We started a class to help and support the students to talk in English (not better English but actually talk and even spell most of the words) and we are talking about grade 8 and 9 students here. Me and my fellow friend decided to pull up our sleeves and just go for this without planning our classes (not planning would not be appropriate but we knew what we were about to do… make them speak). We announced about the classes we were about to run and the kids were so excited.
I selected a poem just like di had instructed. I was confused and not sure about the poems with all those entangled meaning and letters; so I chose the poem “Fog”, short and simple to begin with(also because the place is foggy all morning these days)
. Let me see if I still remember it…
The fog comes
on a little cat feet
it sits looking
over hills and mountains
on a silent haunches
(yay! I actually mananged to remember it …ah and I have replaced the real words with hills and mountains, I hope its legal )
I panicked in the first class as the students(few of the boys) looked disinterested and I heard them say “hya, English ta kahile ni sikidaina. Kahiley po auney ho bolna.” I was like “if only I had super language powers, I would give it to them. I can’t make them talk in English in one single day.I guess they get their impatience from their science teacher(that would be me :P).
So, that was how I got started in grade 9. While in grade 8, as there were around 40 students we divided the class into two groups-girls and boys. (I took the girls, aren’t I genius? … but my co fellow is happy with his group so I guess we are even).
In grade 8 , I had not even prepared a bit. During school time gang of them were asking when were they having their classes so I randomly said “today after school.”(I didn’t say this… I said- “aja school pachi”).
It was four p.m. ,I get into the class, see those pretty faces all happy happy. I asked them to turn the pages of their English book (ah I wanted to impress you by remembering the page number as well but I forgot…but I think remember, it was unit 15 or not ! but for sure about Ellen’s story). I made them read the story lines by lines, to check their difficulty level. Some of their reading again hit the red panic button but seeing them struggle to be able to pronounce it just diffused the red button altogether.It made me want to give my best and all that I know to help them.(eventhough i am no expert of the language, but something is better than nothing right?)
I made funny faces and noises , showing the girls how to pronounce the words. Every time I instructed them to just make hissing sound like snake makes (shhhhh…), I would remember me sitting in the benches of my own class and making that sound with my friends. That’s how my own teacher make us get rid of our “eschool”days and got habit of “school days”. It was the same with “bwai” (Boy) or the word “gral”(girl). I had patience to correct them cause i know how hard and frustrating it is to make the stubborn tongue change its habits and go other way.
Everything that my teacher taught came flooding back to me. It had been years I recalled those classes but now when I needed it, it just came back like blessing. I am not bluffing but all my acts and instructions were copy of him. It used to be us (me and my friends making our tongue twist, turn, bite with teeth and so on), and now I was making them do the exact.
I repeated the first paragraph, over and over (then I remembered di asking to make audio records , it would actually save my voice ; funny thing, my throat gets jammed like old tape recorder these days.). The students loved repeating after me, trying on their own then; seeing them enjoy reading motivated me so much.
The second class, I asked each of them to repeat the paragraph and I was like so so proud to hear them read it fluently. That was all that I had needed to hear.Those words being pronounced correctly and confidently.
I know it is just a single paragraph they could read right now but I believe in me and more in them that they will be reading a story book and someday a whole novel. (Fingers crossed!!!)