Thursday, May 5, 2011

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

One of my proudest teaching moments came last week when I found out that 5 kids representing one of my first grade classes won an English contest open to all students in Prague.  There were 12 groups who competed at the level of first and second grade, and my kids won!  They even beat the second grade class from their own school.  Most of the children had little or no exposure to English prior to starting school in the fall, so they have come a long way in just a few months.

Check out the video of their winning performance:

We spent about 2 months rehearsing these poems and songs with the entire class, and then 5 children were chosen to represent the group.  Some people have asked how the heck I teach English to kids who don't understand much or any English and I don't speak Czech.

Well, it's a lot of gesturing and repetition.  For example, I work with several kindergarten groups, most of the children never had an English class before this year.  In just 9 months, they can interact with me and understand basic commands (stand up, sit down, be quiet, stop, come here, pick this up, etc).  To learn these commands, we do things like have everyone jump (including me) and then yell stop and I put my hands out like a police person.  Then we fly, run, swim, etc doing the same thing.  They learn go and stop but they also learn fly, swim, and jump. So, later when you teach bird, fish, and rabbit, they know the actions that go along with the animals so they can mime the animals.  Many of the kids now can even request games that they know. Its really amazing to watch these little sponges soak up new information.  And unlike adults, they are generally not afraid to make mistakes, so they are more willing to try.

There are many proud moments in any given day or week when you work with over 200 kids.  Just last week, one of my kindergarten kids finally counted from 1-8 on his own (previously he'd been skipping 7 and going straight from 6 to 8), and when he said it all right, his face just lit up.  He KNEW he had said it right and he was super proud.  My reward for the kids is generally a high-five or exploding fist bump.  As his face lit up, he immediately put his hand up to give me a high five.  He didn't stop smiling for the rest of class.  I felt so proud of him in that moment, but also proud that I helped him learn his numbers.  After weeks and weeks of trying and not getting it right, with encouragement, he figured it out.  A little persistence and patience pays off in time.  I can see now that helping these kids learn English and celebrate those achievements with them is why I'm here doing what I'm doing.  I'm proud of their accomplishments, and I'm proud I'm here helping them achieve their goals and making English fun!

Our company shoots video often of us teaching so that parents can see what the kids are learning.  So, here are a few more recent videos of me for your viewing pleasure.


  1. Q, I love these videos of you teaching! Those kids are so stinking cute and I am so impressed with your teaching! I love to see how many different styles of learning you are incorporating! It looks like you are having a blast! Great job!

  2. Thanks Beth! I just saw this. :) Glad you enjoyed it and I appreciate the compliment from a fellow teacher. Hope all is well with you!