For whatever reason, I just find myself dreading teaching these days. The storytelling is so neat and yet it terrifies me because I worry that the stories will flop and I won't know what to do.
Some people say that the worst TPRS is still better than the average classroom. But sometimes it is so painfully quiet when I ask for responses from the students and even when some respond, no one reacts to the responses.
Today, the first three classes did not pump me up. I was not in the best mood to begin with. And for whatever reason, I just completely sucked up the story this morning with them. Some students didn't get the storyline as well as I thought they would. I must not have been circling enough. So what I need to practice doing is to get out the circling sheet from the workshop and look over it again to remember how to circle and tell the stories better.
I also must not focus on the negative behaviors. My students might not be paying attention. But in How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie talks about how everyone has the desire to be praised. If we can praise people, we can create the atmosphere needed in the classroom where students will want to receive the praise and be reminded that they are great. Of course, it must come off as genuine. I can see it though when I mention that someone is 'muy inteligente' when they give an idea. You can see them smirk. Even the students who might be considered "troubled" or "bad behaviors" smile when they are recognized as being smart! And this only further reinforces their wanting to answer questions in class.
I was reading on moretprs.net today in my free hour and Susan Gross (who I have not had the pleasure of meeting), a TPRS forerunner tells this to a fellow teacher:
Today that first part was me. When the kids walked into the room, they must have seen my lack of 100% and that didn't help the class to go any better. I didn't praise students but instead probably got more upset (without saying anything). When I start class frustrated, everything goes downhill fast. But if I can simply praise the students, it will refocus the entire class as well as myself to pay attention to the good behaviors in class and remind us what I would like out of the class.
Sometimes the kids are picking up something from you. Try very hard to go into the class with strong positive vibes. My guess is that they sense you are disappointed in some way. It is very insidious, this teacher attitude thing. Do some mind-cleansing breaths and then LOOK FOR things to praise. Look for the kid who is paying attention and praise him. Have him translate something that you KNOW he will get right and then tell the kid that he is watching you so carefully that he must be getting everything. Thank him for his attention.