This is a picture of the door of my classroom. This is what my students see whenever they look at the door or when they leave my class.
As well, I have plenty of resources on the walls: phrasal verbs, grammar bits, functional language and lots of collocations & idioms. And I teach to groups of different ages so when my students come in they get fully immersed in the learning experience.
I strongly believe that teachers shape the future of younger generations therefore we are not only in charge of developing their skills but also we instil values:
Respect one another
Say Thank you, I’m sorry, Please
Keep your promise
Do your best!
The way you teach, the way you interact with your students, the way you decorate your classroom and even the way you dress, everything talks about who you are but most importantly it’s about how your students see you and what kind of role model you project onto their minds. Because, whether you like it or not, teachers are role models for their students. That’s a huge responsibility, isn’t it?
I haven’t given up on the dream of living in a better world, but I know that the process of change starts from within; we are all an equally important part of our society and we can all transform it with our behaviour, our attitude and our dreams, hence let’s never forget this:
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Now, that’s one big part of our job, the other one is teaching English. I was wondering one day how could I take advantage of all the information I have on the walls of my classroom and an idea came to my mind that proved to be of great value.
Once in a while, I ask my students to search for pictures or words/expressions/phrasal verbs on these walls. Of course, everything is a competition and I reward the one that finds it first with, well, paper money. You might have already read about my teaching “framework” in another post Have You Ever Danced a T-Rex Macarena?
Firstly, students move. They have to stand up and explore. Secondly, they have some fun as they giggle quite often. Thirdly and most importantly, they learn. They learn new words from the pictures ‘Find a piggy bank!’ ‘Look for a clothes peg!’ – ‘Teacher, what is a clothes peg?’ and they literally have to read a lot of words when they search for an expression ‘Find the idiom HIT THE BOOKS!’ ‘Look for a COUCH POTATO!’ – ‘Teacher, what is a couch potato?’
For the groups that prepare for a Cambridge exam, all the functional language on the walls is highly important. After a few weeks of training they know where to look for the information when they need it and their speaking skills develop considerably.
Good bye three thousand times of hearing I THINK, my students are now able to control this annoying habit and use other expressions like: I consider, To me, I believe etc.
Good bye simple structures like I agree, I don’t agree with you. Welcome I feel the same way, That’s a good point, I’m afraid I have to disagree and so on.
Well, taking this into consideration, I have to conclude and say that I am absolutely proud of each and every one of my students. They have worked hard, they have played even harder. We have all enjoyed our time spent together, we’ve been through good and sometimes not so good moments together and we have all learnt about ourselves, about working in a team and about how to communicate effectively.
That being said, it’s time to close the door on another school year and open it back again in September!
More teaching ideas here.