Trajectory of a Firework

“Make ’em go AH AH AH, You’re gonna leave ’em all in AWE AWE AWE!!!”

The lyrics of this song naturally bring light to many questions for English Language Learners. Not to mention poetic devices galore!! Like yesterday, the spirit of class soared as we began, but it did not start exactly like I had hoped.

I had to improvise when a) I had a new student nervous and very anxious due to the full class, chatter, and simply being that it was his first day, in a new school, of a new and unfamiliar language, in an entirely new country. b) The class was all over the place. Nobody had their journals ready, as my other, smaller classes always do. A few people were not present and leisurely walked into the door. Earphones were in, and I stood with my hand up as a mere 5-8 students waited ready. I got their attention by saying loudly and sternly, “Everybody FREEZE.” I gave a few who were moving and speaking my “Ms. L is angry” stare (curious to know what that even looks like, but it is rather effective) and once I paused and had everyone’s attention I spoke in a low and calm voice. “When the second bell rings, everyone should be in your seat, (exaggerated pause) with your journal open, (exaggerated pause #2) no phones in sight, and binders next to you. (LONG pause again). Now, we are going to all walk back outside, and try again. It worked. They respectfully walked in, sat in their seats and were quietly ready.

Once it all worked out, I raised my joyous energy and spoke sweetly, telling them to find their purple pages with the printed Katy Perry lyrics of “Firework” where we proceeded to read line by line, stopping to explain a word or phrase. I inserted drama where it was necessary to demonstrate the meanings and concepts, and appropriate emotions provoked by the metaphors. It wasn’t until I became a teacher that I realized my loud and dramatic opera-singing attitude would serve me so well. It’s a good thing I never subdued myself into a shell of conformity despite a lot of resistance to my “singing in the rain” demeanor.

Then, I surprised them and without hesitation said “Everyone stand.” I pointed to a word written in the agenda for the day and asked them to read it to me. “Participation” they said in unison. “How do we get an A for today?!” I exclaim. Again they say in unison, “Participation!” I pressed play. I weaved in and around the groups as they smiled and read from their lyrics. I turned down the volume during AH AH AH or AWE AWE AWE to hear their angelic sweet voices as they smiled back at me, and we did it once more before the bell ring where it was even more enthusiastic of a sound. We went over their new vocabulary, stopping for sentences and examples as I tallied points for groups who made use of their minutes when directed to tell their partners a sentence with the word. Class was smoooooth and exciting. They were alert, and supportive. I was prepared and had many visuals for them at the appropriate times for different meanings, examples and explanations. I sneaked in affirmations that they had to say out loud as well. Shneaky shneaky muahahahaha. The new student beamed, and he was welcomed. Everyone learned something. I am a very pleased teacher.