Teaching Secondary Classes at W@W
What is it like to be teaching a group of inquisitive teenagers English? How can we make them fall in love with essay writing? Let’s hear it from Teacher Desmond, W@W Secondary Expert!
“How do you make the two-hour lesson count?”
This has always been the guiding focus for me when I started teaching the secondary classes at W@W a year ago.
Given the short contact time and the increasing competing demands on the kids, each lesson needs to be planned and deliberate to maximise the learning opportunities for them – be it writing or comprehension.
Besides modifying the lessons to suit their needs, I also constantly need to reflect on my role and value as a teacher.
In the information age where information is readily available at these students’ fingertips, teaching has become less about information, but more about inspiration.
A large part of the challenge of providing such inspiration is finding a connection to the lives of the students and making the material immediately relevant.
Some of the more memorable lessons include setting up a thrilling obstacle course for students to explore the traits of leadership and allowing students to relish the simple joy of traditional games.
These hooks serve to ignite the WRITE spark and galvanise them to learn the content for essay and situational writing.
I am constantly learning as I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, TED talks and issues from the newspaper to supplement the existing curriculum and find a hook to grab their interest.
While the comfortable class size also allows me to have more focused interaction and offer instantaneous feedback for the kids to improve their comprehension and writing skills, it poses another gripping challenge.
I had to build a relationship with these kids fast and understand their strengths and learning motivations.
Theodore Roosevelt’s words sum it up succinctly, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
I care deeply about how I can motivate and guide these kids to raise provocative questions, analyse a question critically and write confidently.
I have witnessed this empowerment in my classes before – and it is transformative for both the student and the teacher.
It all starts with the belief that they can become W@W writers, and making every lesson count.