It was Tuesday, June 12th—my very first teaching practicum ever. I was placed to teach at Hogares Crea, a conservative boys home. Their level was “starter,” and they were a group of six, rowdy teenage boys. They live there, therefore, they choose whether or not to be in English class that day. The ones who show up want to learn with all their might. The boys do not know a lick of English. “Starter” students typically have some basis of the English language, however, the knowledge that these boys displayed was slim to none. So, I provoked my adaptability for the entirety of the 45-50 minute lesson. Using filler words or phrases such as “now, we are going to…” is purely noise to them. The aim/objective of my lesson was for them to understand the present simple tense, positives and negatives. Something that seems so basic to learn, is not so basic when you have never taken an English class in your life or English is not your native language. Just getting one grammar point across was my new goal: the importance of placing an “s” on the present simple verb for third person singular pronouns. Baffled looks on all six of their faces, the philosophy of an ESL lesson underscores the importance of speaking. Just getting them to generate present simple sentences was a battle but they needed it. The more Student Talk Time produced, the more they remembered the grammar point. The more I talked “at” them, they absorbed nothing. Consequently, this was my first exposure to teaching a starter class, and in its exhausting, all-consuming procedure, I loved every second of it.
Observing my experienced teachers, Luke Panek and Melanie Lubinas at ITA gave me the tools needed to successfully perform the teaching practicums. After observing, the implementation phase was the most beneficial part of the learning process. Then, being observed from multiple experienced teachers fresh out of the TEFL course, I received such incredible feedback to use in my additional lessons. If and when I so choose to live abroad and teach English, I am well equipped to do so. I plan to teach English online following the course to gain more practical experience, while I finish my undergrad degree. I can wholeheartedly say that I am confident in my ESL teaching abilities to teach English to foreign language learners.