Stepping in!

I had to substitute for a teacher who was going to attend a two-day course and this whole event triggered my thoughts.

Well, how odd is it for a teacher to teach new very young learners’ groups in the end of the year? There are many issues to consider.

From the perspective of the substitute teacher, there is the fear of having the kids not accepting you as their teacher as they are used to the class teacher who is absent for those days. There is also the fact that the young learners may take a long while to get into their “learning mode” after they manage to ask all sorts of questions and make all sorts of comments regarding the new teacher.

Still from such perspective, there is the joy of a new challenge, the joy of getting to know more young learners and the thrill of a new experience.

Now, looking into it with the eyes of the class teacher, I believe there is also the fear that the kids are going to like the new teacher best or even the jealousy of sharing her pupils with a “stranger”…

Whatever perspective, there are pros and cons, but facing reality, the best we can do is to check the lesson plan, the timetable fit, students’ profile and follow the routine kids are used to.

Some may have the idea that substituting a teacher means just pretending to be teaching or just being there physically not to let students alone, but it’s not that. There is work to be done, curriculum to follow, content to work and most important, from my point of view, is to cater for the students themselves.

Students need to feel safe, much more when we are talking about very young learners which is going to be my case, from 3 to 5.

I was there, planning what to do, closing the games to play, the songs to sing. I must confess there were many, many butterflies in my stomach but I hoped to be able to manage the lesson successfully.

Well, that was it… I ended up teaching the groups and as I feared, the kids spent a whole lot of time questioning me about who I was, where the other teacher was, even why I was wearing the other teacher’s clothes… hehehehehe The uniform! So funny!!

Anyway, even though I was not able to deliver 100% of the planned lesson, we were able to perform many activities and use English all the time.

It has been such a rewarding experience.

I love my job!

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Beatriz Meneguetti

Mª Beatriz Magalhães Silva Meneguetti Teacher, teacher trainer, school director and sworn translator with over 30 years’ experience, graduated in English, post graduated in methodology, linguistics, school management and marketing. Holder of major proficiency certificates from Cambridge and Michigan Universities and holder of the DELTA and MA in Professional Development for Language Education from Chichester University. Academic director of ABCI - Brazilian Association of Culturas Inglesas.

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