On Friday I met two other classes: 10th and 12th graders. Both groups are made up of students who did German whan they began high school and started English two years later. They usually come from more comfortable families or at least families where the parents are interested in what their kids learn at school.
However because learning English first has become so popular, there are fewer students in those classes – usually about twenty. In general they are better at grammar, more hard-working but often self-conscious about their pronunciation.
The 10th graders looked very young – in fact two girls are only fourteen. Two kids stood out: a boy and a girl. The boy was born in Russia; he seems keen and bright. The girl tried to use varied ways of expressing the simple things we were going through and wrote on her personal presentation that she enjoyed speaking English for fun. The sort of remarks that make the day of a language teacher.
The 12th graders will be taking the school-leaving exam at the end of the year and they know they’ll be expected to work hard during the year which means that the first meeting is usually quite solemn. Last Friday was no exception. I told them about the course and the English exam before handing out exercises and the text we’ll be working on. They could chose what they wished to start with and soon got down to work.
Because we are leaving for Sweden on Monday on the school exchange I gave them all a lot of work so as to keep them busy while I am away. I hope they understand what is at stake and do it as diligently as possible.