April 7, 2007 (SJ)
Today is a miserable rainy day. The students seem to trickle in as stray raindrops after abandoning their umbrellas at the front door.
My next student is taking a man-to-man lesson. Before she even looks up from the depths of her coffee mug, I can tell that she is probably still half asleep. The rain has that affect on people.
I invite her into the prepared classroom, taking note that she clutches the coffee mug like a life preserver. This isn’t the first time that we’ve met. In fact, I see her in my classroom every Saturday afternoon. However, she is rather shy and takes a few minutes to warm up in order to switch over to speaking English.
A 3.15 – I’m broke
After she is comfortably seated, I ask how she is doing and discover that she has had another late night of partying. Last night was particularly tiring because she arrived home at a very late hour in the morning and hasn’t slept since. Yet, she still found the motivation to come to the school to learn English. I don’t want her to go home feeling disappointed so I inquire as to how the party progressed. After she has given me a brief recap, I take the opportunity to use the information she has given me to jump into a review of the previous lesson’s [One Point]. She of course feels tempted to peek in her notebook for the proper response but I coax her into remembering without the visual aid. In the end, she responds smoothly with what had been locked into her memory last week. Seeing as how she has just been to a wild party, when I ask her how much money she has, she answers with “I’m broke.”
Routine 7: The Restaurant
I allow her to take out her notebook, electronic dictionary, and pencil case, as I begin to write up [Routine 7] on the board.
She recognizes the ‘L’ shape and immediately sets to work copying it into her notebook.
I then introduce the routine to her and run it through from start to finish while she listens attentively. Next, we go through it together and I pay close attention to catch any little grammar errors that might slip into her rendition. I break it down – piece by piece – and she stumbles here and there but makes proper notation of her mistakes.
Okay! Now she’s ready to try it from start to finish on her own.
She recognizes the cue that I give her and panics over being left to her own devices. No problem! This is only a sign of a lack of confidence. After a little joke to settle her back down and send her into a fit of giggles, she is ready to move on. Apart from a few grammar mistakes, which I take the time to correct and explain, she manages to get through it completely by herself. Afterwards, she takes a deep breath and relaxes, showing obvious pride that she has accomplished something that she originally hadn’t the confidence to do.
Now I dictate the questions and she copies them down into her notebook. I check to make sure she’s copied them down correctly. Then I get her to read them back to me and I model the answers. Then it’s her turn. I ask her the questions one by one. She responds without hesitation.
Intermediate – Questions
We now move into the item. I start to flip through the animal flash cards and she correctly identifies about 70% of them. Any that she isn’t familiar with, I jot down in the vocabulary box for her to add to her notes. After she is feeling relatively comfortable with the animals, I prepare the board for the questions lesson. We practice asking each other questions for a few minutes then move onto the textbook. There we go over possible questions to ask about animals and go over defining characteristics.
Once I feel the student is well-prepared, I begin to play a game of ‘Guess the animal?’. One person chooses a card and hides it, and then the other must ask questions in order to guess the animal. She has great fun playing this game and picks up a lot of useful words and phrases at the same time.
B 32 – Yesterday, I was happy because (A) took the trouble to (B)
I erase the board and write up the new [One point]. I give her the example, “Yesterday, I was happy because my friend took the trouble to help me with my homework.” She catches on quickly and nods. She makes up a sentence of her own, “Yesterday, I was happy because my mom took the trouble to make my bento.” I ask her for another example just to make sure she has understood. She uses her friend this time, “Yesterday, I was happy because my friend took the trouble to organize a fun party.” She has passed. I thank her for coming and she laughs, still not quite able to believe that she’s gotten through the 45 minutes so successfully. She in turn thanks me and leaves but I know that she will be back soon.