Welcome, or welcome back as the case may be. It’s been three weeks since we saw each other or, for four of you, it’s your first time in this class.
This first day, then, it will be important to do a group activity – something that helps us get to know and feel more comfortable with one another. Other people are a useful resource, you see. Use them and allow others to use you! People can help one another achieve what they want to achieve. You might be shy and that’s okay – I am too. But we need not act shy, even if that is our nature. If we act as if we are confident and unconcerned then that will have the same effect as actually being a confident and relaxed person.
Some teachers write their class letters. I have too, but only for today. After this, I will write to you via a Blog which you will need to access on the computer. Go to http://www.williamclassblog2006.blogspot.com/ and you will find it. If in the future you wish to avoid having to type in such a long address, save my site as a favorite. The trouble is, you will need to do that on every computer that you use. Later I will show you a way around that. I will show you how to save the addresses of all your favorite sites in a way that allows you to access them from any computer. I will also show you how you can know whenever I have written anything new, so that you don’t waste time looking and finding that I haven’t written anything new.
Have you had a good holiday? I haven’t! No, it’s true! For the first two weeks I was involved in moving our school – exciting but tiring. Around the class you will see one or two unpacked boxes still, and we need to put some posters on the wall. Let’s make this room ours.
As well as moving schools, I had to prepare a presentation that Susan, Lindsey and I gave at a conference at Napier at the end of September. Sure, flying up was fun, and I met a lot of interesting ESOL teachers and heard a lot of interesting ideas about how and what to teach. I’ll tell you about that during the term. As I say, it was fun, but very busy. Our accommodation was not the best and some of us found it hard to sleep. Barbara and I each became sick when we returned. I believe that we caught a virus called the New York ’flu. I’ve had a bad cough and a runny nose for the past week, and I’m still not fully over it. It’s only because of my dedication that I’ve come to class!
Look, I don’t want to overwhelm you on your first day. Little by little we’ll settle into our new routine. Today, after reading this letter and doing whatever group activity I select from a textbook I shall set some sort of orienteering exercise – perhaps a Treasure Hunt.
You may feel that your English has slipped and feel nervous about being ‘caught out’. Well, don’t worry, I won’t put anyone on the spot. To tell the truth, every teacher feels that he or she has lost the ability to teach after a long break too!
One very good concept that I heard about at the conference was language planning. Language planning means that the teacher gives the student enough time to prepare a response so that the language produced is richer and fuller. I shall ask you to think about what topic you might present at the end of this term (remember, you are working towards giving a 5-min oral presentation for your assessment. I’ll give you approximately five questions about your topic to prepare answers for after which you will, as if by magic, have traveled 20% of the way towards your goal!
Trust me – I know what I’m doing.
Trust each other.