Have you ever asked your students for feedback and been disappointed when they said everything was great or fine?
In a past life (prior to Zoom teaching), I wanted to get some feedback on how my lessons were going. So I asked my students how they were feeling about their lessons by getting them to draw emojis (happy / sad / emotionless - does this express frustration or is it neutral?). They also had the option to write a short note to me anonymously if they wished. They all said positive things, but I still wasn’t feeling inspired.I had a feeling that the lessons had not been going as well as I’d hoped. The course book hadn’t really inspired me, and I was feeling that work was becoming a grind. What to do?
So I set to work self-reflecting and some questions I wanted answers to were :
Why did that lesson feel really flat?
How do I connect with my students more?
What can I do to make my lessons more exciting?
How can I feel a sense of achievement with what I have done?
One of the best pieces of advice I was given was to do what you feel is interesting. Or more specifically create lessons where you want your voice to be heard.
During my CELTA, we were bombarded with the message that activities had to be designed to be student centred but sometimes if you remove yourself too much from the lesson the sense of achievement diminishes.
Here are some discussion activities that have worked for me during lockdown:
The first is this Guardian Article:
The article highlights how you can beat lockdown blues. Students predict a list of ways to beat boredom then these are checked against the advice given in the article. This can lead to lots of interesting discussions on what the students are doing themselves at this most unusual of times.
The second requires you to look through your phone/social media account and give a mini presentation on a photo that reminds you of a time in your life that was important to you.
The third one came from a post that was on my Facebook about random acts of kindness.
Get students to discuss whether they would consider doing these things – are they practical or are there any pitfalls to them?
In summary by making sure you choose something you love to teach, you are less likely to fall out of love with the lessons you are designing and your interest with transfer onto your students! 😊