When Lessons End #ThatFeeling

At best, a mixed day for this teacher.

Among the different numbers and details my head insists on safekeeping, June 6th will find its place no doubt. The day when those lessons are over, for good. The day when the final exam is taken and those students move on. I’d been thinking of that moment regularly in the past year. I knew it was coming and dreaded it. I’ve had many of those moments through the years and even though it has never turned out to be as horrible and heartbreaking as I’d imagined it, still the same feelings pour out and there is nothing I can do to stop them.

Feeling happy and sad simultaneously is almost imperative in my world. Six years of learning with those kids have come to an end. I’m proud of their achievements, our journey, of them. I’m even a little proud of myself, for having kept open as much as possible to what they had and could show me. It was not the case of incredible, it was only us keeping together for so many different reasons. And I feel so…what’s that word…gloomy, as well, because that’s it. Done.

I remember one of my professors telling me that a good plan is the best weapon in my arsenal. I also remember Not telling him that we are not at war. Yes, just wording. But words are immensely powerful. It took me some time to realize that ‘planning’ means nothing on its own; where do you stand in the plan? where do your students stand? Then I discovered the significance of continuity, in practice (theories, oh theories). With this group, like with many others, the years count. We grew together, I grew with them and had the privilege to be there as they became what they are. I helped them and they helped me and we all climbed higher together. We are lucky in the same way, all of us teachers. We are there.

I had to ask.
”How should we celebrate the end of our lessons?”
”But you’ll be coming over again.”

Yes, I will. Beginnings and endings are very much the same.


Fun with the English Alphabet!

Teaching the English alphabet is the first step and can sometimes be a difficult task …letters that don’t exist in the students’ native language or are pronounced differently can prove quite challenging.
Apart from using flashcards and interactive media (most coursebooks nowadays provide teachers with numerous activities on iwb) to introduce the alphabet to young students, why not try an all-time classic? A puzzle, of course!

For this activity, I chose “Giant Alphabet”, a beautifully illustrated floor puzzle*:



It should take you about 15 minutes to complete the activity with a group of 6-8 students. Make sure you’ve got enough space on the floor for everyone to sit around and keep the puzzle cover hidden. Divide students into groups and put all the puzzle pieces upside-down right next to the playing area.
Teams take turns to flip over one puzzle piece at a time and put it in the right place. The winning team is the one who put down the most pieces correctly.
You can make the game more challenging by awarding points for each correct answer and keeping the scores.
This puzzle is also great for review activities, look them up in the coming-up posts.

Try it out and I hope you enjoy!

(*if you’re based in Greece, you can also get this puzzle here)