English-Class2

One more class: my techniques for generating fun

In volunteers by Margaret Montgomery

I am a volunteer English teacher at Small Projects Istanbul. I am also a full time English teacher at a Turkish school. I’ll admit that finding the motivation to come to my class at SPI after a full workday is sometimes a challenge. But while there are some days I am reluctant to go, every day I leave happier than when I walked in the door.

My students are in a similar boat. They spend their days inside classrooms as well. They finish school, get a brief chance to play, and then… one more class??? In the winter this is less of an issue, but as the weather gets sunnier and mothers must be enlisted to herd them inside I try not to take their audible complaints personally.

I try and turn this lack of enthusiasm around. Making the class as fun as possible works to my advantage in many ways. If I’ve planned a great class that I know the kids will love then I’m more excited to go. The equation is simple- the more fun the students have, the more I enjoy myself.

This philosophy has lead to hours of skits, songs, paper airplane contests, blind taste-tests, wacky crafts, and bingo. The group of kids ranges on a weekly basis from five to as many as fifteen, with ages anywhere between those numbers. Some of them can read in, others can’t. Some have English classes at school, but most are beginners. It’s a unique challenge to come up with something that will entertain the whole group.

Experience has quickly taught me to save the rowdiest activity for last. Usually the class ends with everyone up and moving around in at least a somewhat organized fashion. Inevitably we lose track of time and I’m hurrying to get kids home before parents worry. Another round of herding usually ensues. I know I’ve done my job well when it’s more difficult to get the kids out the door than it was to bring them in.


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Margaret Montgomery

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English Educator – Volunteer

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