I have been teaching two adult ESL classes since August, and I guess I have gotten lazy. The morning class is billed as Beginning and the evening as Mixed Level, but in reality they have both been intermediate, with the morning class being low intermediate and the evening class high intermediate. Life was pretty easy. I did one basic plan and used it, with modifications, in both classes. It worked pretty well. As the semester wore on, those modifications became easier and easier as I knew my students.
This semester, though, I find myself in a very different situation. My morning class, still ostensibly a beginning class, only has one beginning level student, with the rest being intermediates. This class will work fine with the way I was running class last semester. My evening class, however, is something totally new. I have intermediates and advanced students. I even have a couple who are almost proficient in English but want to work on their writing and oral fluency. In this class, what I did last semester is not going to work.
This week, for example, we got through almost everything I had planned for three days of class in two. (Fortunately, I had next week planned, so I will just start on that work early!) This is great — but it means I have to rethink the semester. I knew I was going to have to beef up the reading and writing we do in that class, but I think I may have to make bigger changes. Last night, for example, we worked on sentence stress as we read a text we had written on Monday. They didn’t have any trouble with it at all. The pronunciation work I do in the other class will be unnecessary for most of these students.
I am glad that our classes are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. It gives me several days to figure this out. I am excited to have the challenge, but a little worried, too. We’ll have to see what I come up with.