Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What's the goal?

This past semester, I was one of the unlucky ones that got chosen to teach in the new aviation services program that my uni is starting up.  I haven't talked about it yet because it was so stressful and to blog about it would perhaps push me over the edge.  It's done now though, and I've gotten out of the program for next year so I can write a few posts about it without letting it get the best of me. 

Why was it so frustrating?  Because no one was in charge.  The English department at my uni wanted nothing to do with it, nor did the Aviation services department really when it came down to the nuts and bolts of books, and things to teach, and what the students actually needed. 

Anyway, the other 3 teachers and I pressed various people for what we were actually supposed to teach and this is what we heard over the course of the semester:

1. Anything!  Just general conversation.  Whatever!

2. In-flight announcements

3. Aviation interview English

4. The student's TOEIC scores are so low!  Help them with grammar!

5. Speaking practice. 

6. Self-introduction.  SELF-INTRODUCTION!!!

Does that seem confusing?  It sure was.  It made my head spin in circle, after circle, after circle as each week went on.  What did I end up doing?  Just using teaching a general conversation book.  I was too stressed about by the whole thing to try to make any more sense of it. 

And to add to the chaos, it was a non-credit night-class, but we were supposed to trick the students and give them tests and pretend that the class actually mattered, even though it really didn't.  Attendance?  Of course they had to come each night!  Were there any consequences for not coming?  No. 

What's my point of this little rant?  Having clear goals is essential.  Even general ones, such as "work on conversation ability" or "speaking practice" or "interview English" or "make English fun!" I can work with.  In retrospect I should have just chosen one of those goals I was given, ignored all the other ones and worked from there.  I tried to cover a little of everything, which didn't really work for me, or for the students and it made it the most stressful class I've ever taught. 

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