Thursday, January 29, 2015

Going back is hard...

I'll be the first to tell you that I *love* my job. I really do. But going back after 6 weeks off is hard! Especially after a busy, busy weekend.  Last Friday I had an all-day staff meeting. Saturday I had to drive 5 hours round trip to meet with the students from my online class. It's always good to get to meet them face-to-face, but boy does it make for a long day! 2.5 hours driving, 3 hours teaching, then 2.5 hours back home!

And Sunday. Sunday was the bridal show! I think my booth looked quite nice. I think I have a bigger table at the next event, which will help it look not quite so crowded. I met and talked to lots of very nice people, added a few dozen new names to my mailing list, and had a few women express interest in hosting a party! I've followed up with them and am crossing my fingers something will come through. 

The thing that most people liked about my booth was my (slightly obsessive) wedding day checklists. I had a list of ideas for things to put in a wedding day survival kit for your bridesmaids (pictured here). I also had a wedding day emergency kit checklist, and a bathroom basket checklist. All of the brides were very, very happy to get that handout and it will definitely be a staple in my wedding expo toolkit :) Next one is a mall show in February. Let's hope it goes even better than this one.

On Monday I started back at work. I've got some new students and that always changes the class dynamics, but I think it's going to be a good semester. This week we've gotten to know each other with a "find someone who" activity and by interviewing each other. I had my students come up with the interview questions themselves. In my evening class, we laughed so hard that my abs literally hurt afterwards. I love it. 

I mentioned in a previous post that I'm trying some new things in class. I'm starting the self-directed activities with my multilevel classes next week, but I started them with my level 0 students this week. My level 0 class is almost harder than my official multilevel classes sometimes because you make progress SO QUICKLY when you start from nothing. So my students who came in September saying "No English!" are light-years ahead of the student who arrived in the country a month ago and can barely tell you their name. Adding into the mix that a couple of the new students are pre-literate and it gets real interesting.  My students were very skeptical of the self-directed activities at first and really wanted me to tell them what to do. But after three days they are getting much more comfortable. I think it will be really beneficial for all of them.

My current new obsession for my level 0 self-directed activities is the game "Spot It!"  It comes in several different varieties, but it's great for a mixed group. On each card, there are several different pictures. Each pair of cards has exactly ONE picture in common, so the object of the game is to flip over two cards and try to find the matching pictures as quickly as possible.  Some students point to the pictures, others then help them identify them and say the names of the objects.  Plus it's been a great way for students of different cultures to interact with each other (I have two main ethnic groups and they tend to cling together). I've just picked up the alphabet one and the numbers/shapes one and I think we'll play one of those on Monday! 

And, finally, in "never a dull moment" land - there was a fire in the building I teach in today! They only ended up evacuating half the building (not my half), but it was a bit of an adventure as the fire trucks pulled up and the firemen starting coming into the building. I'm hoping for a little less excitement next week!


  1. Aren't you glad you didn't take the whole time off? You'd be way crazier.

    I think the games sound like a great way to introduce people to each other and also help them learn to be comfortable speaking in a group...or at all. Such anxiety.

    also..glad the place didn't burn down and no one got hurt, hope the firemen were cute ;)

    This is a test...I already commented but it disappeared so maybe it took and maybe it didn't? Hm. Well, doesn't hurt to hear from me twice I guess. Or it does. ;)

  2. Yes! Feeling comfortable in the classroom is, I think, the number one priority for language learning. No one is going to speak up and practice if they're not comfortable.

    1. That is so true. I speak English (mostly) and I don't speak up. ;)