My first time teaching… the first steps.

Today marks my first day as an English teacher in Madagascar. We were told to prepare a 30 minute micro-lesson on a specific subject. I was told to teach the “Present Perfect Simple” to a class of 50 5eme students. (For those of you who do not know how the European system works, 5eme would be the equivalent to 7th grade.) Starting from 6eme/6th grade the numbers decrease as they go up in school years:IMG_7130 copy

6eme = 6th grade       5eme = 7th grade    4eme = 8th grade   3eme = 9th grade   2nde= 10th grade   1ere = 11th grade  Terminale = 12

As I prepared my lesson plan last night I became more and more nervous on how I would be able to accurately describe the inner workings of the “Present Perfect Simple” tense to a group of animated 7th graders. Mind you in the Malagasy school system the English language is presented and taught for the first time starting in 6th grade.

I entered the room this afternoon and was greeted with curious anxious eyes. Rows of children in wood benches filled a yellow chipped classroom. I placed my flip chart posters up on the blackboard and began to write my name with white chalk on the board “My name is Charlotte.” “CHARLOTTTEE” the children repeated wiggling in their seats. I decided, and have always lived by this motto: have as much fun and joy when learning because this is the only way you will truly remember and gain knowledge. I asked all the students to stand up, they looked at me bewildered. “Please stand up” I motioned, “Now move around, wiggle your arms, your legs, your head, shake those hands, and wiggle those toes! Get excited!” They stared whispering to one another, then proceeded to move their hands, and wiggle their entire body, giggling and smiling ear to ear. “Okay class we are now READY to learn, please have a seat!” I smiled and told myself here we go… Present Perfect tense- I WILL CONQUER YOU!

I began by explaining the vocabulary that I planned to use throughout the lesson. I motioned to the paper images of fruit and objects I had drawn and cut out the night before. “What is this?” “Peeennaple!” “PINE-APPLE, PINEAPPLE! Great job, can you come over here and place the correct word by the image!” The student stood up and placed the separately cut out labels of fruits and objects with the correct image.  After going through the vocabulary and ensuring that all the students understood the words and meanings I moved on to explaining how to properly structure the Present Perfect Tense in a simple sentence.

I pointed to my flipchart: Structure for Present Perfect Tense

Subject + Have/Has + Past Participle

Example: I have played basketball

I explained what we use the Present Perfect Tense and how to form different sentences. Then I asked the students to come up and place the cut out objects in either sentences:

I have eaten_______.

She has bought _______.

He has played ________.

Once we finished this activity, I noticed some rustling in seats. I decided it’s time for a little game and to make sure these students move around! I stood up one section of the class and had then jump across the classroom. Eruptions of laughter came from the other students. “Class repeat please- THEY HAVE JUMPED!”

Great first day of teaching! Many more to come! J

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