Resolutions and Reflections

The first month of 2017 has given me a lot to think about as a teacher. At my school, students change schedules at the semester, so I might have students who had a different teacher first semester. I got A LOT of new faces at semester change, and lost a lot of faces at semester change. However, the change has given me the opportunity to refine some things I was doing semester one, and implement things in semester 2. So here are some things that I've decided to focus on:

  1. Classroom Management. My class is still noisy, but it's changed from a bad noisy to a good, productive noisy... Well most of the time anyway. I feel that this semester, I've been finding my groove with classroom management. The distinction between being a jerk, and being firm in order to control class has always been something that I've struggled with. While I don't quite have complete control over that quite yet, it's much better. This started with discussing class expectations EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

    In short, the expectations I posted are: Listen/Read with intent to understand, stop me if I'm incomprehensible, only talking when addressed as individual or as a class, look like you're paying attention, be respectful, and be interesting. I think my students were starting to recite my spiel with me because they were hearing it so much. I think starting the class with the expectations was a game changer for me. And I will continue to review expectations.

  2. Enhancing Comprehensiblity. Last semester I did an awful job checking for comprehension. I did not do NEARLY enough comprehension checks.. I am ashamed of myself when I look back. Students aren't good at letting teachers know if they don't understand something. Even with me asking students to use our stop signal, they don't always do it. So I try to change that, instead of relying on students to stop me when they don't understand, I try to rely on students telling me when they DO understand. I ask a yes/no question to the class. I only hear 5 out of 28 voices. I slow WAY down. To an unbearable slowness until students ALL answer. It's helping me enhance comprehensibility because I'm getting more feedback on what is comprehensible and what is not.
  3. Textivate. I am loving textivate this semester. I'm using it to supplement class and give more for the fast processors/4%ers to do when they're getting bored. I'm still figuring out which activities are best for students when we do a story. But it's helping me get the vocab from the book to students in a more interesting way. Even if they don't retain the vocab in the long run, at least they've been introduced to the vocabulary that I have a hard time delivering through CI.
  4. Customization/Personalization. I'm trying to get better at making class more compelling. That is, I created a story with a class the other day and I was engaging students I have NEVER engaged before. It was magical. I need to do more PQA to find out what is truly compelling to some other students. That's when customization and or personalization comes into play. Terry Waltz talks a lot about customization and personalization in her book TPRS with Chinese Characteristics, which is a great read for any language teacher, not just Chinese.

TL;DR  I want to work on classroom management, do more comprehension checks, use textivate more effectively, and be more compelling to more students.