Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thinking Time

I started playing tennis about a year ago. I suppose I should say that I started taking tennis lessons about a year ago.

Yesterday during the lesson I had a lot on my mind. I was thinking about how I would continue to use my class's interest in the book Mr. Topsy-Turvy. The book is silly, and the students really enjoyed it, so I took it as an opportunity to talk about topsy turvy things. In the process it was great to see the kids really working their brains to turn sentences around the wrong way. (If they know the wrong way, then they won't say it that way my theory goes, but I have mixed feelings about it.)

I was thinking about the weekend and I was thinking about my tennis game and concentrating on the instruction I was being given. I was thinking about lunch because I was hungry. I had a lot going on in my head.

Except for when the coach says in his best English, "Drinking time!", the tennis lessons are all in Japanese, so I have to concentrate more than my fellow students. On top of that, they play futsol right next to us.

Then when we were practicing our serves -- more intense concentration -- the coach told me that he would be leaving at the end of the month, which was rather shocking. In addition, the assistant coach is also leaving, although not together per se. (They wait until the last minute to make announcements in Japan.)

So after the coach gave his announcement I needed some time to think about them leaving and I had questions like: What would they do from now? Where would they work? But of course I couldn't ask them because they are personal. I was also thinking about the proper response in Japanese. What should I say?

This all got me thinking more. I started thinking about my own class and how they are all ESL/ELL/EAL learners. All of them.

This year I have been more conscious of  giving the first and second graders time to think. I hope I am giving them enough. Just because they don't react right away doesn't mean they are not thinking about what we are talking about.

And now I am wondering what else I can do besides oral answers in English.  Maybe having them draw or write in their own languages might also help [those that need it].

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