Planning My Lesson
The time leading up to the beginning of class is quite a vital time period. There are many things that go into preparing for the classroom, things that one would not consider never having taught before. I know that I never looked at the tiniest details when I was the student on the other end. After learning what it takes and what is expected, I understand the importance of it all now.
The lesson plan is the first and most important step when preparing for the classroom. It is not as simple as writing out a fun and engaging lesson, but rather a calculated procedure to reach a specific goal. My first step is looking at the material I must cover for that class period. It is useful to look at how many pages or what material you want to get through in the given amount of time. I usually look through the book and highlight the main aims such as target vocabulary or grammar.
Once you know what the end result should be, you can start from the very beginning. The lesson plan should always have an aim in mind and during the class you work up to that aim. With younger kids, there should be games and activities that help them practice the target language. Each moment in the classroom is bolstering the next and eventually you reach the final activity where the culmination of all the learning comes together. It is quite satisfying watching the progression of these events unfold in the classroom.
After the lesson plan is finished, the next step is preparation. There are many ways in which to teach children and kids and they are all effective in their own ways. Lately, I’ve been on this preparation binge of creating materials for every single class. I find myself spending more than enough time creating things and using them every day. These materials have the benefit of being recyclable and useful to others with similar levels of learners. During the writing of the lesson plan, I place an asterisk next to anything that may need some preparation.
After the plan is finished, I go through and look for all of the marks to see what and how I should create these materials. Most of the time PowerPoints are in order to introduce new vocabulary or grammar points. Other times creating dialogues, games and activities are the main part of the preparation. I think that this part of planning takes up the majority of the time.
Like stated previously, another way of approaching preparation is using as few materials as possible. This has many benefits and allows you to be more flexible in the class. It is nice to not have to rely on using outside materials in the classroom. Either way, as long as you know what you are going to do and how you are going to do it, then you will be ready.
One of the last things leading up to the beginning of class is getting the classroom ready. Like many of the other aspects, I hadn’t given this much thought until quite recently. Even after having taught for a few months, I did not think that preparing the classroom was an important determinant of how class was going to take off. Well, I learned from my boss that it is in fact a necessary procedure. The atmosphere can really set the mood of the entire class whether in a good way or a bad way. What kind of message would you be giving if a student were to walk in and the desks are not in order, the computer is not on, and nothing is ready? It would show your lack of organizational skills as well as your lack of preparation. This was me a few months ago. Now I have the computer on with all materials ready at the click of a mouse, vocabulary and grammar points taped on the walls around the room, and the desks ready in a structured manner. When the students enter the classroom, they know that it is game time and it is time to teach and learn.
There are so many things to consider when teaching English abroad. It is quite difficult to pick up on these things never having taught before. The best way to learn your methods is by trial and error. Every teacher has tried things that failed before and then accounted for it the next class period. The only thing that we can do to try and guarantee our success is to prepare as much as possible so that when we walk into the room, we have everything at our disposal to give teaching everything we have.