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03

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QW 032312 “You’ll be just like me in 20 years?”

Today marks the finale of the 5-day Spring Intensive Course for TOEFL ITP that I teach. Eleven students signed up for the course. They studied for four and the half hours, equivalent of three regular classes, for five days. The other two intensive courses were for TOEIC with about 20 students registered, so our class was sort of small. At the beginning of Day One, I had them do a speaking activity “Getting to know you” with an attempt to foster intimacy and friendship among students; it seemed to work quite well in fact. The subsequent activities were often times implemented in group settings, pretty much like Task Based Language Teaching (TBLT). Why I opted for the TBLT style is that studying for English proficiency tests such as TOEFL and TOEIC is truly a lonely business. Learning languages, or anything, is inherently a lonely business, but I wanted to make my class something that they can connect themselves to, making them feel less lonely. Also, I wanted to instill the attitude to learn both cooperatively as a group and independently as an individual among students. There was always a mixture of individual work and group/pair work in my class. Grouping was done by drawing cards to make sure that they could work with everyone in class. Towards the end of the course, the students became good at sharing thoughts and ideas for better learning as well as independent and responsible for their own learning, at least to my eyes.

We were like members of a club activity at last. Which I had always wished my class to be. As a traditional ceremony of the classes for English proficiency tests that I teach, I gave them “KitKat” with my hand written message on. We shook hands and exchanged encouragement and gratitude. One of the students told me that my personality was similar to that of hers, and she wanted to be a woman like me. I soon understood what she was talking, and replied, “I’d take your words as compliment. So you’ll be just like me in 20 years. Is that really okay?” Then all the girls there rolled their eyes, saying that they thought I was much younger. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not boasting or anything . I’m just being proud of myself, having my student say she wanted to be just like me. I’m aware that she might have been trying to make me feel better in order to show appreciation of my instruction. That all said, taking such sweet words from my dear student with whatever intention makes me feel rewarded and simply happy.

(50 minutes / 440 words)

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Aya

Author:Aya
English learner

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