Two months with Olives standard 4

By 5 years ago
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Orla’s 2 months of teaching standard 4 at Olives

The day before we started teaching I was feeling very nervous as I only finished sixth form last year, so it’s still fresh in my memory how hard some students can be. I was pleasantly surprised at how good the kids were and how keen they were to learn. Of course we had a few kids who tried to test Laura and I, but as the week went on they knew we weren’t going to accept their disruptive behaviour. One of the boys who I guess you could call the ‘naughtiest’ one of the class really changed when I did one-to-one reading with him. After praising him for his reading skills he made sure to sit at the front of the class every lesson and complete all the class work. Even if you tell one of them ‘well done’ or ‘good work’ there’s no wiping their smiles off their faces. 

Orla teaching English to standard 4

I never knew stickers could encourage someone to do well in class either. At the beginning we would give kids a sticker if they completed all the work even if they got a few mistakes but now we only actually give them out to those who get 100%, because they just started to dwindle away very quickly. They’re sticker mad! Some of them even throw strops if they get their book back without one and we have to explain to them why they didn’t get one. One student went on what I could only call a ‘work strike’ because he didn’t get one once, but after handing in a very good homework he got one so he started doing all the class work again.

Some of the standard 4’s

I was really impressed by how keen they are to learn and even in one-to-one reading they always want to try harder books, even if it could take about half an hour to read they don’t give up. The other week we had a new student join our class who doesn’t speak a word of English but he is still really trying. Once he got so frustrated in one of the English lessons he cried, but when trying to tell him everything was okay and there was no need to cry that just made him even more upset because he didn’t actually understand what we were saying. But the other kids in the class were very helpful and they often translate the work for him and help him complete it.

One-on-one reading with James

I’m slowly coming to the end of my time here but can’t really understand how on earth it’s been two months already. I know I’m leaving the kids in good hands but will miss them dearly.

By volunteer Orla Nech