If you could have one superpower to use in the classroom, what would it be and how would it help?
Right off the bat, I want to say super hearing. It would be so useful for hearing those students whispering in English. But some of my students have already told me I have super hearing, and I think there’s something better out there, so while it’s tempting, I think I’ll pick something else.
Super speed would be nice for getting through all that grading…but I’ve pared down the assignments this year, and grading hasn’t really been an issue.
I think the best thing that I, as a language teacher, could have would be an ability to read minds. Obviously it would be amusing and interesting, but I think it would also be useful for me. Since I have placed a lot of emphasis this year in outlawing English with my 2s, 3s, and 4s, and since I don’t speak English with my 1s (I let them…for now), reading minds would be helpful for figuring out when students are totally lost and why. Which word are they hung up on? If I know where the disconnect is in their heads, I can fix it easily!
On all my desks, I have a little ring with 3 pieces of paper: red (No entiendo nada), yellow (Entiendo un poco), and green (Entiendo todo), but these are not the magic system I was hoping they would be. The first few days, the kids loved waving the red paper at me to tell me they were totally lost. Now, they still like to wave the red right when I begin to explain something (when I wouldn’t expect them to understand yet anyway), but then as they start to figure it out, they forget about the papers and move on with their lives. So I’m sometimes left with one or two students who don’t know what’s going on, but who haven’t signaled that to me, so I don’t know and then I move on and they get even more lost. It’s quite the cycle.
So yes, I think I’ll go with mind reading, just for this one application. I’m sure it would be helpful in other ways too, but I’ll just count those as a bonus.