher said it was good that I had no PowerPoint as sometimes teachers zip through them quickly and students don’t have a chance to digest the information. In my class, I made full use of the board. Chinese classrooms have chalkboards, rather than whiteboards so I leave covered in chalk (especially all the different coloured chalk I used). The observation went fine – criticism I expected, but also some positives, like my ICQs (instruction checking questions) which was always something I forgot to do on the CELTA course.

I am also reminded too that during my CELTA, especially for the upper intermediate classes, I did not have access to a computer in class, so we did not do anything that involved a PowerPoint presentation.

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