Calling time on the 2009/10 Academic Year

Well, the kids in Turkey are now relaxing on their summer holidays, I've got feedback on my MA assignments (passed with flying colours :)) and the 'seminar period' (in which we hardly ever have seminars) at work is about to finish. Next year will be all change: after 6 years of teaching 3rd Grade English, I have been told I'll be moved to 5th Grade next year to work on the 'conversation' programme, which focuses on writing skills development, graded readers and prep for the Cambridge ESOL exams. Yes, I know - very little to do with conversation but such is the way labels are applied in the world of TEFL.

An interesting opportunity may arise through this change of grades though as I've been asked to out my knowledge acquired so far on the MA to use and overhaul the webspace that currently exists for the 5th Grade. I'm told it's a blog but, much like the conversation classes I'll soon be teaching, it's not a blog but a wiki instead. Unfortunately, it's been underused by both students and teachers to date so I'll be aiming to change all that. I'm bursting with ideas for collaborative writing tasks, text reconstruction activities, webquests and web-based projects. A good thing I've got all summer to prepare and design what to do!

But hang on a minute - a discussion about how to proceed with the website today revealed that I might not end up in 5th Grade after all. 4th Grade is now apparently a possibility all depending on numerous factors and unlikely to be clearly settled before September. Nevermind as 4th Grade also has a 'conversation' programme and at present there is no dedicated webspace for that age group so I still get the chance to put theory into practice (I hope).

I have mixed feelings about moving on from 3rd Grade. I have taught some great groups of kids there over the last few years and, as foreign teachers are solely responsible for the English programme (classes are split between a foreign teacher and a Turkish teacher in 4th and 5th Grade), I really got to connect with the students and know them well. However, it is also time to move on and try something new I think and the chance to work with a slightly older age group with a higher level of English will be welcome. Onwards and upwards!