Oh good, more staff training. On rather short notice this time, but there’s nothing like getting paid to think about something you’re going to do anyhow.
Here’s what I learned from staff development three weeks ago:
1. Bring food for your students. Have a bag with some kind of snack and pass it around. The students will start bringing food too. This really works. I got a huge 99-cent bag of animal crackers and found a package of napkins in one of the classroom file cabinets. These students do come straight from work and I know my class is competing with the thought of a hot meal.
2. Put your tables in a vee with an aisle down the middle. You can’t do this if you have those little bitty desks, but in two of my classes this is working very well. The students are facing the front instead of each other, they are more engaged, but can still practice with each other, and there is space for me to walk around the tables and check their work.
3. Ask students about their goals. Do they want a better job? a GED? a university degree? Or do they want to be able to talk to their grandchildren who only speak English? Don’t know yet if this helps, but perhaps they will think I’m responsive to their input. Perhaps I will be more responsive to their input.
4. Give tests. I was annoyed at something else today, so I decided to implement this one right away and gave a pop quiz. Haven’t evaluated this one yet, but basically seems good because it means the students do something instead of the teacher doing something.
Oh, yes, there is usually a food budget for these shindigs which puts you symbolically at a nicer place in the food chain than you really are.