“Sometimes nothin’ is a real cool hand,” said Paul Newman in the film which took its title from that line. That can be interpreted more than one way, I suppose, but here’s one significant thing that happened today.
It was my last class. I was burned out, they are 2nd graders, 7 and 8 years old, and I spend far too great a portion of it pulling children out from under desks, asking them to get down off the tops of the desks, trying to get the silent ones to say something and the rest of them (by far the greater number) to shut up. One exercise I have become dependent on, maybe over dependent, is flashcards. There are any number of ways you can play, but with this group basically they are all just shouting out whatever the picture is and I’m happy enough that most of them know words like ‘elephant,’ ‘apple’ and ‘window’ that all ambitions off teaching things like full sentences drop by the wayside.
Well, if that wasn’t abdication enough of my responsibility to teach the ungrateful little ankle-biters English, one girl, who is of the doesn’t talk much camp, asked if she could be the one to show the cards; in essence, to play teacher. Not wanting to be and , too tired for an argument, I said yeah, sure. Of course that meant that a whole bunch of other students immediately made the same request, and now could not be denied, because once you’ve opened the door, you’ve opened the door.
Basically, all she had to do was say “Ready, steady, boom!” as she flipped over each card (they can all do the Mr. Watson impersonation pretty good) and decide which kid to give the card to when they all shouted out the answer at once.
But, that’s something. Also, it gave me a chance to stand at the back of the room, move around a bit, and keep the ADHD contingent under some semblance of control.
I wouldn’t say it was a great lesson, but we got through it without me actually screaming, and most of the kids had a good time, which is important. I don’t want them to think learning English isn’t fun.