Learning to teach

Maria Niechwiadowicz


In addition to language class in the mornings, our afternoons were focused on entirely on teaching. We were instructed my Amity staff as well as current Teacher Volunteers as to what to expect in the classroom, teaching techniques, and Chinese culture. However, most days were spent watching ‘practice’ lessons.

Amity brought in a class of 7th graders and 10th graders, respectively, who came each day to receive a lesson from one of us. We were each instructed to prepare a 45 minute lesson based on a topic of our choice that presented new vocabulary to the students, pronunciation practice, and sentence building.

I had mentioned before that I have been quite nervous about coming into this position as a teacher, feeling unqualified. But after observing a lesson or two, I was filled with excitement, realizing that my experience in Children’s Ministry and theatre is a huge benefit. As Arnold and I created a lesson plan to teach about the four seasons, I found that it was easy for me to come up with creative ways to teach and engage the students. In presenting each season we planned activities that allowed the 7th grade students to formulate sentences in orally and in writing, while also presenting new vocabulary.

Here are some great pictures:IMG_7359


                   Introducing the seasons                                                                                               Discussing how winter feels


Autumn Activity: Throwing a “football” around the                                                                         Reading sentences together!
circle,each student was instructed to created a
sentence about an activity/sport that they like to do.

                        Tag-team Teaching!                                                                                                  Describing the difference
                                                                                                                                                     between ‘mittens’ and ‘gloves.’

Showing the students a picture                                                                           Teaching “The Tree Song” in light of Spring :)
    of me in the winter of SD!                                                      

IMG_7457I was incredibly pleased by how well the lesson went and how natural it felt for me! But despite my comfort, I learned a lot in the moment and from peer critiques. While the students seemed to understand me very well compared to some of the German students with thick accents, my comfort with English creates a faster speech. I found I needed to slow down as well as simplify my language. There were moments that I did catch myself, creating it into a teaching moments, but others I did not realized. For example, in speaking about winter I asked the students tell me what it feels like. The only word they could come up with was ‘cold’ so I introduced the word ‘chilly.’ But in explaining it I said that it was like the word ‘cold,’ or the feeling you get when a shiver goes up down your spine. I did not realize that they probably did not understand the word ‘shiver’ either.

After this experience I feel very confident in starting my term as a teacher at Ningxia University!

             End of class high-fives!


1 Corinthians 12:4-6 “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”