Our teacher trainee said that he previously thought that teaching was easy and straightforward. Now, he worries each day that he hasn’t planned the lesson correctly and he worries that he isn’t doing a good job of teaching.
I decided that I should incorporate training wherever possible by asking the teachers to think critically about how they could use or adapt the activities in their own classrooms. This critical thinking didn’t need to be done in English and therefore was more of an exercise in implementing active learning within the classroom than a test of knowledge.
The teacher trainee came in unprepared for class. Two days later, the same scenario. I felt frustration that we had planned this information yet we were not working to the plan. Where was the plan that we had meticulously poured over? My repeated mantra of the past 4 months has been that planning is paramount. My trainee knew that the lesson was not as good as usual.
Culturally, Myanmar people do not like saying ‘no.’ They do not like to disappoint the other party, and they work in a hierarchy which means that a pupil giving feedback to a teacher is unheard of, unless the feedback is ‘it was great, all great. You are a wonderful teacher!’
Ever since I arrived in Myanmar, I have been all too keenly aware that caning the children is common practice. Brandishing it menacingly is even more normal than using it to strike an unruly child.
Van and I assumed our position at the back of the cold classroom. Each classroom is where the students learn, sleep and socialize. This is evident from the rack of brightly colored fleece blankets suspended above us on a hanging rack and in the corners of the room out of the way for daytime.
During our excursion, Van suggested undertaking the English lesson we had planned, which involved collecting items from the forest to compare using the target language. However, there seemed to be a general feeling of lethargy among the group of teachers and rousing anyone to perform such tasks seemed out of the question.
I have coeliac disease. As long as I am in control of what I cook and eat, however, I can avoid any problems.
I have one advantage over the local teacher, that is to say I have no bias towards the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ children. I really dislike labeling students as good or bad; they each have different talents and learning styles.
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