For the last 3 weeks I’ve been in a classroom with 29 more people, eager to learn how to teach English as a second language. Eager to explore the world, familiarize with different cultures and challenge themselves by moving to different, alien countries.
For the last 3 weeks they’ve become part of my life. I learned their names, nationalities, studies and occupations. But most importantly I found out their dreams and hopes. Their anticipations and their plans. Their worries and their fears. Isn’t it funny how many things you can discover about a person and really relate to him in only three weekends?
These three weekends for me have been an once-in-a-lifetime experience… “Awesome!” as Gaudys, my new Ecuadorian friend, would say. I was part of an academic environment as unfamiliar to me as snow is in Fiji Islands. As intriguing as a murder scenario. As intimidating as the first dive in the ocean.
And while Jodi, the teacher, tried to feed us with the knowledge of a 4-year Master degree in a 60-hour seminar, those 3 weeks were the most interesting and pleasant weeks of my life, academically speaking. She managed to win us since day 1, built our confidence – even if someone didn’t really need that – and prepare us for what’s out there! She managed to make us feel comfortable and relaxed and she created for us an anxiety-free but at the same time sophisticated and challenging environment. She made it personal – but not too much – and she combined our different mentalities and cultures to our benefit. To be honest with you, her modeling and classroom experiences made me want to jump in the classroom next door and start teaching! Anything, for that matter!
So, it is true when they say that half of the lesson’s success (and more, I would add) is based on the teachers’ quality and willingness to bounteously share their knowledge and experiences.
Thinking about Greece (sorry, I can’t help it!) I would say that, given the difficulty level of (most of) our classes, and if combined with this kind of teaching and environment, our schools and Universities would have more credibility and efficacy.
And I wonder, should our teachers and professors consider attending a relevant seminar? Now, that's something that can make me go... hmm!