Hi, everyone! It is a great privilege to be able to share with you my experiences so far, as a teacher of English in the Russian-British Institute of MGT., Chelyabinsk, Russia. It has been a great four weeks experience since I first arrived.
Even though I did not have the chance to meet pupils in school the day I arrived, I remember so well the warm welcome I received from some English teachers who were around at that time, not forgetting the great role Olga played in enhancing an effective communication between the Principal and I. The smiles alone, on the faces of these teachers and the principal, made me feel a lot at home.
As a matter of fact, not a single day passes without a pupil missing out on saying “hello, Joel”, in the corridors and classrooms. It sure has not been a pleasant experience for me, when I see pupils want to say more than just ‘hello’, but can’t find the words in English to express that. It is also hard for me, when I can’t also in return say anything other than the usual ‘hello’ and ‘how are you’.
However, over the time we have spent together, pupils have warmed up to trying their best to express themselves in English. When they have difficulties, we communicate via Google Translator. Pupils in the lower grades however, have decided rather to make me understand them in Russian, when they are at a loss as to what to say in English. This drive to want to communicate with me despite the language barrier, has whipped up their interest in the study of English.
Teaching pupils in RBIM, has been an awesome experience so far. I have on countless occasions been able to share with students, information about my country, Ghana, its diverse culture and Africa as a whole. Also, a few stereotypes about Africa and Africans have been corrected.
I remember many kids unable to hide their excitement, the first day they set eyes on me. As others watched in total awe, others to satisfy their curiosity, drew even closer to touch me. Many of those who were bold enough to touch my skin, quickly withdrew once they had a feel of my skin. I won’t forget the many stares I had from pupils, the first day we were introduced. It is a fulfilling experience when I see and Interact with students. Their love for me and vice-versa is immeasurable.
Within this short period I have had with students, I have had the chance to give different presentations about my country and continent, family, hobbies and Interests, etc. Pupils in turn have been able to share with me, information about their country, family, culture, food etc.
I can’t forget all the teachers of English, who have played their roles very well in translating both ways, communication between pupils and me. They have been a great source of inspiration and have added to my knowledge of teaching methods daily. In my opinion, this collaboration is rich experience, not just for me but for students as well.
Practice makes perfect. With a lot of practice and the right commitment, the sky is the limit for mastering any language. Practice and Commitment go hand in hand, in enhancing language study. Pupils must make the best of every opportunity given them to either study or better their English. It sure is great to have a good command of your local language. Trust me there is a greater feeling when you can interact in English also, if not perfect, at least enough for some level of communication.
This experience has been great for me, and I trust it has also for pupils and teachers alike. I look forward to an even greater experience, collaborating with students and teachers of RBIM, in the coming weeks.