Lesson planning

“I can tell that we are gonna be friends…” not. Umm, this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried. Teachers do more homework than their students.

Crafting a decent lesson plan wasn’t nearly so difficult for nutrition classes as for English. Granted, the lesson planning assignments for my TEFL course have been way more nebulous and we had no actual audience to practice on, while we knew at least the age and community of the kids for the nutrition presentation and had a specific topic. And they’re generally 3x longer. Ouch. But we’re learning so many cool things about how people process information and how to make lessons relevant and vary class activities!

Here are a very few of the best tips so far:

– Tradition does not have to dictate classroom tactics. Change up the seating arrangement if you want.

– Tradition is tradition for a reason. Make sure you think out the implications of changing the seating arrangement.

– Language learning is moving from rote memorization and grammar nazism to focus on spoken fluency. Don’t be behind the curve.

– Make sure you’re not the only one talking in the classroom. Make your students talk so that they can feel comfortable using the language in real time.

– Always Be Prepared. Ok, ok, that was the Boy Scout motto. But it works.



I think I’ve mentioned university classes at some point. We started back up again this week, and this is the result:

The Monkey Flower

I do love my nutrition degree in the main, but there are some classes that are a little bit hard to get through. About 1/3 of the way into this morning’s 8 AM I noticed an absolutely adorable little monkey in the purse of the girl next to me. Instant inspiration. This notecard is the story of The Monkey and His Girl. Written in script so tiny that I will never be able to decipher it and in the shape of some sort of fantastic flower that didn’t quite get finished plus a full-on double bird shape that now that I think about it looks more like a W than anything else. But there you go.

Oh, that story! He fell out of the purse and had an adventure with some apparently friendly rats, but she got sick and he knew he had to come back. Then the rats became a little too friendly and tried to kidnap him. It was a tricky escape. And lest you think that I paid no attention whatsoever to the lecture, I now understand that my teacher thinks the “Two Factor Theory of Herzberg” *might* need a little revision (I don’t really think it matters if you call them hygiene factors or motivators as long as you know how to use them) and “There is a job for you in the food service industry!”

Good to know.

A head full of dead butterflies

“Ok, you lead them. Go.”

Today I got to TA a class. Which was interesting, because I’d never taken the class before. You know that time on the first day of school when your teacher called you up to the front and told you it was your turn to teach? You don’t? Ahahahahaha….

It wasn’t as bad as all that. I’d TA’d for this teacher before and am doing it again for another class this semester. Good practice. And it was just an exercise class. But I had a stomach full of butterflies at the thought of standing up there to TA alone for the first time tomorrow, so when he asked me to lead the stretching exercises today all those butterflies migrated to my head and promptly fell over dead. I have a head full of dead butterflies.

It’s not as nice as it sounds. They rattle around a bit, and sometimes when the floor tilts they all end up pushing against one side. That hurts. Sometimes they start rushing upward in a big colourful wall that washes over everything and leaves a roaring blank. Then sometimes all those wings get swept out by an industrious little broom and everything cants back to rights again. That’s when I remember that this was good, it was a lesson in how to respond when life gets unexpected (always be ready to do your job), and that butterflies are still pretty dead.

Well, they are.