If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.
~ Tom Watson
That quote could easily be referring to sewing, but this time I happen to be talking about my ESL class. My second year of teaching English as a Second Language to Hispanic adults started up in early September. I was really excited about it - looking forward to improving on everything I tried last year.
What I didn't expect was the jump in enrollment - I have more than double the number of students from last year!
(Before you think that this is some reflection of my teaching, you should know that the Board of Directors launched a big campaign to draw in new students this year.)
I generally feel more confident than I did last year and I do think I'm doing a better job - but I have to say, looking out over 17 or 18 students and trying to make sure that each one is with me is very intense!
One issue that I'm still facing is the range in educational backgrounds. Just like last year, I have students with college degrees (earned in Spanish) and at least one student who is completely illiterate - she doesn't even know the Spanish alphabet.
So, in addition to the regular activities for each class session, I'm putting together easier exercises for my weaker students and supplemental activities for my stronger students (to fill the time when they finish the regular activities earlier than expected).
I found this cool book called "Take it to Your Seat: Vocabulary Centers" that has everything that you need to create a series of themed folders - each containing an activity that students can do alone or in pairs, at their desks.
The themes include things like antonyms, synonyms, suffixes, prefixes, etc. The book contains everything you need to make each folder - including a title page, a page of instructions, some kind of puzzle or game to play, a worksheet and an answer key to the work sheet.
I got all the pages laminated, cut out all the pieces, photocopied the worksheets and assembled all of the folders today. I'm excited to see what my students think of them. :)
As for Tom Watson's thought, let's hope that I'm increasing my success rate this year and NOT doubling my failures... ;)