Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Small Classes

This week is not only the last week of classes for the intensive language classes, but also the week of finals for the rest of the general courses. As a result, I've had pretty slim classes. In my night class, nearly half of the students have been away on a trip to Peru. On Monday night only 8 showed up, and last night only 5. But it's actually not that bad.

It's hard to teach to a large class, and I'm finding with the smaller classes that it actually changes the way you teach altogether. Instead of standing up, walking around, and projecting loudly, we can sit in a circle and talk, making it a more personal learning experience. The few students who are coming are also asking more questions, as if they are less embarrassed to ask questions with fewer students. It makes the whole atmosphere better.

We've also been getting through the material faster. Last night we waited until 6:15 to get started in case more students came late. We made it through all of the material I had planned by 7:35. Granted, we cut out the usual 10 minute break at 7 pm, but it's just easier to move along with fewer students. It even seems that they're really getting it. I just wish I was able to teach smaller classes all the time.

I also wanted to pass this along. This is an article from the New York Times writer Matt Gross, known as the Frugal Traveler. In this article, he writes about how to use credit cards and bank cards while traveling overseas. This is something that I've had to deal with quite often, and I actually use a Capital One card as well for the same reason that he mentions. Read the article for some good advice.

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