Teaching 4th Grade

On Friday, I had an enjoyable class with my eleven 4th-graders. They are a really smart group though often seem unmotivated. I have interspersed my lessons with fun videos (e.g. Pixar shorts) and they had begun to start chanting “video, video” as soon as they entered the classroom. So, I was a bit surprised with how well it went when I decided to “wing it” and sit down and just try to get them to understand a few things: specifically about how the words “on”, “in”, “under”, “over”, and “near” are used (well, often used, anyway). Jason was in the room at the time (which probably was part of the reason they were more focused) and he asked to borrow my phone – he took several short videos and I’ve strung them together below. I consider this class one of the high points in my tenure here. There have been equally profound low points 🙂

Retired software engineer from New Jersey, USA, happily married to Grace for 30 years, proud father of Michael for 29 years, I am enjoying traveling and teaching English as a second language in my retirement.

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6 comments on “Teaching 4th Grade
  1. Cathy says:

    Great teaching class, John! You were right down on their level with good eye contact. It sure seemed that you had their keen interest and curiosity angled in your direction, without a lot of goofing off. Pretty masterful of you, I’d say, for a bunch of fourth grade boys! Also, it’s really amazing to see you sit on your knees for that length of time! :-). You seem like such a Natural! I admire all your teaching accomplishments. The kids will really miss you! B4N

    • Thank you, Cathy… that means a lot to me coming from such an experienced good teacher. This segment was special: not typical – often I struggle to keep their attention. It doesn’t help that they seem to know they can get away with misbehaving with a volunteer teacher. The local teachers still use “the rod” when necessary and have encouraged us to use it too but, of course, we could not do that. Jason is a great teacher and always speaks with a stern, deep voice – I have seen him walk around with “the rod” but he says he never hits them – that he loves them too much.

    • Haha – thanks so much for the nice compliments – sitting on my knees is much easier than controlling 4th-grade boys – as I said, there have been many (un-filmed) moments where things were not in control.

  2. Cathey Lynch says:

    What a great video, not to mention an excellent lesson. These children are so lucky to have spent time with you. Im sure they (and Jason) will miss you.

    • Thanks so much, Cathey. I found it great fun too – you know when they’re interesting and listening and that makes it feel like you’re accomplishing something. Not sure they will miss me but, unfortunately, it seems things are headed downhill at this school and they may not have any more foreign volunteers… has to do with school politics that I describe in my next post. That is too bad, in particular, for the kids who enjoy learning English.

  3. Charlotte says:

    Fun to watch! And I’ve been enjoying reading Cathy’s comments, which reflected many insights from her teaching experiences.