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My First Observation Report As An ESL Teacher Trainee

Tarih: 04.01.2022 00:01 Okuma Süresi: 8 dk. 0 sn. Yazar: Cloud

Hedeflerin için koşmak zorunda değilsin.”

The days had passed… For the first time in my life, I went to the dry cleaning store next to my house in Kurtuluş. I took the suit with me. I ironed my shirt carefully when I came back to my home, as I had practiced it with my mom at the summer holiday. Later on, I put the suit with the shirt in it into my wardrobe and waited for the next day to come.

I’ve always had various feelings when it comes to being a teacher at an institution. This is partly for the reason that my grandfather and my great-grandfather were teachers. So, as soon as I learned the results of my university entrance exam back in 2015, I felt as if it was sealed in my fate to be a teacher. Nevertheless, I had never seriously thought about being a teacher before I went to that dry cleaning store and did all that routine to prepare my clothing. The day that I was destined to experience came, and I wore my suit, my wristwatch that I inherited from my grandfather that he used to wear when he was a teacher, and I went in front of the mirror to take a photograph of myself to eternalize that unique moment of my life; that I was going to a school with a title that had the word ‘teacher’ in it. I sent the photograph to my mother and I made my way to Hacettepe.

I entered the teachers’ room (I was the second teacher who came there that day). Although I’m a chain smoker during stressful times, I hadn’t even brought my cigarette box with me in order to avoid exploiting the natural beauty of the environment that I had to go. I didn’t even want to carry that cigarette smell to the classrooms with me. I didn’t want to run into a contradiction in those students’ mind; that I am a smoker who’s talking about healthy life, strong minds and the future. Thus, I started playing the bağlama in the room while waiting for my mentor teacher to arrive. During those moments, I was able to observe the relationship between the teachers of the school while I was gently playing the bağlama (only to be listened by myself). As an individual, I don’t mind being greeted at morning times. Starting to a day without “Günaydın!” is not much of a problem for me. Yet, what I observed in the morning there was that all the teachers were greeting each other, and they were probably doing this ceremony for decades. Some of the teachers also greeted me, and the school principal greeted me privately, coming next to me to listen to my music and to do a handshake. I felt his professionalism at that moment, and I thought to myself that being a principal requires to be in close touch with those who feel like a stranger in a new place, let it be a workplace or a government office. Later on, my mentor teacher came in and we headed to the classroom.

She introduced me to the children, and she wanted to show her students’ progress by getting the students to talk with me. I felt their shyness to talk to a stranger and I wondered how long it would be for them to overcome this fear: to talk with a stranger in a different language. Of course, some will be proficient speakers of English, while some will struggle to be so. While I was specifically thinking about the ways to eliminate shyness of talking in English on the chair that I brought with me to the class, what happened next gave me the shock of my teacher career. A student, who had been drinking milk for about 5 minutes, puked on the floor. I remember the day that the instructor of ‘Clasroom Management’ course saying that whatever we’d learn there would immediately be forgotten as soon as we got into a real classroom environment. Also it was you, Mrs. Eröz, who told us that it might not be so easy to apply our classroom management knowledge into real life situations. I don’t remember the page number where we got any information about how to deal with such case, or did we have any? Thus, I waited for about 10 seconds for the mentor teacher to deal with this situation. Then, I informed the teacher about it and she asked me to call the janitors of the school. The immediate solution to the problem was predictable, yet she didn’t ask for any further help. I thought that as soon as this lesson was over, I should talk with the kid. He seemed OK. His friends didn’t even care that he puked to the floor, which was something strange. He even commented on this, saying: “Lanet günümdeyim. Lanet günüm kutlu olsun.”. It was obvious that they weren’t caring about their actions from the perspective of other people. There wasn’t even a need for that. Everything in this school was instantaneous. I’m thinking that if I had to experience such an incident at a high school, the kid who puked on the floor would be a life-long story among his friends. Later on, I got used to the students and spent my break time with the students, instead of going to the teachers’ room.

In the break time, I was able to learn more about their dynamics and their inner motivation to be in the school. The main reason was having fun with friends, nothing more. Yet, there were some students that had some strange behavior. One of them, D…, wasn’t talking at all. She doesn’t speak with anyone and communicate in the class hours. I, as a person who had escaped being bullied lightly during my elementary school years, partly because I was built but softhearted in behavior, have a special interest in this girl, so as to know why she doesn’t speak at all. After the class hour, I sat next to her to review what had been done so far. I reminded her the topic of the previous hour and asked her to write down a sentence to introduce herself in English. She didn’t reply to me, and I wrote down the sentence “My name is……” by myself on her book and asked her to complete the blank. She wrote her name, and that was all. At that moment, the other students of the class were in the vicinity and they were informing me about how silent and irresponsive she had been up to that day. I sent them away, and also left her alone. Expectedly, she didn’t leave her chair for the next two hours.

As a preservice teacher, who doesn’t feel like being a teacher at all, I can delightfully say that I’m going to do my best to be that teacher in that Indian movie, who doesn’t ignore his student who has dyslexia and touches his life so deeply that the kid revives from the burden of going to school. Currently, I have no idea about her ideas about the school system, but I’m going to learn more about it in the upcoming weeks.

To sum up, it has been a unique experience for me to be in such a position, maybe for the first and the last time in my life. I’ve already sensed that the main reason that I can’t be a teacher at elementary school level is that I can’t transfer my world knowledge, my interests and my ideas to those kids who haven't even completed their cognitive development. Yet, I’m always ready for some reality changing experiences.

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Tags: #trainee, #intern, #english, #teacher

My First Observation Report As An ESL Teacher Trainee
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