Teaching My First Class at WR!TERS@WORK
I reached the classroom half an hour early, feeling the same biting, cold, air that I had felt so many years ago as a student. I sat down in a front row seat, half-expecting my former W@W teacher, Ms Jemmies, to greet the class with a cheerful “Oh hello guys, how was your week?”
I smiled, remembering the good days of back-and-forth banter between Ms Jemmies and myself. My reverie was shattered by an administrative staff who was curious about why someone who barely looked old enough to be in Junior College had just walked into the classroom, sitting down in total darkness.
After explaining myself sheepishly to the bewildered staff, I prepared for the lesson ahead of me. Some of my duties included sanitising the classroom, turning the air conditioning and projector on, and getting the digital notes and my own personal notes ready for the lesson.
The next 25 minutes before the first student entered the classroom left me in a cold sweat, my heart palpitating in nervousness and anticipation for my first ever lesson in W@W. I desperately wanted to deliver the lesson in a way which matched Teacher Joanne’s high standards. Teacher Joanne delivered her lessons in a decisive yet captivating way, managing to engage students while driving home her lesson objectives at the same time.
As students started to fill the classroom, I thanked the heavens that there was physical attendance, which was much preferable than Zoom classes, where I would have had to deal with students facing difficulties with using telecommunication software with an unsteady Internet connection. I was anxious to start the lesson, and as students were milling in, I felt a sense of determination and I endeavoured to do my very best.
After the last student had taken his seat, all eyes were on me, and I assumed centre stage. I introduced myself with the most bravado I could muster, trying to maintain confidence and establish my authority with these students. I then asked the students to take out their quiz papers and set a time limit of 10 minutes to complete the questions. I was extremely impressed by the silence during the quiz – you could hear a pin drop. Back in my day of being a student at W@W, the class was perpetually filled with the vociferous chatter of rather loquacious students.
Ironically, the chief culprit was always me.
The silence was too good to be true. Promptly after the quiz ended, I had 3 different students attempting to enlighten me about the various ongoings they had in their lives in a rather long-winded fashion. Before I let them take me back to fond reminiscence of the day they were born, I started on the lesson proper, clearing my throat to let them know that I meant business this time.
The students were well-behaved during the lesson, taking notes diligently and contributing good ideas to the class discussion. These students showed a deep understanding of the lesson objectives which Teacher Joanne and W@W were trying to inculcate in them. That day’s lesson involved a discussion of “The Fallen Angels”, outlining a story about a heroic act which the main character commits to save a stranded toddler from a catastrophic event.
It was not all business at W@W, as the students who contributed reasonable suggestions to scaffold the story at first later contributed increasingly absurd suggestions to “further the plot”. Discussions as a class would help jog the creativity of our students at W@W, as humorous stories told in a joking manner could help reinforce the students’ learning as they would imagine and reminisce the good times spent at W@W learning how to craft a story. These students would most certainly remember some of the funny ideas that were thrown out, such as the idea that the hero in the story was Spiderman, who swung into the mall with great gusto to rescue the toddler!
At W@W, our lesson plans include educational videos relevant to the story being taught. Students enjoyed watching the engaging videos as they like bright visuals, which provided a welcome change from the humdrum pencils on paper students are used to at school. I played a video about the collapse of the Jurong East mall ceiling due to a burst water pipe, which happened in 2013.
I wanted to evoke the appropriate emotions within the students by encouraging them to put themselves into the shoes of those who witnessed the collapse first-hand. Often, using your imagination is the best way to come up with creative solutions.
Then, I started introducing characters into the story and set the scene for the main character’s heroic act. I compared the actions of our characters to the real life actions of the people who witnessed the collapse in Jurong East. The student got rather excited with the prospect of being able to introduce their own characters, with some of them introducing an entire village of them, including but not limited to Spiderman.
The crux of our lesson involved understanding the plot curve – students tend to understand this concept well as they knew what to write in each paragraph. Students needed to identify the QSPs (question-specific phrases) as well as the PPPs (picture precise phrases) and where they should be written.
Then, I allowed the students to start their first draft. The classroom fell into silence as students began to concentrate intensely on their work, desperately trying to finish it quickly so that they did not have to bring it home. Watching the students work on their first draft brought back pleasant memories of myself sitting in those same chairs, writing and talking simultaneously, while Ms Jemmies would inevitably tell me to keep quiet or warn me against rambling with run-on sentences.
Before long, it was time to end the lesson for the day. Several students, who had managed to finish on time, smiled deviously as their counterparts struggled furiously to scribble more words on their papers, begging me to wait a few more minutes before collecting their work. Not wanting to disrupt their train of thought, I told them to carry on after I had made a photocopy of their work if they could not finish it by today.
It was rather heart-warming to see how the students tried to complete their work quickly, and I felt a little sad to see their reaction when I told them that I would not be taking their classes anytime soon. Some students asked me if I would visit them during their lessons on Zoom.
It was not easy to teach my first class at W@W, as I eventually realised that I was absolutely out of my depth. I had to re-evaluate my approach to the lesson many times, as I wanted to make sure that I delivered a high-quality lesson. However, I would not hesitate to do it all over again, as teaching is a highly rewarding job, especially when the students I teach leave the class with a smile, just as I did as a student of W@W all those years ago.
At WR!TERS@WORK, we are committed to providing the smoothest learning experience for your child sitting for their English exams at both primary and secondary school levels. With our carefully curated methods of teaching English for PSLE, O Levels, and A Levels, your child will be able to identify the answers to the questions and present them in a concise manner in no time.
English is a compulsory subject that has direct impact on your chances of advancing to upper secondary. Overall, English tuition and writing courses can help primary school students enjoy a smoother transition between education levels by reinforcing their language skills and providing a strong foundation for academic success.
Engaging in English tuition and writing courses can greatly assist students in smoothly transitioning between education levels. These programs reinforce their language skills and establish a solid foundation for academic achievement. For more exam tips, parents and students can explore our website and watch our YouTube videos.
If you are interested in our primary English tuition and secondary English tuition in Singapore, WR!TERS@WORK has expanded to 8 convenient locations. To find the nearest location that suits your needs, please explore our options. If you have any inquiries regarding our range of programs or class schedules, please feel free to contact WR!TERS@WORK.
1. How do I find the best English tutor?
Firstly, research and ask around for good recommendations from family or friends. Next, research online and read the reviews of tuition centres to find suitable candidates. A good idea is to drop by the tuition centre and let your child experience a trial lesson to find a good tutor.
2. What is the purpose of an English tutor?
An English tutor is supposed to guide your child to their full potential in terms of mastering the English language. Different children have different skills and capabilities in their academics, and the job of the tutor is to identify strengths and weaknesses of the child and help them accordingly.
3. What skills should an English tutor have?
A tutor should have a discerning eye for strengths and weaknesses of the student, patience to deal with different students, the requisite qualifications and experience, and they should be up to date on the relevant changes in the Singaporean English syllabus.
4. What are some important skills in English?
The English language requires the understanding of simple rules such as grammatical rules and sentence structure. Moreover, it requires more complex skills such as inference and synthesis which come later on as the student progresses to more difficult exercises.
5. Which English language skills is most difficult?
Synthesis is one of the most difficult skills in the English language as it involves using present ideas to generate new opinions and viewpoints.
6. What is the most difficult part of English class?
The most difficult part of English class is to understand how to craft your own ideas from an existing body of work, and how all the individual parts of English – grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure, clauses, etc. – fit together in an essay as a whole.
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