I had the last meeting at the city hall with the other ALT yesterday and paid my school lunch fee as my last task to complete as an ALT at primary schools.
This morning as I got up sneezing ( Hay fever), I said to myself, "Ok. Time to reflect." So here I am at the morning table trying not to nag my teen daughter but to focus on reflecting on the days at primary school.
In 2013, the first year past so quickly as I struggle to figure out the most comfortable and effective ways of team-teach with homeroom teachers. Lesson planning and preparation were nightmarish in this period since no teaching materials or instructions were provided. I had to figure out where teaching materials were stored, what to do and where my classes were. I run around the schools like a chick without its mum, feeling totally lost and panic. I remember the exhaustion after work. I was also on MA program at Aston university, studying research skills A to Z for the weekends. On top of that, I tried to look after my own private classes and troubles that my teen brought. I would not have survived without losing my mental sanity if there were no supports from my family and mates. The motto I have acquired from some of the wise mates, "One step forward at a time and keep forwarding." worked really well when I needed to push myself to complete all the tasks within a day.
The second year, I felt more relaxed as an ALT due to all the lesson prep and familiarities I built with co-workers. I also knew which classroom I needed to go and what to do by then. I got used to the heck tick lifestyle and even managed to find time for some yoga sequences. Plus I started to gain confidence to finish my MA within provided period of time (Three years without paying any extra costs). Due to the Action Research I did with my private classes, my practice improved and I learned a lot about theoretical aspects of TEYL and essential background information of my private students.
In 2015, as soon as I heard that I would be awarded the Master of Science degree from Aston, I started wondering what can be the better role for me to improve English education at primary public schools. Private schools usually have their own program hiring specialists for English education. But I strongly believe reforming public education system will help more children develop language learning as well as social skills. If language learning is an area of social science, all the children should have the equal right to learn. But private schools can not offer learning opportunities for all the children due to the financial burden for their guardians. My urge to do research on some troublesome features of teaching practice at public elementary schools increased over the three years.
On March 18th 2016, I am here in the kitchen feeling anxious and thrilled at the same time in the face of my new challenge. From April, I will go back to the classrooms in primary schools as a researcher and observe English classes for a year. I'm not sure what kind or when but I will get more stories to tell.