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Woe, What a Bad Teaching Experience

I believe that one of the most beneficial gains that come from when we write, is using our abilities to formulate thoughts, feelings and emotions conveyed in the form of words that are in essence, symbols ascribed to have meaning, and by which provides a medium for self-expression. Self-expression through writing helps us regulate, explore, and create emotions, explore meanings, and to rhetorically write a new narrative of an experience we’ve encountered or to simply share our experiences and observations with ourselves and others.

So, yes. This post is all about me working through my first negative teaching experience at Maun Senior. I knew one day it would arrive and sure enough, today was the day. Even as I write this I reel at the fact that I could not know what was going to happen, as if I should and must be able to tell the future.


As I’ve learned, teachers will utilize a syllabus to guide the lessons and activities they will teach and use in their classroom. Prior to arriving in Botswana, I created a syllabus and lesson plan to not only gain practice in creating these important aspects of teaching a subject, but to utilize the syllabus and lesson plan when applicable.

Although, I’ve asked to receive the syllabus for the English subject in my school, that is-- what are the skills and products the department would like for students to have learned, I have not yet received my copy. So, based on a previous test my students took and based on student scores, I’ve been teaching the skills that are very necessary for them to be able to use on their final exam in October.

Those skills in short are understanding the context within a passage to decipher meaning of a word, improving vocabulary, being able to write coherent subject-predicate sentences, answer comprehension and evaluative questions, and being able to write creative stories based on a prompt or subject matter.

The Issue

We’ve been practicing these skills for 3 weeks, especially because most of my students need more practice, and need to improve. In class today, however—a student asked me if we could move on to the next lesson in the syllabus. She seemed apparently, annoyed with doing context and evaluative practice exercises. Her main concern, however, was that the class just took a test where there was a question about writing a formal letter and that they did not know how to answer the question because I have not yet taught it to them.


Apparently, I was supposed to teach them how to write a specific type of formal letter. However, I have not received the departmental syllabus to know that alongside the skills I’ve been teaching, learning how to write the formal letter was a decided product the department wants the students to learn. Writing that specific formal letter might be on the final test, so they need to know how to write it.