I have the opportunity of working as a bilingual assistant for the coming school year at my daughter's school. Although I am a TEFL teacher I have never taught in a school before and may be teaching 30 kids from as little as 3 years old. I don't have a lot of experience with this age group and certainly not with such big groups. I would be grateful of any tips anyone could give me. Also it is quite likely that I may be teaching my daughter and her fellow students so I am a little worried about how this might affect her, i.e. with her classmates etc...already this year one child said she couldn't play with them as she was "English" and also how to teach the class impartially.
Will you be: A. Assisting teaching a lesson planned by another teacher B. Planning and teaching a session while another teacher is there to help organise and settle the children, deal with behaviour etc or C. Plan and teach a lesson and have full responsibility for the class
How many classes will you have and will they be single age classes or mixed age?
I would suggest collecting songs, stories and puppets you can use as a starting point.
If your daughter is 5 I'm guessing it wouldn't cause too many problems that her mum is the teacher. Kids that age quickly get used to things and probably their reaction will be either to think it's great that she gets to have her mum in school or to be completely uninterested.
Thanks for the feedback Alison! I think it's B (planning and teaching a session with another teacher to help organise children, deal with behaviour etc) although it hasn't been completely clarified to me yet!! I'm going to have 20 hrs a week so about 4 classes a day (I imagine). They will be single age classes for example 3-4/4-5yrs. Although there are big differences among the years as there may be children who only just turned 3 (like when my son starts school!) and those that are starting to turn 4.
As a TEFL teacher, I already have some songs, stories and a puppet, but maybe not enough plus I don't know what access I have to materials at the school. Previously I often worked with a book which also had its own CD of songs and stories.
My daughter is now 6 (need to update my profile ) but I suppose and hope that you are right!!
It'll be much easier for you if another teacher is there to organise and settle children and deal with behaviour. It's probably worth clarifying before you start.
It will be trial and error until you find what works best with each class. I would plan a hello song and simple hello activity that you repeat every week. And end with a goodbye song and activity too. Young children like and learn a lot from repetition. Have a couple of action songs during the lesson e.g. Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. Take time to teach the song slowly if the children don't know it but they might only learn a few words of a song each week. Once they start getting restless you can start the song and they can join in even if they don't understand.
You can intersperse calm activities with lively ones. A puppet who is scared of noise can be good to quieten all the children down and get attention. A puppet who shakes their hand because they're listening well or singing well can be very useful too.
Different groups of children will respond better to different things - partly because of age and partly personality. A fun game will motivate some classes but make others get overexcited. Don't hesitate to ask their teachers for ideas of what the children like and will respond to. Some teachers will be helpful and ignore any who aren't.
To start off with, plan lots of short activities - more than you think you will need. If you don't use them you can save them for another week.
I would also do the same lesson with several classes to start with unless they have a curriculum they want you to follow. You can adapt over time. I always did the same theme with several classes and just taught extra vocabulary or a more complex speaking activity or written activity with older children or if they were coping well. If you try to do something separate with each class it's much harder to plan and organise.
Apologies for typos! Doing this one handed while pushing a pram!
Mayken: School starts again tomorrow. This year, exceptionally, 7yo will have all of her ml classes in 2 half days, instead of 1h/day. We'll see how that goes. (She's in 2nd grade.)
Sept 3, 2017 17:58:36 GMT 9
Amy: "Bonne rentrée" Mayken! Hope this new schedule will work well for your daughter though I have no doubt she will keep up her already excellent bilingual level
Sept 3, 2017 18:57:33 GMT 9
Mayken: Thanks Amy! Bonne rentrée to you too! My daughter has ml on Tuesday mornings (tomorrow!) and Thursday afternoons.
Sept 5, 2017 5:39:39 GMT 9
Amy: First Wednesday at home magic: ml2 bathed home and catching my 5 year old singing along her music player in ml2.... Bilingual bliss! Only you fellow bilingual parents could understand this
Sept 6, 2017 21:05:46 GMT 9
Mayken: Planning to send my daughter to ml school again during the next holidays. But it's ok, she's looking forward to it!
Sept 8, 2017 4:45:12 GMT 9
Mayken: We had our parents meetings with the ml teacher, my daughter will have a lot of work this year! One parent asked "which kids actually do speak ml at home?" Does that mean many of them don't???
Sept 13, 2017 5:02:26 GMT 9
Nellie: Mayken - my daughter is a lot younger than yours (just starting PS), but in her class there are two children with Spanish-speaking parents, but apparently neither of them actually speak it...disappointing!
Sept 13, 2017 6:28:10 GMT 9
Amy: Nellie, these 2 kids might simply be passive bilinguals, and as you know the penny might simply drop one day and they'll start using Spanish...
Sept 13, 2017 17:05:33 GMT 9
Mayken: In our ml class the kids are required to have a high level of ml. In class they only speak ml (this year there's a penalty for speaking ML!). I assumed they all speak ml with the ml parent at home. (I've known those kids for 2 years.)
Sept 13, 2017 23:42:56 GMT 9
Nellie: Yes I'm sure you're right and they are passive bilinguals! And they are young. I certainly hope by your daughter's age that my little one will be speaking ml1 with me - have already seen a lot of progress over the last week! The penny is dropping!
Sept 14, 2017 5:51:52 GMT 9
Patricia: Has anyone encountered studies, or personal accounts, of bilingualism (or multilingualism) playing a role in delayed speech?
Sept 15, 2017 1:31:58 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Patricia, please complete your Profile (see my "welcome message" for guidance), then post your questions to the forum boards. Thank you.
Sept 15, 2017 6:14:15 GMT 9