Today I led my first class of English for beginners at the Hebron YDRC.
The group for beginners will meet every Tuesday and Thursday and I was very excited to finally start teaching after spending last week correcting placement tests and preparing lesson plans
I had scheduled a program of diverse activities aiming to help my students develop all the skills necessary to confidently express themselves in English emphasizing on speaking which I have been told they have had the least exposure to.
As the group gathered we started with getting-to-know-each-other activities I had prepared. The first one, called “Name cards”, consists of participants writing their own “name cards” and then distributing them to others. The game allows learners to both get to know others and exercise introducing themselves in English.
As I explained the rules I asked them to write on their name cards three main things: name, age, and occupation. As they are beginners, I tried to simplify the vocabulary I used and in the heat of the moment I figured they might not understand the word “occupation”.
“You know what “Occupation” means, right?”- I asked. They looked at me bluntly.
“It refers to what you do: whether you study, or work…”
“Occupation” has two meanings”- this smart guy pointed out and in that moment I realized how inappropriate my choice of words has been unexpectedly…
Occupation has two meanings. Sure they know it.
I excused myself and the class moved on with new games, exercises and laughs, and, presumably, no more mortifying mistakes on my part.
And while there wasn’t much I could do to prevent my unconscious vocabulary misjudgment, it was a great call to be mindful of the environment and not to forget that we are all students and teachers to each other! Inshalla!