RTBC Day Eleven: The teacher becomes the student

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Reflective Teaching Blog Challenge – Day Eleven: What is your favorite part of the school day? Why?

10649926_10152559137769864_8441221113442122044_nRather than a favorite part of the school day, I have a favorite day of the school week: Wednesdays! I absolutely love Wednesdays because that’s when I, the teacher, become the student–literally. The librarian at my school speaks excellent English and has graciously offered to help me learn Korean. So on Wednesdays we sit down together for an hour or so and she patiently leads me through the basics. And while she does so, students usually wander in when they have a break between classes.

This is where it gets really fun. When the opportunity presents itself, the librarian snatches a hold of an unassuming student, sits them down across from me, and coerces them into a brief langauge exchange. They listen as I say sample sentences/words in Korean, then I listen while they produce the English translation. For some of the kids, especially those with low English levels or a mortal fear of speaking, it’s the longest 2 minutes of their lives. But for most of them, they seem to enjoy the opportunity to interact with me in this informal setting, and they certainly get a kick out of the foreign teacher trying his hardest not to slaughter their native language. It’s during these short exchanges that I feel like I build better rapport with students, and show them that I too am struggling with another language. It’s my hope that as I continue to teach them in class, while also learning from them on the side, we’ll establish the kind of trust and familiarity that is needed in every successful foreign language classroom.


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