(America’s Next Top) MODEL SCHOOL!!
Week 3 was our first week at our training sites! My site is called New Parade Training Center (henceforth known as NPT) and despite the name, is not new at all and we aren’t training to be in parades. We’re training to become amazing English teachers!
Here’s a picture of most of our NPT trainees — Christina, Carl, Zahra, Kati, Damien, Amanda, Travis, Kelly, Cameron, Leah, Minette, Colton, Julia, Ryan, Nicole, and I! Smack dab in the middle is our Site Manager Zhong Lan, who is amazing!
Weeks 4 and 5 of Pre-Service Training, we were knee deep in Model School! We had to pair up with another trainee so that we could co-teach the class, and my phenomenal partner was Nicole. Now, if you’re another NPT member reading this blog post, Imma let you finish, but Nicole Foster is the greatest Model School partner of ALL TIME!
Model School was not actually a class where we taught our Chinese students how to walk the runway, smize (smile with the eyes, of course), or participate in cat fights, but was actually our first shot at practicing teaching Chinese students.
We decided to make our class focus on Oral English with a concentration on comparing American and Chinese culture, so before our first class we had to come up with general themes for all of our classes and divvy up the days. Nicole and I taught the first and last classes together, then alternated days in between.
We had no idea going into these two weeks how good our students’ English level would be, we just knew that they would be around 16-17 years old. We had the bare minimum of resources—a small white board, four whiteboard markers, a small desk for our things, 20 desks we had to arrange in a tight space, and an air conditioner that pointed in the wrong direction so that it was always hot teaching in the front of the classroom. These conditions were very similar to my previous job at Manos Unidas, so I wasn’t devastated not to have a projector, computer, speakers, and so on, but it was quite a challenge squeezing 19 students into a room so small.
Nicole and I came up with about 40 names featured in Disney films hoping the students would pick them… The only student who picked a very Disney name was Cinderella.
We were very surprised after our first class how good our students were! They were quick to understand activities, they spoke English very well, and they were super entertaining! Teaching them was almost too easy.
We started with 19 students and despite our wishful hoping that we would lose some and be able to take some desks out of the room, we only lost one student over the course of two weeks. That one student didn’t drop out because she didn’t like us, but because she had to go back to her hometown for vacation. So, that means that Nicole and I are amazing teachers—or the students just really wanted the certificates saying they attended our class. I’m going to keep believing it’s the former.
We taught classes on American hobbies, animals, sports, diversity, holidays and traditions, movies, music, families, and food. My favorite activity probably happened during my class about American movies. I passed out movie titles that already exist (i.e. Dumb and Dumber, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the Princess Bride), and had the students make a skit acting out what they thought happened in the movies. It was so hilarious! I filmed most of them, so look for some videos in the coming days. :)
Apart from teaching, we also had to observe at least two other people teach their classes. I observed Kevin, Jimmy, and Nicole, of course, and they’re awesome! NPT is an incredible group!
Check out our shabby classroom and amazing students!
Despite the sometimes exhausting amount of lesson planning and prep work, the two weeks flew by and we had to say goodbye to our lovely students last Friday.
Their final assessment was to make a speech about one of the topics we learned about, and they did really great. After that, we played Jeopardy, passed out their certificates, and gave them candy. The students said a lot of sweet things about us and we posed for a million photos with them. At some point it was easiest just to stay in one spot in exactly the same pose and wait for a student to jump in for a photo.
Nicole and I with one of our students, Crystal!
Today was our first day back at NPT, and it felt strange not teaching our students. It felt good to teach again, and it made me even more excited for full time teaching in the fall, wherever that may be!
Now we’re back to lots of language, mock Language Proficiency Interviews, TEFL sessions, and SITE PLACEMENT INTERVIEWS! On Wednesday, I have my Site Placement Interview (which will last a mere ten minutes), and then we find out our permanent site next Thursday. The weekend after that, we’ll start to visit our sites. I’m excited to find out where my Chinese home will be for the next two years. :)