Today, I have started the day meeting the teachers in the unit I am responsible for. There was nothing new I had to share with them, so I thought today’s meeting could be an opportunity for everybody to reflect on their experiences with their A-Repeating students.
Following the greeting and exchanges of good wishes for the new week, I felt my colleagues were in a good mood to share. Therefore, I explained to them my plan, and all of them agreed without hesitation. The first question I posed was about the best lesson they had had so far with their students. Although I knew it was not an easy task to come up with the memory of such a lesson with highly de-motivated learners, they did not have trouble remembering, and they even remembered more than one lesson.
When we began to share, we all saw that all good memories were of lessons taught in an integrated way. We also realized that all those best lessons had been carefully planned to go with the students in center. There was no doubt that students were the doers in those marvelous sessions. Most importantly, my colleagues were obviously aware that they could create the results they wanted when they really wanted to do so.
Another good thing about sharing anecdotes regarding our best lessons was that we all learned about each others’ classroom practices. We heard from one another about the ways to make our lessons more attractive and learner-centered. I, for example, found out about a couple of new techniques to teach my students listening and vocabulary which I will be happy to share with you in the posts to come.
After discussing the best times with our classes, my next question required reflecting upon the worst ones and asking ourselves and each other how we could have done it differently. Every member in the unit responded to this task as positively as they had done for the previous one. It was outstanding to see that teachers were sharing with their colleagues even the most unpleasant moments in their classes. In fact, the best thing about that was that nobody was criticizing nobody, instead everybody involved was empathizing with each other. Moreover, we were all making suggestions and showing clearly how much we cared about every individual in the group.
As a result of reflecting upon the negative times with our classes, we were aware that we were not alone when we made mistakes or when students gave us some really hard time. Also, we concretely understood that it was in our hands to make something good or bad, and we could always get help from another colleague when we thought we needed inspiration. Through the suggestions made, it was realized that there could be different ways of approaching any one problem, so every problem actually had a solution, which we might not notice at first glance.
Finally, my own reflection upon the meeting today is that I have managed to give to the teachers in my unit the sense of belonging. They are not the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle any more, but they are the picture that appears when all the pieces are brought together in the correct order. When I am with them, I see a team, and that team is strong enough to overcome any obstacle and never let any one member feel lost. This being the case, I can certainly be more optimistic than ever about creating the difference I dream of every day of my life.