Monday, September 27, 2010

The students from Hell

This morning I dragged myself out of bed after a horrible night – almost no sleep, bad dreams,…the usual suspects. The day ahead looked anything but promising: 4 hours with “the students from hell”, followed by 2,5 hours of challenging language teaching to a bunch of electricians.

The students from hell have managed to spoil my last three weekends. I have them on Friday afternoon and on Monday morning. 2 groups of 12 adults following a one-year program to become “administrative employees”. And behaving like the worst 16-year olds I’ve encountered in my teaching career.

So this morning, when I found myself way too early in Midi station sipping coffee, I almost ran to the Thalys platform to jump on the next train to Paris – kind of a “let’s do a wild escape”. Of course, instead, I meekly went to school. My bag stuffed with lessons I once again spent hours on, in an attempt to get them motivated.

Right before the lesson however, I decided to throw all teaching methods and lesson plans overboard. I put the advanced ones into groups of three and made them write an essay.. I made the beginners write a Dutch dictionary with all the words they already know. So no fancy “communicative approach” but “bite your biro and sweat it out until you have at least two pages”.
It worked. I’ve never seen them work so hard. They were quiet and concentrated. They really wanted to do a good job. For next lesson, I’ve planned a test. I’ll have them sweat and work again. No more mercy.

And in the meantime, I have my set of 7 private “students from Heaven” – who deserve a mentioning here as well :-).

No comments: