I have a class in my Basic School that if forced to describe them with a funny name it would be “The Super Beginners.” They have all of one year of English under their belts and are only halfway through their first-year book appropriately called “Project 1.”
At training we were told that just by speaking English it helps the students learn and not to use dictionaries much at all because things don’t always translate nicely and I agree. However about a week ago my school got an ENORMOUS English-Czech/Czech-English dictionary that now sits proudly on my desk at school. And it has been useful.
Last Tuesday with my super-beginners I decided to translate a few words just to make sure they understood the categories. I then said one of the words I’ve picked up recently, “Rozuminte?(Do you understand?)”, after explaining the topic for the day. Let’s be clear. I CANNOT speak Czech. But my students LOVE it when I try and throw words out to them.
My main point is this. There’s a girl in my class named Dendy. Sits in front row, seems like a nice girl. But for most part she doesn’t come off as that great of a student. Doesn’t volunteer much, seems like she is usually struggling in general with the material. After my brief foray into Czech however, her entire countenance changed. When I asked her questions she would say the sentences confidently. She was raising her hand. She was trying. She was smiling. It was a near 180-degree change in classroom behavior.
I’m not a great teacher. I don’t enjoy every lesson and neither do my students. But good things are happening, students are learning and God is working in the small things. I don’t think I can ask for more than that.