Thursday, April 15, 2010

a change of scene

In Chile, the students stay in one classroom, and the teachers move around. Students can develop a certain sense of territorial possession about their classroom, which the teacher then has to enter into as they try to take control of the class. That's one of the things that makes an English Opens Doors class unusual: we have our own dedicated classrooms, that we decorate and make into our own domain with our own rules.

Yesterday Marcela and I went down to the classroom for curso 1-C, at a groggy 8am. Marcela had just about put her stuff down when Rosa, the inspectora general, came in to give the class a long set of instructions. I caught about 30-40% of it, something about the school and the radio, and the students needed to move to a classroom with speakers. She left, and Marcela looked sort of resigned and said, "Okay, let's go."

Unexpected: the students started picking up the desks and chairs, with their stuff, and carting it all out the door and upstairs to the new classroom.

I walked over to Marcela and said, in English (we always speak English, because she needs the practice): "Is this as funny to you as it is to me?".

Without really smiling she said flatly, "Sometimes."

I was being insensitive, of course: she's extremely frustrated by the students' difficulty in learning, and stuff like this just cuts into her already-limited class time. I was too absorbed in my perception of it as something absurd and funny.

She said that the class was supposed to listen to a radio program on Tuesday (or possibly every Tuesday?), so they were moving to a classroom with speakers.

The new classroom did not appear to have speakers. Maybe one speaker, but it was just an unidentifiable black box in the corner near the ceiling, with no discernible wires.

Also, no radio.

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