Saturday, May 12, 2012

The 'Ah-ha' Moment in Teaching

There are moments in one’s life when you get the infamous “ah-ha” moment, and as an educator it is all the more special an occurrence when it happens in the classroom. This past week I witnessed that moment with three ESL students during a first-hour class. We were working on an exercise that involved the use of adverbs which determine frequency (never, seldom, sometimes, usually, and always), and Diego knew the concept hands-down. I sensed that Cesar and Eduardo were struggling and needed some individual attention, but I wasn’t able to attend to both at the same time.

I turned to Diego and asked him to explain directions in detail to Cesar without giving him the answers, then I focused my attention on Eduardo to do the same. As I was working with Eduardo, I looked up and glanced at Diego to note his progress with Cesar. It was an incredible sight to see him in a teaching role, listening to him give careful instructions about the concept. HE GOT IT! Never before had I experienced such a feeling of satisfaction and gratification in teaching.

And better yet, later in the class I was faced with yet another situation, this one dealing with mealtime habits and writing questions about breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This time is was Cesar who understood, and the other two students who needed some attention. Just as I had done with Diego, I asked Cesar to work one-on-one with Eduardo so I could help Diego. Again, the student became teacher for five minutes and he did a great job explaining he exercise. When class ended I wanted to run outside and shout out something good for the rest of the world to hear, but time did not allow that to happen. It was THE “ah-ha” moment I was looking for in my Student Teaching, and one which I will never forget. Some student teachers hear about epochs such as these, but I actually was able to experience one first-hand.

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