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"Class" of 150 students
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DirtGuy



Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 529

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:13 am    Post subject: "Class" of 150 students Reply with quote

The boss at my 2nd job wants me, on 11-2, to put on a "class" for 2 groups of 5th graders and each session is supposed to have 150 students. This is for marketing purposes so I hardly expect any real teaching/learning to take place.

My idea is to go over American greetings/goodbyes starting with formal and ending with really informal. I'll probably try to circulate amongst the little darlings and practice with them as best I can. I will have a chalkboard to work with. We also talked about handing out a list of short questions so that an individual or group of students can ask me something in English. I intend to ask them the same question back.

My performance is supposed to last less than 1 hour for each class.

Has anyone done anything like this? If so, can you offer me some ideas?

Thanks.

DirtGuy
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roadwalker



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 1421
Location: Ch

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you rollerskate? Okay, so you're going to want to break them into smaller groups of 30 to 40 for discussion sessions.....

They obviously want a "lecture" where hopefully you'll amuse the charmers while giving them the secret to perfect English.

One thing besides the greetings, (or in conjunction with them) is this might be a good opportunity to develop their desire to imitate. Words like 'really(?)' can be said in many different ways (tones) for different meanings, from sarcasm to surprise to anger to fear, etc. Extreme words might be fun for them to practice as well: "Big? No, it wasn't big, it was enormous!" "Pretty?...etc."
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kungfuman



Joined: 31 May 2012
Posts: 1351
Location: In My Own Private Idaho

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've done this several times. You would be surprised, an hour goes pretty quick.

Come up with a theme. I had about 200 students at a high school and I had to entertain them for an hour. We played " Game Show".

Come up with some topics, get a couple mics and a pa system.

have students answer questions for things that are age appropriated. Divide them into 3 or 4 groups based on colors ( red, yellow, blue, orange) and make it a team competition. Students love that.

it helps if you have a Chinese assistant or two as many of the students maybe don't have the nest English.

I would do this for New Oriental at several high schools. It actually turned out to be fun some times - and they paid me for it.

be creative and make your boss pitch in some money and people to make it happen.

It's not a class - so get out of that mind set. It is a one hour perfomance
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Janiny



Joined: 31 May 2008
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd insist on a microphone hooked up to a speaker or two. Don't you think?
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Think 'Crazy English'. Whip the crowd into a frenzy and enjoy it for an hour with (as already mentioned) no illusion of it being any sort of teaching!

Id quite like to do this, but probably just for one hour .... once a quarter. It wouldnt be what Id want to do on a regular basis.
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choudoufu



Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 3259
Location: Mao-berry, PRC

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thing 'phil donahue' and his majic microphone.

wade into the crowd, ask their opinions, let them
tell their stories.

what do you think about.......?
what are you most afraid of?
would you marry an eskimo?
would you marry a panda?
are aliens watching us right now?

keep moving.

no, wait. was that richard dawson?
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LarssonCrew



Joined: 06 Jun 2009
Posts: 484

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does this not sound absolutely HORRENDOUS to anyone?

Bare in mind though, two years ago I once had an English speaking class with at least 180 people in it at university, they'd shovelled everyone who had chosen English as an elective into one class.

It was insane.

I had a 90 minute class, and I remember my boss telling me 'just teach them one rule or a couple sentences a class, there's too many to do alot.'

So the first class I taught them 'instead of'.

I explained the rule, gave examples, and then by the time I had asked every single person, the time was almost up. Bare in mind, some people's English was so poor they took a minute hesitating over 'I ate noodles instead of rice.'
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Teacher Jack



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 63
Location: China

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LarssonCrew wrote:
Does this not sound absolutely HORRENDOUS to anyone?


Yes, it does to me. The OP is an entertainer, not a teacher. Work a room, make them laugh, make them feel good about themselves and move on. That's what an entertainer does. Entertain them with English. Make them want to sign up for a class and spend their money hoping they'll be somehow entertained and learn English by osmosis.

I can understand lecture halls in universities with a 150 students. I can see how that can sort of make sense, but 5th graders? Ridiculous. It's not about teaching, it's about entertainment.

Did I mention entertainment?

Want to know why TEFLers have such a hard time breaking into other jobs or even into real teaching? Because they see us an entertainers, not teachers, not anything. Just the hired clown/standup comedian.
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DirtGuy



Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 529

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teacher Jack,

It sounds awful to me, too. Rarely in my life am I at a loss for words but I was totally speechless for the first time in many years while my boss was proposing this. This is nothing more than a dog and pony show featuring the FT as the star attraction. My sole job is keep the little monsters amused for an hour or so and let the school's owner get more clients. I believe "Trained Monkey" is the correct job title

Having said the above, it still is possible to teach something of value in these types of schools. The materials usually suck but a good teacher can pull out what's useful and improve the level of one's students. A trained monkey I am and a trained monkey I shall be but one that manages to do something positive given the materials with which I have to work. It all depends on how you look at things.

As for transferring one's "skills", I have to disagree with you. To design and implement a performance that involves successfully working a room of 150 little brats while also impressing the parents enough to open their wallets is a highly transferrable skill and useful in many, many jobs. I learned my presentation skills from sales jobs in the past but I would have learned them much faster doing this sort of performance. Again, it all depends on how we look at things and we shouldn't think that we aren't picking up skills that are useful for the future.

DG
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Sinaman



Joined: 23 May 2009
Posts: 79

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry but what are you all so "horrified" about?

The boss wants to make more money by attracting more students. One way of doing so, and frankly quite a common way, is to hold "demo" classes. These consist of a foreign teacher demonstrating his/her style of teaching. Obviously, everyone is hoping that it is attractive, interesting and entertaining because that means more students will sign up, which means more money for the boss which means he will be able to pay YOUR salary at the end of the month.

Are these classes supposed to teach anything? Of course not! They are just supposed to show the school's and the teacher's teaching style, that is all.

I have done demo classes for bosses before and do them now for my own kindergarten. I have done demo classes of 300+ 1st graders a few times and they, the kids and parents, love it. I will be doing a demo class this Saturday at the grand opening of my biz partner's shopping mall. I am guessing there will be about 100+ kids present and I'm not worried about being a "performing monkey". Being a performing monkey is helping me make tens of thousands of RMB a month.

Like I said these demo classes are quite common in China and you chose to teach English here, if you don't like it, go back to school become an actual certified teacher and teach at a primary or high school.

What I really think is that you are afraid, not "horrified" at the sheer shameless marketing that is going on ("You mean I have to entertain young kids when teaching ESL??? Nobody told me about this!!"). You are afraid because you've never had to handle so many kids at the one time and you have no idea about what to do (something that is implied in your post). Once you admit this to yourself then you can move forward and get on with it.
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LarssonCrew



Joined: 06 Jun 2009
Posts: 484

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Except, in China YOU humiliate yourself and get gawked at , so that the school signs up a load of student's who pay say, 10,000 each, you end up getting how much of that for them signing up? Normally nothing.

If the boss said 'whatever is signed I'll give you 5%' I'd give the best and most energetic performance you've ever seen. Without that, I can give an amazing performance, which just lines my bosses pocket even more.
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Sinaman



Joined: 23 May 2009
Posts: 79

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LarssonCrew wrote:
Except, in China YOU humiliate yourself and get gawked at , so that the school signs up a load of student's who pay say, 10,000 each, you end up getting how much of that for them signing up? Normally nothing.


Oh no how terrible! Your boss wants to make money! He pays you to do your job to the best of your ability. If your contract states that you must do demo classes then suck it up petal and do them to the best of your ability. A lot of salaried employees such as designers, software engineers etc may make millions for their companies but a lot of them do not earn a percentage for their designs (while some may). This is business and this is a normal employer/employee relationship. If you don't like it go back home and open up your own business.


Quote:
If the boss said 'whatever is signed I'll give you 5%' I'd give the best and most energetic performance you've ever seen. Without that, I can give an amazing performance, which just lines my bosses pocket even more.


If you do not feel you are paid enough for "humiliating" yourself then find another job (apparently it is ok to "humiliate" yourself for 5% of 10,000RMB). Quite simple really. If your training centre is geared for kids then doing demo classes is part and parcel of teaching ESL in China. If your teaching sensibilities are hurt by this then you're in the wrong job and possibly country.

I felt just like you before. I did not like working my arse off and making someone else rich, so what I did was I became the best teacher I could become, I networked and partnered up with a local I can trust and has money (and the reason she partnered up with mewas because I proved myself reliable and good at what I did. I did not show a "give me 5% and I'll do a good job" attitude), and I worked my arse off again, all the while having a good attitude and showing good work ethic, and now I am a co-owner of a kindergarten in Guangdong, and doing very nicely for myself. We have a primary school and middle school planned for the future as well. Anyway, the point is, opportunities abound here in China but only to those who work hard and keep their eyes and ears open for those opportunities, if you whine and complain about your job I can guarantee you will be stuck in the teaching ESL carousel for a long time.
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kungfuman



Joined: 31 May 2012
Posts: 1351
Location: In My Own Private Idaho

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

choudoufu wrote:


no, wait. was that richard dawson?


he was kissin all the babes on Family Fued!
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LarssonCrew



Joined: 06 Jun 2009
Posts: 484

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sinaman, aren't you in the EFL game still? Albeit it running a kindergarten?

Anyways, I work 4 hours for a uni for the stamp and run a law firm and foreign investment company at the same time.

I certainly DIDN'T make money from being a good ESL teacher, infact after 6 months I knew it wasn't really for me.

Anyways, you cannot assume about people, and secondly, what can a student honestly learn when in a group of 160 or 200 or 100 equivalent to what they might learn in a class of say, 4 or 5?

Also, it's like school investigations in England, you can shine up the teacher, put him in a suit, have a well organised presentation to lure the students in but then he turns up in torn t shirts and jeans hung over for the actual class.
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Teacher Jack



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 63
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sinaman wrote:

Oh no how terrible! Your boss wants to make money! He pays you to do your job to the best of your ability.


You got it wrong. The truth of the matter is that any job that requires you to sell your dignity, honor, or integrity is a job you'd do well to avoid.

It sounds as though the boss wants to make money in adversarial way, ie sell the dignity of the foreign teacher. If the owner was a better businessman, he'd work together with the foreign teacher to find strategies that do not humiliate the teacher and still make him money. He needs to think win-win.


[quote = "DirtGuy"]As for transferring one's "skills", I have to disagree with you. To design and implement a performance that involves successfully working a room of 150 little brats while also impressing the parents enough to open their wallets is a highly transferrable skill and useful in many, many jobs. I learned my presentation skills from sales jobs in the past but I would have learned them much faster doing this sort of performance. Again, it all depends on how we look at things and we shouldn't think that we aren't picking up skills that are useful for the future. [/quote]

No doubt that you can transfer your skills. With what I've learned in TEFL, I can easily work a large room, no matter where you are. Transferring skills back home after TEFL is NOT what I'm talking about.

What I'm talking about is trying to branch out into something else using your in country connections. If you have any kind of long term plans in a place, if you are a teacher, it's very difficult to break out of that mold. I'm just not a teacher. I've got many other skills, but because I'm a teacher then I can only be a teacher, at least that is how Chinese and other Asians view it.

One thing I've learned the hard way is that you really need to have yourself a career mission statement and evaluate what you do career and jobs wise in relation to it.
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