Today was the first English lesson held by yours truly with the 3 older children of my friends. This seemed the right time as the excitement of the first weeks back at school have passed and they're settling into a routine. I've never taught English before and the kids are at slightly different levels so I'm not sure how well it's going to work out! But myself and the mothers have discussed that it's all an experiment and perhaps down the line we'll decide to do the lessons one on one.
The youngest of these 3 kids, at just 5 years old, asked me last week if I would teach him English, but he today had the hardest time staying focussed, spending most of the lesson going off to get different food from the nearby kitchen and playing around us, desperate for attention. Bless him! I am usually among the first to indulge him but today I was the teacher and the other 2 were being so good and attentive, it wouldn't have been fair to let myself get distracted.
We practised some colours, learned some parts of the body, played a variation of Simon Says, and it was all well received. The idea was to have the lesson total immersion so we would all be speaking only English throughout, but it would have been far too strict had I scolded them whenever they made the connection out loud between the words I was saying and the words they know in Italian. So instead I spoke only English throughout - mostly! It was actually quite hard to keep to English! I slipped a few times saying si (yes)! - and it was great to see how much they could grasp from intonation, body language and context so I never had to resort to explaining myself in Italian.
Most liberating of all: I sang! I never ever sing in front of anyone, not even drunk karaoke and was so self-conscious I practised in the car on my drive to the lesson! But the kids loved every minute of the Head, shoulders, knees and toes song, never stopping once to tell me I'm no Britney!
At the end the girl passed me a picture she'd made of a heart with (in Italian) "I like English. Thank you for letting us learn a bit of English". Yes, I can see this being very worthwhile.