Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Your first day
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Newbie Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
SweetOne



Joined: 19 Jul 2003
Posts: 109

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2003 9:34 pm    Post subject: Your first day Reply with quote

I am wondering what you remember of your very first day teaching overseas? What struck you as the most challenging aspect and what was the most enjoyable? (not that they are mutually exclusive)

I have tutored many, but am facing my first job overseas in the not-to-distant future and would like some input from those who can recall their first time.

Thank you and I look forward to all your responses.

P.S. - It doesn't matter to me if your first country was China, Turkey, S. Africa, or ????
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2003 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The most challenging aspect for me was teaching classes of really low level students. I didn't have enough Japanese to help them along.

The thing I remember most was being stupid enough to pass out almost all of my business cards to my students on the first day!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
denise



Joined: 23 Apr 2003
Posts: 3419
Location: finally home-ish

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2003 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first class was a sub assignment. I was really freaked out about it--I had prepared all of my lessons for my own classes, and then I showed up at school to find out that one of the teachers was out sick and I'd have to take over his class. This was in the Czech Republic, and a lot of my school's students ("clients") were business students--this particular class was for Warner Brothers. Basically all I ended up doing was going to their office and kinda chatting with them, the class being a "conversation" class (oh, how I hate that label!), and looking at all of their movie posters. It turned out to be a pleasant experience, but still, I'd rather not have had to sub for my first lesson. Sad

d
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Cobra



Joined: 28 Jul 2003
Posts: 436

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First day routine:

Self-introduction.
Have students write their English name on a placard and put it in front of them where I can see it.
Student self-introductions
Discuss each English "name" its origins and meaning.
Require name changes when appropriate. (Many "names" are just English words from a dictionary)
Hand out class rules and post a copy in classroom.
Discuss class rules and gradeing system.
Explain difference between language learning and language acquisition.

This usually takes the first two hours.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ben Round de Bloc



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1946

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first foreign teaching job was in a language school here in the same city where I still live and teach (but not at the same school.) This was after teaching for many years in public schools in the States. Some of the things I remember from my first days teaching in that language school:

1. Small classes of from 5 to 9 students. I was used to 30+ students per class.

2. The casual, non-academic approach to teaching.

3. A site director whose comments indicated to me that she was pretty clueless about second language acquisition.

4. The politeness of all of the students. I guess I expected it from the adult classes, but I was surprised by how well behaved the children and teenagers were.

5. An incredibly helpful, congenial secretary.

6. A very limited supply of materials and equipment (supplementary materials, games, tape recorders, etc.)

7. Meeting some really nice fellow teachers.

8. Hardly any paperwork to fill out and turn in.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Roger



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First class of foreigners I was supposed to be teaching English writing: A Chinese normal school (college of future English teachers).
It was a steaming hot September day, the school was noisy. I walked upstairs and past a couple of classrooms with their doors wide open.
My classroom's entrance came into view. I saw a mass of Chinese. I had been told it was going to be 35 students (and 70 in the English Literature classes!). Those in front noticed me.
A hush fell over the class.
My chest constricted. I summoned my courage, finally stepped into the classroom.
Some laughed out aloud. Others greeted me. I did not know how to begin class as I was used to having the full attention from students when entering their classroom. As I later learnt, I should have insisted on students standing up. Since they did not do that of their own free will I simply begged for silence, then introduced myself.
And that's when my Canadian colleague arrived on the scene.
She too was supposed to be teaching this very same class.
She beat a hasty retreat, and later we were told that the administration had misassigned two teachers to the same class at the same time.

So the first day taught me two hard lessons - about student behaviour, and about poor organisation on the part of the school, two features that have resurfaced many times over the years!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Wolf



Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 1245
Location: Middle Earth

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first EFL teaching experience was a case of extremes. I got hired by NOVA - via Toronto - to teach in Japan. I flew halfway across the planet - a door to door journey of 25 hours. When I finally arrived in Osaka I was placed in a hotel in Namba and told to wait - for four days. I amused myself by learning how to eat chopsticks and trying food at various restaurants (hard to do with no guide, no friends and no local language skills.)

Finally I get my orientation. This was only to let us know that a) we were in Japan (which I had figured out anyway) and b) our company's rules were to be obeyed lest the summoning of Lucifer occur. Well, they were polite, but we had about 2 hours of "if you do this that will be the consequence, if you do this then that will be the consequence ...." Then I got sent to a different city that night (the only one out of a group of 27 who ended up not staying in Osaka. How's that for fate?)

When I arrived there, I was taken . . . to a hotel. Again. In spite of the fact that my apartment was ready and the fact that I had to carry quite a bit of luggage through the subway system (I was moving and hadn't arrived yet, and the guy who met me was a cheapskate who wouldn't spring for a taxi.)

So I did my three day training living in another hotel. It was during the second night here that I experienced my first earthquake. I was given a dizzying intro onto The Meathod That Must Be Used Lest Dark Powers Be Summoned. After that I was finally moved into my apartment (which I shared with two others.)

On my first day I was given 40 minutes to prepare seven lessons. Shocked I remember thinking that I would be given this time for my entire probational period. Then I got told it was only for my first day. I asked "what do you expect me to do on my second day? It's going to take me more than one day to get used to this." I got a dismissive reply.

I remember that during my first week the other teachers complained about the music (heavy stuff with lyrics that cannot be printed on this fourm ). So I brought a Mozart CD one day. Hey, a) I was 22 b) back home people wouldn't mind and c) I had heard a report earlier about how Mozart helps reduce stress - an was I stressed. Well, it seems that Mozart was inappropriate (but not F*ck the Police. Rolling Eyes ) The branch manager took the CD out of the machine and handed it to me. In spite of the fact that the case was beside the machine, and I was in between classes with not much time to deal with this sort of thing.

This was a perfect foreshadowing of my time teaching there.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Steiner



Joined: 21 Apr 2003
Posts: 573
Location: Hunan China

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, Wolf. Doesn't sound like too much fun. I'm glad I came to China instead of Japan, if just for the better food:

Wolf wrote:
I amused myself by learning how to eat chopsticks
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
isabel



Joined: 07 Mar 2003
Posts: 487
Location: God's green earth

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first day of teaching was years ago. But my first day of teaching children was last week. In Korea. Oh my god! How in the world do teachers of children do it? My deepest respect to those who do. At the end of my first day I went home and didn't know what to do first- sleep or cry. Some people love it, and some kids are better than those in Korea. The really weird thing is that the Korean college students are the best in terms of demeanor. I understand that they get beaten regularly in junior high school.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Wolf



Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 1245
Location: Middle Earth

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steiner wrote:
Wow, Wolf. Doesn't sound like too much fun. I'm glad I came to China instead of Japan, if just for the better food:

Wolf wrote:
I amused myself by learning how to eat chopsticks


I meant for the first couple of days - not my whole three years there. There is a lot to do in Japan. If you're willing to learn the language and poke around, you can find just about anything you might have an interest in.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Steiner



Joined: 21 Apr 2003
Posts: 573
Location: Hunan China

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah. The first half of my post referred to your first day or so. The food comment referred to your eating chopsticks. Did you go on to feast on pencils and then baseball bats?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
SweetOne



Joined: 19 Jul 2003
Posts: 109

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Cobra"]First day routine:


Require name changes when appropriate. (Many "names" are just English words from a dictionary)

Cobra: I wonder why you require name changes at all? Even if the name is just a word, such as boondoggle, if that's the name they like, why not keep it? It isn't going to be used in thier real live, is it?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dduck



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 422
Location: In the middle

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first day, only a couple of months ago here in Mexico, I was driven a few miles out of town to a client's site. I asked about the students and the lesson and was told not to worry, all I had to do was talk to them and get to know them. Uptil the moment that my students walked in through the door I didn't know the first thing about them: how many, level, motivation, nada. These days I wouldn't blink an eye at this, but straight after an intensive CELTA course this felt WRONG WRONG WRONG!

Afterwards, I was so stressed all day that I couldn't sleep a wink. My boss repeated the exercise the following day at another company... Gradually, you get used to the chaos. Shocked No, Honestly!

Iain
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
yaramaz



Joined: 05 Mar 2003
Posts: 2338
Location: Not where I was before

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first day teaching 10-12 year olds in Turkey, in a verrrrry posh private school: first of all, I didn't know who I'd be teaching until I was handed a slip of paper at 9am with my schedule on it- it could have been grade 1s or grade 8s for all I knew. Nice to have time to prepare appropriately! The four foreign teachers were then hustled to an outdoor assembly in front of the huge statue of Attaturk (the Wizard of Oz-like one) where we were shown to the kids and parents for their scrutiny. We were the only teachers around who weren't wearing immaculately tailored suits. The women wore Chanel knock-offs and stillettos, with enough make-up on to do make-overs for a night club. I was wearing my Canadian teacher uniform of sensible shoes, turteneck sweater and long, flowery skirt. A slash of lipstick, a hint of mascara. Nothing else. Can you say, fashion faux pas???

After the assembly, all the kids were sent off to their classrooms. My first lesson wasn't until 11 so I was free to fret. O, and because there are three separate buildings on the school grounds I had to figure out where all my classes were. No one seemed able to tell me. And curiously, some of the grade 5 classes were in one building, and some were in another. No logic. I also had to figure out how long our lessons were, as no one had told me either. As well, there was a series of shrill, horrible bells that rang to the tunes of different bad songs to announce the start and end of class. But which of the 3 or 4 bells calling you to class was the right one? One was a warning bell, one was for the kids to go in, one was for the teachers, and one was the final bell... but was it Oh Susannah that I'd go in on? Or Oh My Darling Clementine? I went in and found an empty classroom. Wrong bell.

Afte ten minutes a great horde of ten year olds tromped in. Fights erupted, kids screamed, desks were toppled... a pattern I'd get used to as the year went on. I introduced myself and got all 35 of them to introduce themselves and to state hobbies, age, name, brothers and sisters, etc. It was actually kind of fun. Then we played the whispering game, which was a total dud initially because I liked playing it in a circle around the desks and these kids had no idea how to be in a classroom NOT sitting in their desks. And god forbid they should talk to a member of the opposite sex. We ended up doing the whispering game up and down the many rows of desks. They seemed to have their own pattern already established.

My classes that day all followed a similar pattern. They were far more regimented than I'd expected. At the start of every class they would stand up, I'd have to say 'Good morning (orwhatever) everybody' and they'd bellow out of unison, 'Good morning teacher!' and I'd shout back 'How are you today?' to which they'd screech mechanically, 'Fine thanks and you?' they never actually waited to find out how I was before they'd sit and start ignoring me determinedly. I learned that they will not do pairwork, groupwork or dialogues. They actually refuse. They also refused to do any writing. They would simply not do it. End of story. They thrived on loud multiple choice guessing games but couldn't answer a simple question unless there were choices for answers already there. Their levels of English ranged from non existant to practically perfect, within one classroom (I was used to teaching very specific levels at language schools). Lots of them enjoyed screaming obscenities at me in Turkish. Wheee! I eventually learned enough Turkish to reply and scare the pants off them (foreigners aren't supposed to understand Turkish).

At the end of the day we got to sit through a series of staff meetings entirely in Turkish, with no translator. We had been in the country 10 days at that point. Yeah, we understood everything... ha.

Good luck to all the newbies on their first day! Wink
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Capergirl



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 1232
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2003 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first day of teaching EFL was in Korea. The day after arriving, I was whisked off to a couple of schools to observe one of the Korean teacher's classes. (The first thing I noticed, of course, was that she was transposing her p's and f's. A pig was a "fig", a fish was a "pish", etc.) The next day, it was my turn. With no idea of where I was going or what I was teaching, no prep, and a few materials borrowed from one of the Korean teachers, I was dropped off at a local kindergarten and told to teach six 15-minute classes then take a taxi to a local elementary school. I managed to do some activities with fruit using a felt board and pictures, and we sang a few songs...repeat six times, and then off to the elem. school. There, I stood alongside a Korean teacher and observed her teaching for part of the class. Then it was my turn. My "job" was to point to pictures of objects (hat, book, pen, etc.) taped to the blackboard, say their names one by one, and get the students to repeat them...over and over and over (remember that thread in the general forum on the audiolingual method? Rolling Eyes ). Next, I had to teach half a dozen Korean teachers (in the 50-60 age range). They were using Step-by-Step, at a level that was clearly beyond their capabilities. They all felt they had very good English yet I could barely understand a word they were saying. Confused We spent most of our first "class" talking about me. I tried to get them to tell me about themselves, but they kept turning the tables back to the fascinating topic of...me. Rolling Eyes That day was the beginning of a wild ride. I would get used to teaching at 3-4 different schools a day. I would even get used to doing classes on the fly a lot of times, as preparation would require actually knowing where, whom, and what I was going to teach that day. It was very stressful, but not nearly as stressful as trying to control a classroom of Korean kids. Shocked I couldn't believe how out of control they were! I also found it a bit stressful trying to dodge videocameras on a weekly basis at one particular school. Teaching? There wasn't a lot of that. Entertaining...that was the job of the foreign teacher in Korea. Evil or Very Mad
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Newbie Forum All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC