I can’t remember when i exactly started wanting to do something different, but i remember when i decided to do something about it. It was watching as my class sat quietly and did worksheets in my lessons on a Friday,
I walked around and thought how much are any of us are enjoying this, whats going to happen to that work by the next day, will they or I remember it. It is unlikely, I work in Hong Kong and worksheets are a staple of every students day here. Now, as i still work here and plan on continuing, I am not going to be over critical of this, worksheets like ‘busy work’ has its place, I feel that that place is somewhat smaller and less important than it currently occupies though.
I have been doing this job for almost 10 years and for the most part its enjoyable, the kids are great, the city is exceptional and the conditions are enviable. Yet i was getting bored, and it was affecting my work. There was no shining light, or Dead Poets Society moment, it was just a thought that i needed to change what i was doing in class, or look for something else to do completely.
Fortunately for me and my mortgage, i chose the former, probably after watching and taking to heart all those TED Education videos i was watching on YouTube rather than planning more engaging lessons, but i decided to do something a little more fun In my classes the next week.
So i walked in the next week carrying 10 Android tablets, the best effort at a Kahoot quiz i could do on my first try and attempted to do game show lesson with thirty three eight year old children.
It didn’t go well.
None of us knew what were doing, the children were over excited and i was in over my head, but that was the first lesson. I had five classes of the same year group. So figuring i was in for a penny, I walked in again to the next class the next day. This time five of my colleagues had been recruited in the staff room to be my test audience, surprisingly competitive for a short and long vowel quiz i thought but better enthusiastic than indifferent they worked their way through it and even asked how i made it. I was very very far from explaining that at that stage! Lessons learnt, I walked in to the next class and we game-showed our way to a great lesson, the next even better. I was getting the hang of it, teaching myself and them as we went along.
Now how ever many years on it is I may not get the same feeling of achievement every time i do something different in the classroom, and i may wheel out tried and tested lessons mixed in with some new ideas, but when i look around my classroom now, even if i have worksheets spread around, both the students and me know that it’s the exception not the rule.
I was late to the party, but I’m pleased I still chose to go