FREEDOM WRITER: A Trainee Teacher’s Journal

Saturday, 16th September 2011

This is my first time to apply my mini writing journal program in Language Class. Everybody in our PPL group have to observe the class they have taught and take two students as case-study. To know what their difficulties in learning the subject are, what makes them feel difficult, etc. I held two classes every week. Science Class and Language Class. My other partners only have one class a week. I intentionally take two classes, because I want to know how to manage a small class (Language Class) and also a big class (Science).

Can I really be a full-fledged teacher in the future? (I wanna be a lecturer actually...Sigh...)
I chose to take my sample from Language Class. You can say it's "a bit of cheating", since Language Class has pretty much smaller number of group (which was 9 students compared to 40 students in Science Class). However, I just feel like I'm more welcomed in Language Class. Frankly speaking, I'm still looking some ways to make more students of Science class feel more interested in my taught. Today, I just able to make 11 of 40 students in Science Class to do active participation in the class 
debate. I just realized it after school ended (yeah I counted the number of active students every time the classes ended. Correction, there were only 37 students since the 3 escaped from my class! And I met one of them in front of the class before he escaped! I didn't stop him because I thought he was going to go to rest room and would be back later. But the fact, of course he didn't return until English session ended. GOD! When I held the session, I didn't realize that 'we were the minority' because those students were really active! 

What's wrong with me? Usually students are curious and lively when it comes to debate session. I was a debater in my senior high school. When my teacher held a class debate in the class, even my friends who were not debaters were joining the session in such high spirit…

This movie is really inspired me to make a journal writing program too.

Back to my program for case study in Language Program. Though you maybe think I'm cheating for choosing the smaller class as my study field, I have reasonable reasons for that. I asked the students from Language Class, what exactly they difficulties in learning English. I actually could guess the answers before I questioned them when I was having them doing a group presentation in front of the class. Yeah, almost all of them feel difficult in applying language active skills which is SPEAKING and WRITING. Who don't? Even I, was experiencing trouble in those two when I was in their age. Maybe I was even worse, who knows? Just for your information, I studied in Language Program too for 2 years in my last high school. My teacher had us to do a lot of presentations (group or individual) so at least my friends and I could fix some problems on those. So I decided to do the same for this Language Class. Moreover, as students in Language Program, they have to be more expert in Languages than those from other classes like Science and Social programs.

Then, instead of only choosing two students from that class, I take all 9 students as my subject to be observed. Of course I do it informally coz I was only allowed to write two names of them for my report. So then, my kids from Language program and me has reached an agreement to make Saturday as our "Journal Writing and Speaking Class" sessions (since we have two meetings every week, Wednesday and Saturday. Wednesday is for "normal session".) Now here is the report about what happened in the program last Saturday.

2nd Session of the Journal Writing Program

Wait, did I type "2nd" above? But I did say on top that this is my 1st time to do this mini program in Language Class, didn't I? This is not a typo, Mate. One last Saturday before this Saturday, I should have the class and did the 1st session with my kids. However, last Saturday my faculty wanted me to play keyboard for Judisium (the graduation exercise in division level, in this context, in faculty level, not the university level). So yeah I missed the class and I felt so bad for my kids. I had asked my partner to substitute me but I still feel that wasn't what I suppose to do… So… in the previous meeting, as I told him, my partner had have my kids to practice some expression of giving and asking opinions, disagreement, agreement, dissatisfaction, and also expression of satisfaction. And for the program, I want each of the 9 to make a 300-words composition about "THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON FOR ME IN THE WORLD". They can just write about their parents, friends, lovers, or even their idols. Sweet isn't it?

Of course I entered the class with such a big hope that everyone will be ready to submit their works so I can check them in home. In fact, only one student submitted her work. The rest didn't bring it, or they forgot or they didn't know that they should bring the works that day. They promised to submit it via e-mail and I'm still waiting for their e-mail now. (ARRRRGGHHHRRRR) OK, then as what I've planned since weeks ago, I asked them to made a short speech about what they have written in front of class. I had prepared a rubric to evaluate the speakers. In this session, I'm not the only one having priority to score the speakers when they performed their speeches, but also the other students. The rubric's format was so simple. I took the rubric from this websites (click HERE) But I made some adjustments and simplify the category because the rubric will be also used by my students. This is my version (click HERE)


Of course I had told my partner to tell them a week ago. But again, most of them were not ready. So only two students willing to make the speech. FINE THEN! Dark clouds covered me for instant, but I'm not allowed to be angry to them! FINE! Sigh! Kids these days! I never treated the PPL teachers like that when I was as young as them. This is really the end of century. Thanks God, the two's speeches were so good and entertaining that all of us could giggle together and then give some comments for each speaker. At least I didn't need to feel too miserable (or maybe I should have felt it as contemplation).


First student to make a speech was DEE (yep, this is just a code name for them. Since I publish this journal in my blog, I think I need to keep my kids identity in secret and just use code names instead of mentioning their true names here __though maybe my kids who read this blog will know who exactly I mean by the codes). She made a really touching speech about her three grades of the most important people for her in this world. She mentioned God in the 1st place. God is not really a person actually, but I can understand her of placing God as the most important ultimate being for her. Frankly speaking, I'm surprised! Since I'm dealing with high school students here, I thought they would all talk about famous people or celebrities like Justin Bieber and friends. It was so beyond of my expectation and impressed me so much for having some students who are really have good spiritual intelligence here. I though I have to learn a lot from DEE, since I was about to write about SHIM CHANGMIN of DBSK if only I was told to make the same composition. (Astaghfirullah, Ukhti! XD)

She placed her family in the second place. She said that she lived with her parents and two brothers. She is the middle daughter. She was really grateful for having such a nice family that have taught her many precious lessons. Then in the 3rd place she placed her friends. She said that her friends has taught her about different way to survive in this world. In her writing version, she closed her story with a really nice words:

"Their life stories make me realize that I'm not the only one who gets pain in this world. Everyone get their own story, and each of them facing it with a different way. It makes me like having a back plan for solving my problem"

I was gladly gave her A for point of INTRODUCING, SEQUENCE/ORGANIZATION OF SPEECH, also in VOCABULARY POINT and B for her FLUENCY (there is still some dead-silences). However, I feel like being perforced to give her B- in GRAMMAR and SPELLING point. She often forgot to add some 's or 'es when she mentioned about the verb which have SHE/HE pronouns. Some words were also misspelled. Well, mostly we are still think in Indonesian when speaking English. I often did that too. So I'm sure we can fix this little problem as the program goes on…

I think I have a talented writer in my class. NICE. It also made me realize that maybe DEE is a sanguine-melancholy person. I thought she was fully sanguine for always act so cheerful in my class. Listening and reading to her soft way in expressing her feelings, I think I have to treat her more carefully because melancholy people usually is so sensitive… Oh well. It's good for me to know it faster (sometimes my sanguine mouth talked faster than my brain)

The next speaker is the leader of the class. Let's call her by GEE. Gee is way more energetic and active in class compared to her other friends. She never stops making me surprised of her behavior; I mean it in positive ways. GEE said that the most important people is not only about parents or friends, because we actually can learn a lot from others too. So she told us about her EX-BOYFRIEND! Hahahahaha…so indeed I am dealing with high school kids for real! GEE said, she had so many Ex (how many are them actually? Haha). However, I wonder why she mentioned her EX instead of her present boyfriend. But it's not my place to be nosy.


She said her ex was just an ordinary boy, but with his ordinariness, she felt comfortable besides him. That he taught her many things. The GEE told us about her ex is very witty. All of us kept giggling until she finished her speech. Just like with DEE, I gave her A for INTRODUCTION point and SEQUENCE or ORGANIZATION OF SPEECH. For the point of FLUENCY, I gave her A. But also the same as DEE, I gave her B- for VOCABULARY and GRAMMAR-SPELLING point. So, I know what to fix now. Just how I can help them to fix these, since sometimes many English-Speaking people also don't care at all with grammar while speaking (my lecturer said that pronunciation is way more important than those grammars when you wanna talk with the foreigner


At least I will try to fix the pronunciation. It means, I have to fix mine too. Thank's God, I took phonology class again this semester.

I hope the class will be ready for other session. I want the other to speak up and actively participate too.


Written in Sunday Night (17th September 2011, 10.00 P.M.) to Monday Morning (2.00 A.M). Hoahemm
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