One thing that my wife has mentioned is that I am weird. Okay… I confess. It’s true! I love to have fun with certain situations. Well, this can be a good thing, but in teaching it can also not be a good thing.
I learned that when things start to get too weird, then you start to lose the students. They will go out on a limb for you, but there is a certain point where they begin to lose trust. Trust is so important for a teacher. We depend on it everyday, especially in TPRS.
I got a little too weird today with my TPR and the students were starting to get a little weirded out. I noticed this and I had a little mini chat with myself. I came back after lunch a new teacher.
I have found that I am a knob twister. Once I get something I love messing around with it and wondering, “Ooh what will this knob do?” But sometimes you get into trouble when you tweak the knobs too much. I have found this to be true in the TPR phase as well as during storytelling. You can have fun, but in some ways you have to stick to the model, otherwise it gets too far out.
When I can back from lunch, I was focused and ready to try a different approach. This approach was fun, but not too wacky. I still kept my professional distance and enjoyed the beauty of the language. I also changed the pace of the class. It was much more fast and I had four people in different parts of the room doing different things.
The result was that I was achieve a fun, relaxing environment of CI without all the weirdness. It was great! I have to remember that students are forgiving and as long as I am not weird everyday for a month, I will be okay.
It is good to have balance in teaching and weirdness can be good. But weirdness has to be a small thing that comes unexpectedly. It can’t be the norm. When it is unexpected, then it can have power. When it is the norm, a teacher starts to lose the students.