Today, after a late breakfast, Liz and I visited two of the schools here in Mannar, one an English medium preschool and KID Care, and the second St. Xavier’s College. In the morning, we went over to the English medium school with Brother Nelson who works there. After that, we had a little break before going over to meet Brother Augustine, the principal at St. Xavier’s College, and getting to visit a classroom with Douglas, a teacher there of 10th Grade students.
After visiting all of the classes at the English medium school, while Liz was using the internet, I went to visit a classroom in which the students were learning their letters. I then went on to a second classroom of students. They were doing the same activity. While the students knew their ABCs, as evidenced by singing with me before we parted, I don’t think that they understood what sounds they made or words to which they were linked. When I pointed at pictures in their books and said the words, connecting the sounds to an English word, many of the students looked confused. This seemed to be an activity that was focused on making the shapes of the letters. I wonder when they started learning them. It was clear, though, that the students were in the upper preschool grade, as they were very young, but had some familiarity with the letters. The lower preschool on site looked to be drawing today. In the 1st grade that we visited on the site, we did see the students completing sentences although how much they understood, I do not know. From my time at the school, it was clear to me that while I might be interested in trying to teach in those grades, it really is beyond my skill set, especially in regards to classroom management. Perhaps I would have been alright for a week, but I decided to go with comfort.
At St. Xavier’s, we had the opportunity to observe a class. There was a plan that was clear from the very outset. The teacher identified objectives, started with a hook of a game, then used what the students had developed to start a lesson on adjectives. It seemed to go a little fast, but the students followed along quite well. It was a great lesson and the teacher made clear connections to what would come as far as further work with adjectives. I would have planned to use those activities in the creation of metaphors and similes to enrich their essays with vivid descriptions. Still, with 6 students, I don’t think that it was a typical class. I saw a model exchange between a teacher and students rather than a typical classroom. I am looking forward to working in the classroom. I don’t know how that will go, though. Will the teacher on record stay in the classroom? Will we just be teacher’s assistants? Will we follow the government program/syllabus ourselves, crafting lessons to insert engaging activities? How will this work? I guess I will find out tomorrow when I go to school.