Interview With Jessie, An Italian Language Teacher: Part 2

i_love_italy_heart_italian_flag1.jpgJessie on resources: as many EFL teachers do, Jessie teaches “in company” – well, okay, at a location different from the school she works for, in her case often at a local high school. She may even face more challenges than the average EFL teacher – whether the regular teacher in that room has left the board covered or hidden all the board pens depends on the day. Jessie travels with a small whiteboard (and presumably her own set of pens) in her car. She’s reimbursed for copies, but is responsible for providing any other resources she decides to incorporate.

Jessie on a cool, communicative activity – Verb Battleship:
She uses it with the different pronouns on one column and some different verbs on the other – to find out if a ship is there, one student has to conjugate a verb, and the other has to listen and be able to realize which “person” it is. Too bad English verbs only change in the third person – but you could do a list of tenses on one side and some irregular verbs on the other (present perfect passive, future continuous/write, make). She also makes frequent use of pictures, including some materials from ESL books that can be adapted.

Jessie on the highs and lows: seeing the “lightbulb” go off when a student finally gets something, and, when it happens, hearing back from former students such as after a successful trip to Italy. One low point was when she just happened to be having an “off” day and her boss showed up “to brush up on her Italian” for a trip. Jessie got a bit flustered and accidentally skipped the first two steps in a lesson on possessive pronouns (teachers aside here: I can very much relate to having an experience like this where you actually remember not just that you skipped something or made a mistake, but exactly what it was). Her students struggled a bit because of this, but she was able to return to it and deal with the missing stages in the next class.

And finally, Jessie on advice:

  • Over-prepare, especially for new teachers – there’s nothing worse than twenty minutes left with nothing to do
  • Have an extra game/exercise ready all the time which you can whip out during downtime.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – as the Italians say “Sbagliando, s’impara”: by making mistakes, one learns.
  • Have fun! – I might add, if you do, your students will too.

If you missed the first part of Jessie’s interview, check it out at Part 1.