Confidence is Key!
Teaching for the first time can be an exciting, yet stressful, experience. No matter what training you’ve taken to prepare yourself the thought of teaching in front of a classroom of children, or adults, can cause trepidation. Questions of doubt will start to enter your mind but all of these questions can be put to rest by building, and focusing on, your confidence in the classroom. How do you achieve this confidence? First, you must remind yourself that you are a native English speaker! This fact alone should help put to ease those worries about teaching proper grammar and vocabulary. Your students are coming to your class to learn from an expert, and that’s you! You already know more than they do so take this knowledge and run with it!
Second, to help with your confidence in class it’s always best to have a lesson plan made of what you want to teach that day. Include details of the activities you’ll be doing, materials needed for those activities, the time it should take to complete those activities, as well as back up activities if your timing goes faster than expected. Then, take the lesson plans into class with you! It’s not a bad thing to have a reminder of the structure of the class at your fingertips. Having good lesson plans accessible during class will help ease the pressures of being a new teacher. Keep yourself prepared and you’ll see your confidence build.
Lastly, have fun! English is a boring, and sometime difficult, language to study (unless you majored in it, then… woohoo English!) so we need to make our classes as fun and entertaining as possible. Adding games into the lesson, whether our students are adults or children, will help not only with enlivening the atmosphere but it will also help with students’ retention of the material. Seeing your students deliver language during a game, and having fun with it, will also build your confidence in what activities you choose to do in your class. Plus, the more fun your students have in your class, the more they will enjoy coming to your class. In the end, no matter how you conduct your lesson, your students will appreciate you because you’re taking time out of your life to teach them a skill they deem important. So remember to be you, smile, and have fun with your students!
Resources are Your New Best Friend
Trying to figure out how to create a good lesson plan and what materials to use can be an exhausting task. But even the most experienced teachers come to roadblocks when figuring out good lessons to teach their students. This is where finding good resources comes in handy. Good resources can range from talking to other teachers, looking around online at ESL websites (like this one!), to reading books about teaching. But never think that you are alone in this endeavor. The teaching community is a vast community filled with all different kinds of educators with different personalities, teaching methods, and classroom ideas that may suit you perfectly. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or ask someone to point you in the right direction to find additional help. We all get stuck sometimes but the best way to get unstuck is to get an outside, unbiased opinion or idea.
When In Doubt, Drinking Game It Out!
Even when finding resources we, as teachers, often wonder if that idea, game, or activity will be good enough to put into practice in our own classrooms. It never hurts to try. The worst thing to come out of a “failed” activity is having students practice speaking more, and that’s still a really good result! If you start to find yourself not liking activities that you find then don’t be afraid to attempt to make your own! If you do attempt to make one on your own, remember you’re not trying to re-invent the wheel! The simplest of activities can be some of the best language producing, and entertaining, activities for your students. My personal approach when thinking of new games is to revamp my favorite drinking games into phonics, vocabulary, or grammar games. These are the easiest ones to make, in my opinion, because you (potentially) already know the rules and game set up, now replace the alcohol with spelling, writing, or speaking and, voila!, you’ve got yourself a fun, new production activity for your next class!
In the end, don’t worry about being a new teacher. All teachers have been new to the field at one point or another and we know how it feels to have doubt, anxiety, and fear. With time it will become natural and you will find yourself passing on these beginner tips to the next rookie teachers coming into your school.