Yesterday, I met my new students (A Repeaters) for the first time. Before I went into the classroom, I felt neutral and did not know what to think about the students waiting. Yet, I harbored optimism in mind and heart that I could make a difference.
When the time arrived and I walked in, I greeted my students and asked them about their feelings first. At that moment, they realized that I was to speak only English during classes and some of them expressed their concerns instantly. Despite that, I kept on speaking English and determination for resistance began to fade.
As classes moved on, the language spoken was half English and half Turkish. At times, there were students who refused to reply because they did not like my strategy. However, those students had to give up their obstinacy as more students were struggling to express their thoughts and feelings in English.
Moreover, I observed that pair-work activities I asked students to do were new to some of them. Therefore, I stood close to each pair formed to monitor how they were doing. It certainly helped me to make sure that the activities were done as required. Honestly, I felt like I could really lead my class to self-confidence.
As for how I tried to maintain their interest on what their friends were saying, I asked students to note down the answers given and report back before another pair spoke. I must also say that I gave positive feedback to my students at all times.
By the end of the day, I was content that I was able to begin to plant seeds of change in students’ minds. I knew this because the activities had gone well and the class had reacted to speaking English and pair-work positively. I was also hopeful that more students could get enthusiastic about lessons and contribute to synergy. All in all, I can say that it was the right thing to do to feel hopeful and harbor optimism for the new challenge.