Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back to School

After a 'quiet' summer, the alarm bell announcing that first day of school can be a rude or a happy awakening. Whether you are a new or experienced teacher, heading back to school signals a time of transition: new students, new colleagues, new schedules, new syllabus as well as new official instructions. This new professional scene can make you feel either excited or stressful, or both at the same time.
' Dread it or love it ', we have to go to school and try to make, right from the beginning, a kind of transition from summer to school a little easier.
What is your biggest Back to School hurdle? What solutions work for you?


Miss Dalal Sarnou said...

It has been a long time since we left school, and I do miss my students, my school, everything in Boujemâa.
But I am somehow stressful because I am asked to give as much as I can to my students, much better than last year and sice I have one year of experience, I am expected to give more and more!!
Well, I just put in my heart the love of my students and of those whom I left behind, I mean those who passed their BAC exam and will live a new experience at the university!!
What I am afraid of the most, and see it as a burden, is those students who have failed in their exam, I mean how to face them!
Poor sons and daughters!! May God bless them with success this year Inchallah.
I just want to say that I owe a lot to my colleagues whom I met in the correction of the BAC exam papers.
I want to send a very big THANK to Mr. Louznadji my spiritual father for all he did to help those who are in need!!

Shukufa Najafova said...

I am from Ismailli, Azerbaijan. yes, you are right, we will soon begin a new school year and will tell about our work to the colleagues, students and of course to the head of school. The first day is very interesting at our school. The school director and other official persons welcome students especially the little ones and there is a welcome party at school . At the same time they speak about the school sucsesses. This year I myself and my school will participate in the competition of "The best teacher of the year" and "The best school of the year" and we will win . It is great sucsess for us . I have lots to tell them about my work this school year. And I'll also go to America for an exchange programme. Do you have such a ceremony in your school? Tell me about it please.
Kind regards

Chahrazed Boukhiar said...

It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and ensuring a successful school-year learning scheme calls for a well-set diagnosis at the very beginning, which enables teachers to set themselves specific targets and aims of their teaching strategy for the forthcoming year.
Doing this, however, has not always been such an easy task to tackle for teachers. If things go well for certain levels, classes or students, that does not seem to be the case for others. If some need a minute pre-learning phase, others are quite ready to embrace and take up learning through the prescribed syllabus of the year in question. Besides this difference in needs, I do believe that we, teachers, can’t be given a second chance to make a first impression as the saying goes, i.e. it is at this stage that teachers can really know how far their shoot may lead them.
In fact, for the sake of reaching both goals, I learnt to implement review sessions that go from general to specific taking into account the fact that the content should be skill-based lessons that brush up language in a smooth way through which both categories of students are allowed to fulfil their needs. The context of course is very important and since students have just come out of a relaxing atmosphere, the texts I come to choose deal with holidays. Short reports on people’s holiday activities do appeal to students especially if visual aids are used in the warm up or during the while-learning sections. As aforementioned, the four language skills are included in order so that students’ background English is assorted simultaneously. All along this flow, bits of vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation are reviewed to enable students on their part to reflect on certain points they had trouble assimilating beforehand. Ultimately, producing similar reports on their last-holiday activities, students are granted such an opportunity to put their potential in a real-life context, which caters for students and teachers alike.
Reaching this last phase, I believe, teachers will have known a great deal about most if not all of their students’ performance level in English. Students, too, will have undergone such a wonderful and restful step before they would cover and discover the assigned syllabus courses.

Mrs. N. Sahraoui said...

During this summer holidays,I was invited to a cousin's wedding.There,I got the opportunity to meet a middle school English teacher.We spoke about many things,then she asked me:"when will we be back to school?" astonished,I replied:
"what?""back to school? I have no idea." As she was surprised because of my reaction,I explained to her that I am a teacher who considers her pupils as an important part of her life but holidays are something special. I try not to think so much about my job but enjoy my holidays.What is most important is to make a kind "emptiness" in my mind. This is why I am always fresh to start the new school year.I feel ready and eager to meet students,collegues.., to live a new experience different from certain teachers who find it somehow difficult to start the new school year.I usually feel I am a new teacher and this school year is my first one ( this is my 22nd year in teaching!! May be because I consider my job as a hobby,and I do it with great pleasure.

Mezough said...

Hello everybody, I hope you enjoyed the holidays after a hard but certainly successful year.
It’s true that I always feel both excited and stressful once back to school, as Miss Sarnou said, I feel that I have to give more than last year. Whether with new or previous students? I always feel the need to change though I often tell my new students about some activities I had achieved in the past, and also about my success stories. I explain to them that I don’t expect the same thing but rather something new without comparison.
The first month of the school year is generally the hardest period because it requires preparation of different tasks with regards to the school staff, colleagues, and students. I personally don’t have any problem when organizing my documents or preparing lessons, yet it always takes me too much time and effort to prepare a yearly planning and then I forget about it once I get everything planned for the whole year.
But the biggest Back to School hurdle is the type of tasks I have to give to my students before I start the syllabus. At the beginning of my career it was just a number of (activities) “before we start the syllabus”, then I used to revise all the tenses just to avoid the waste of time within the year, but that was the biggest mistake of my professional practice. The first negative impact was on me, I was supposed to make revisions and I discovered that my students knew nothing. I first felt the year would be harder, then that I was given just weak students. But through time, such tasks and revisions have become diagnostic assessment, and here I really started to feel at ease because I have learned that we have to try to learn about our students during the first week. Indeed I have learned what I should not do:
- I should not test my students’ memory even if I had taught them before: I would be discouraged, deceived and feel more stressful while my students will be upset and unable to make progress.
- Even if I know them, I should try to learn more about them.
- For the diagnostic assessment, I have to find interactive tasks to get my students ready and to plan my future tasks and lessons.
- For the time being, I generally start with Dictionary use.
To be honest I am still thinking of the tasks I have to start with, I generally discuss with some colleagues from different schools, and today I find the Blog a great opportunity for all of us to share and exchange new ideas.
Welcome Back to School

Nacima AZZAZ said...

Hello! I would like first to wish an exciting and active "back to school" for all of my colleagues in general, and for teachers of English in particular. I hope they come back with much energy and determination.
As far as I am concerned, I used to start my school year with a series of questions to which I try to find some answers. But let me tell you I do not consider "back to school" as a hurdle, though it requires a great deal of hard work and preparation and accurate plannings for the school year right from the beginning. It is rather a starting station of a journey, which brings new experiences and adventures, new challenges and other new prospects for a successful school year through teachers' initiative and individual research on the one hand and their mutual interaction and contact on the other hand.
Another perspective from which I personally consider "back to school" is far more optimistic. It is rather a new step in our progress and professional development; and every beginning of a school year pushes us to move a pace onwards in our career. Let's say we are also concerned in this reform as educators and that, wether consciously or not, we are involved in a professional reform. If every "back to school" comes with new instructions and regulations, it means that we are here to reach a certain level of professionalism in order to implement them. Therefore we find ourselves in a process of developing our skills and strategies for teaching and educating in order to achieve the highlighted objectives. By the end of each year, we feel we've attained a kind of success just as our pupils do while passing from one level to another.
I believe if teachers think of "back to school" as a "back to attainments, success and progress", they will no longer find it a hurdle or a burden.
Miss N.Azzaz