Jasmin took Krista and me on a tour of the school as soon as we arrived and introduced us some of the teachers and principle. The school is very small and has two classes per grade. Our first lesson was a PowerPoint presentation on Buffalo to the 7th graders. As much as I enjoyed going the presentation they could not understand us due to the language barrier. However, they’re working hard on learning English. We sat in on the 1st and 3rd grade classrooms. The students had a hard time saying my name but they Tuesday, most students would come up and say “Hello, Taharra”. That made me feel so good.
For the rest of the week we read stories (Pete the Cat and A Color of His Own) to both 4th grade classes, played 7 Up Heads Up with the 1st and 2nd graders and presented a PowerPoint presentation to the eighth graders. With all of those lessons, the students enjoyed it a lot. They asked a lot of questions, made comments about the stories, predicted what going to happen next, had fun guessing who push their thumbs down during 7 Up Heads Up and loved learning about the food, buildings and festivals about Buffalo. Sometimes Jasmin or some of the other teachers who spoke English very well translated what we were saying to the students and vice versa. Between observing and doing lessons, the students very much enjoyed doing them and having Americans visit their school.
Here are some things that I noticed throughout the week at the school:
1. School is starts at 7:45 and ends at 12:55.
2. The children have a 15-minute break from 10:15-10:30. They can go outside and play and have a snack.
3. The children do not have to line up when they leave their classes. They just grab their book bag and then they off to another class or taking a mini break.
4. The teachers do not have to yell for the children to be quiet. All they have to say is please be quiet and the children will stop talking.
5. The children love to sing before or another doing an English lesson, especially the first and second graders.
6. The first and second graders have school in a separate building, which is down the street from the school.
7. In between classes students can take a mini break.
Observing those things made me wonder why we have such a lack of trust when it comes to our students. Why do we always have to keep things so structure? Why do we not give students recess or time for some breaks? How can we expect our students to sit in their seats for an hour without letting them stretch or take a break? I know that when I become a teacher, I could like to incorporate some of the things I noticed in the school in Germany such as giving children more breaks, giving them the freedom to express themselves, making my lessons much more engaging and not yelling so much.
It was good to observe other schools systems in a different country to get a perspective of how teachers teach and how students learn.