Sunday, 27 September 2015

Reflections of the first week back to school

The first week of the school year has just finished and I just want to note down my thoughts and experiences I shared with my students while I am enjoying my weekend free of lessons.
It has been a week full with timetable arrangements, meetings with parents, lesson plans, coursebooks and their components and colleague meetings.
But the most enjoyable moment was when I came up with the idea to introduce our school mascots. It popped up quite accidentally, actually. In our Creativity Room I discovered two old toy puppies in the boxes with crayons, markers, dolls and cartons. And I thought, “Why not? I will start the first day of our lessons with them.”
I went into the classroom and first I introduced myself. Some of the students know me already but there are new ones as well , who would get to know me as a teacher in action. Then I let them find out more about me and their classmates by using question games. But this is another post, stay tuned ! And then the big moment came… I took out of a bag the two mascots. I could see their excitement and their curiosity right from the beginning.  I shared my names- for- the- mascots finding  puzzle  with them. Could they help me find some for our puppy mascots? But there was a condition. The names should be relative to our school or classroom. We had a good laugh while they were brainstorming with the most inventive names, like Mr Pencil and  Ms Pen or Mr Laptop and Ms Mouse.  You can imagine how proud I felt when they finally agreed that we should call our mascots Ms Jo and Mr George, their teachers. We are the core of the school after all, aren’t we?  And I, wholeheartedly, believe that teachers are the soul of a school, not the teaching means or technology.

At this point I would like to stress the advantages on introducing a mascot in the classroom based on my reflections:
  •  It can work as an icebreaker and teachers encourage their  students to speak.
  •  A useful interaction tool between the teacher and the students and among the learners.
  •   It can be applied in all language levels and ages.
  •      It can be connected to any topic-related words.
  •      Learners feel relaxed and express themselves effortlessly.
  •     Most learners are familiar with mascots.
  •  They feel, especially the youngsters, a special bond between them and their school.
  •    With all  classes , mascots can be used  as the reward awarding agent  instead of the teacher ( and they find it really amusing !) , as well as a way to draw attention to student  (and teacher ! ) errors.

The mascot can be anything , a toy , an umbrella full with stickers with the students’ names on ,any of the multitude of objects found in a school.

All in all , it was an enjoyable experience for both my learners and myself , and it is definitely worth trying with your classes.