Many readers will be surprised.
Many readers will NOT be surprised.
Some maybe will be shocked.
After having been an advocate for Genki English, especially for the homework program, for many many years, it is not easy to write what I am going to write.
Last spring, I more or less stopped working with Genki English.
I had been feeling that I need to make some changes in my teaching, for many years.
But the thought that this might mean 'teaching without Genki English' at first scared me like hell.
Then there were all kinds of rumors and problems around tech. When I heard about the possibility that Genki English might stop working on certain gadgets, I suddenly got scared. And I felt how dependent I had made myself AND my students.
Dependent from a certain curriculum and program.
I am a 'ditch textbooks' type teacher, and I don't like the idea of teaching a curriculum.
I AM TEACHING STUDENTS, and I want to see each single student as they are on each day I meet them. I want to flow with them, with each ones need and developmental stage.
So, the feeling that I would be scared of losing a certain program; this feeling itself told me that I HAVE to move forward and go on without.
Is it a coincidence that for 2 years I had no new class starting, where usually I have multiple?
No moving forward.
COVID helped me moving forward
Just within this time of 'I want to move on, I need to move forward!' COVID hit!
As you all know, I got ONLINE from March 1, 2020~and for me it was obvious, that I would not go on teaching Genki English in ONLINE classes.
My students all had the program at home, so they could play games and songs at home on their own; doing this in class -a computer screen via a computer screen - made no sense to me.
So, suddenly it was a given fact, that I need to figure out new ways and methods. In the first month, I still told kids to check the GE homework program and prepare class, but eventually my assignments changed completely.
More work~More results
I won't make a secret out of this: it was MUCH MORE work. Telling kids a topic to prepare, and play the game and song until they remember the vocab and phrases is one thing. Genki English Homework Program works amazing well for this, and is fun.
Little work for the teacher. And I am grateful I had this while my own kids were still little.
But the results with my new ideas during this last year, were amazing.
A completely new dimension for several reasons.
One big reason was that with my new style, parents are involved. They cannot just open the computer and say 'GO!'
So it suddenly is like: whole families are learning English together.
Also, my students now relate more to the content we learn together.
It is their own.
Of course my own prep. has changed a lot, too. I had been spoiled with 15 years of Genki English. I know exactly what to teach in which situation/season/class, where to find it, what stories to tell, what are the best games to play.
But I really do not like the same thing twice and always look for new ways and things. This is why I did so many projects over the years: to escape a routine.
For classes, it was never hard for me to teach without even opening the program.
I came from a background where I had learned a lot on improvisation, dance, presentation, verbal and non verbal communication. So in class, with my students in front of me, Genki English was like a little treat.
But for homework I didn't even want to think of any other options than the homework program.
Well, in February one full year of online and in person teaching ended and I had seen many new ways to teach and tried many new ideas. BUT a big rock of uneasiness was still left:
non of these classes I had been teaching so far were complete beginners. They all had a base already.
I decided to try it anyway and to start a new class without Genki English.
3 new classes
I felt very uncertain, but I happened to end up with 3 new classes instead of 1, as planned.
The way I needed to set things up was new for me, as so far I would simply sell the homework program USB and that was it, but now there was a lot to explain and demand from parents to get everyone on one platform.
I was worried, but my motto :
GO WITH THE FEAR!
Otherwise I wouldn't be where I am.
Genki English is a great program
I still think Genki English is a great program and I recommend it , especially to teachers who are just starting out. It has system and structure, and we need to have these to find our own good ways of teaching.
But I think, if we get too accustomed to ANY thing, this is where we start limiting ourselves.
We can always become better, and our students also can and have to always become better. My 5 year olds today are different than my 5 year olds were 5 years ago, and those were already far beyond the 5 year olds I had taught 10 years ago.
We should never limit ourselves to ONE textbook, ONE method, ONE teacher. Even not myself. I tell my students to move forward, do suggest other teachers at times, and definitely tell them to listen well to their English teachers in school, too~because these will and can teach them something I can't.
Today I listened to an amazing book, that reminded me that letting go is important to be able to move forward.
I am grateful that the last year taught me many things. Also how to let go and how to move forward.
To those who decided to unfollow me: Thank you very much!
I also know that I did loose many followers and fans, because of my silence around Genki English.
Thanks for your interest and your posts and discussions over the years.
For those who are still interested in my teaching and trainings, I will be happy to see you reading and asking questions. I still have a lot to share, and will do so.