Does anyone feel up to mentoring me? I'll be looking for help. I am a substitute teacher, MA in English, no teaching credentials, and I am being assigned to an ESL, ELL class starting tomorrow. From what I can gather, I'll be there through next week, maybe longer. There is no other teacher, but they don't want to make me any promises.
I'm working in an area that is probably 80% hispanic. Our entire district (las vegas, NV, Clark County School District) is over 50% hispanic in total. I have a few Spanish skills.
I went by the classroom today, and the sub showed me what the teacher left, and there were only two days of lesson plans. One is still left. It's an American Folk tale about Sloe Foot Sue. I'm sure that will work for a day. I don't know if I would choose something like that for ELL kids, but then what do I know about it? I have to look up "sloe." That's not a good sign for either of us.
There is no text. I asked the principal's secretary who I should report to, and she told me to go to the Special Ed teacher or the head of the English Dept. I don't know how much help they can be.
thanks for answering. These are middle school kids. I'm guessing I'll have 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. I will find out tomorrow if the former teacher only had one grade or all. Would they mix the grades?
Games? What kind of games? See, not having any teaching experience leaves me blank in this area too. I taught at the Univ. level, but this is a different animal.
What you're trying to do is make these kids functional enough in English so that they can attend normal classes. That means that they have to be exposed to a wide variety of normal everyday speech structures.
Just think about how you would go about teaching a toddler; first, there's a lot of speech IN CONTEXT. See if the kids can replicate given structures, for example,
Every student has one object, things common to classrooms or some things that you've brought in. Each student puts their item in a paper bag. The teacher models; "If I had what you have what would I have?"
While this may seem advanced, it's a game that even little children without much language can do, because, AND THIS TOO IS VERY IMPORTANT, minimal language will suffice.
What I mean is that even the weakest of the students can participate just by opening their bag and showing the item. What's important is that the structure be practised enough times 'til it's internalized. When it's internalized, they're well on their way to expanding that to other similar structures.
DO NOT use what you taught in uni to native speakers. Again, it's hard for me to offer specific advice because I don't know much about the students.
Good luck and don't get discouraged by what you feel was a less than perfect class. All teachers have them and ESL is something unto itself.
Oh, thank you, thank you. My mind was going in the direction of grammar because that's the way I learned foreign language. I understand now what's going on here. I'll let you know what happens today. We are in PST.
Thanks again for your help. I survived day 1 with the help of a teacher's aid who was great.
These are not what I consider ESL kids. They are mostly 8th grade, with a few seventh and one sixth grader, 80 kids total in 6 periods. While English might be a second language for some, they are all fluent and articulate speakers of English. They are just very poor readers.
Some of the kids are poor and homeless, and I'm guessing they have spotty attendance records and don't do well in any of their classes. The way the previous classroom teacher had this set up: Come in and write the agenda in their portfolios. When done, work on an editing sheet. Today it was a paragraph about Marie Curie. They were to find 10 spelling, punctuation, capitalization, etc. errors in the paragraph. Most could not find ANY without help. So, the aid and I went around and assisted the students with this individually. Tomorrow, we go over the paragraph as a group. The next day, a new paragraph to edit. Then when they supposedly found the ten errors, they went on and completed questions about the American Folk Tale, Slue Foot Sue.
We can finish this tomorrow, but I need to find the editing paragraphs if I plan to go on the same direction. I could probably stop now and move in a different direction, but I don't know if I want to disturb their routine. Some of the kids are ADHD and/or have other problems, but the problems are not severe enough to put them in a special education room. Any suggestions?
Within the game, they could be forced to practice certain structures that you find, in time, that they are deficient. By forced, I mean that you let them know that you, as their teacher want them to practice such and such a structure. It's then up to you to devise ways for them to do so, because at that age, imagination isn't their long suit, at least for things they "need".
If you don't mind, I'd like to hear from you time to time to see how things are going.
As they say in Japan, GANBATTE, DB!
I'm sorry. I don't understand what you mean about structure in a game. Explain, please.
There are five computers in the room for kids to use when the finish their work, but I have as many as 17 kids in one class, so that won't work all the time.
Believe it or not, today was my behavior problem day. The "white kids" get bullied to death in this school. One kid has an anger control problem and blew up. Fortunately, there's a coach next door. I called him over and he removed the kid.
I'm starting Monday a different way. I am going to read to the kids. I have found that they have no idea what they are reading, none! They try to answer questions about the reading material, and they are clueless. One of the editing problems was with "their," "there," and "they're," so I told them they WILL learn these next week. None of the kids could recognize the word misspelled, not one, even after I told them the day before in the same context. Sad, huh?
I heard (?) that kids whose parents read to them end up being better readers and writers than those whose parents do not read to them. Why not read to these kids every day? Can it ever be too late?
Thanks for your help last week. The school had some political problems and had to let me go. Apparently that class--Resource Room--was being handled by a "support staff" employee before me. The word got out that they hired a "substitute" or "guest teacher," and the principal caught some flak. I guess they are now required to put a support staff person in there. There is always a second person in there, an "aide" who has a college degree.
Isn't that sad? I really thought I could make a difference there. Throw away the person with the Master's Degree in English for the Music Major and Special Ed teacher.