Al Hocima, Morocco - There is a starting point for everything that matters in life. The point when one feels confused and dizzy with the hundreds of questions emerging in his mind, the point when the person asks himself: am I ready for this? Am I the right person to do this?
Al Hocima, Morocco – There is a starting point for everything that matters in life. The point when one feels confused and dizzy with the hundreds of questions emerging in his mind, the point when the person asks himself: am I ready for this? Am I the right person to do this?
Then they start wondering about what to do first and what to do last. It is exactly like the emotion the hard working students feel when entering the exam room and start questioning the correctness of all the courses they have been revising.
I have seen this firsthand as a high school English teacher. I have always thought that teaching is the most suitable job for me and that I can handle it, but when my first contact approached, I bombarded myself with an unlimited number of questions, and all the bad scenarios started to develop in my head. What if I have misbehaved students? What if I can’t explain the course well? How can I simplify language for them? Eventually, I decided to drop it all because by concentrating too much on the first contact, I’m actually devastating my self-confidence. So why not just take it easy and go with the flow. I just tried to be myself and prepared some ice-breaking activities to try and make the class go as smooth as possible.
On September 23, 2013, I had met my students. On my way to the high school, I tried to imagine my students: Are they innocent angels or dangerous demons? Should I put on the serious face or the ordinary one? And what should I do about their analytical eyes? They will be watching me so I should be careful about everything. These ideas were my central concern while walking to the high school for the first time
When I took my first step into the high school I made up my mind to be cool and take it easy, I’m going to be spontaneous because after all this is who I am and I can’t change that.
And there it is just few meters from me, class 4 where I would be teaching for the whole year. There were a few students standing in the door waiting for their unknown teacher of English. I went straight in, opened the door and asked them, “come in please”, and they all entered the classroom. I don’t know how to explain it, but out of nowhere I gained my self-confidence again, I felt comfortable and all my concerns gone away. It was like love at first sight, when the one is deeply depressed and meets that angelic person who can easily draw a big smile on his gloomy face, and suddenly all the sadness goes away.
My first impression of my students was quite good, that they were really innocent angels. Admittedly, they might be playing the role of well-disciplined students, but it takes a great talent of acting to show this much discipline and innocence. I started by simply presenting myself:
Teacher: “Good Morning Everyone.”
Students chorously: “Good Morning teacher.”
I said to myself that is a good start at least they are ready to say what they know, hopefully it will continue like that:
Teacher: “Welcome to the English class. I hope that we will all have a great year. My name, as it is written on the blackboard, is “Kasmi Hicham” and I will be your English teacher this year.”
Students in chorus: “Nice to meet you teacher.”
Ok that is quite encouraging, they are responding from the first session. I guess that their level of English is not that bad and I will not be talking to myself the whole year as it is the case of English teachers teaching some low level classes.
Teacher: “Ok, now since it is the first session I want each one of you to introduce him/herself. Have a look on this model on the blackboard and try to write the same paragraph about yourselves.” Students copied the text I provided for them and fill in the blanks with their own personal information. I asked them to go in front of their classmates and read their short paragraphs. It is like an introduction and a way to create a channel of communication among students. They were a bit shy when introducing themselves but they could handle it.
The second step was to ask them about their attitude toward English. A few students raised their hands to answer, but it is still better than my expectation. They said that they like English and they think it is very important, as it is an international language, but it is sometimes difficult for them. Admittedly, students are not that eloquent, they made some mistakes while expressing this but it demonstrates the absence of “participation-fright” for some of them, and their willingness to learn.
After few minutes talking about English, I realized that the class was over. It was time to say, “see you next class.”
This was the birth of my career, the first session. And it is undeniable that we don’t forget the first time we do something. The lover will never forget the first time he met his love, the father will never forget the first time he hears the word “Daddy” and the mother will never forget the first step of her baby. The teacher as well, will never forget his/her first class.
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