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Rookie Teacher in Desperate Need of Help

Posted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:48 am
by BK-Prince
Hello everyone, this is my first post in these forums. I just recently came to Taiwan to work for GRAM but am having a good deal of difficulties. I should probably mention first and foremost that I have no teaching experience and no TESL, TEFL, etc.

Right now I'm having difficulties coming up with fun lesson plans using the textbooks that I'm given. Sometimes I'm not sure what exactly it is that the students are supposed to be getting out of the lesson, other times I just don't know how to make the material fun. I've been told to try incorporating some of my interests to help make the lessons more fun for me to teach so that I'm not acting so serious in front of the kids. However, I'm really not sure how I can incorporate my main interests (sports, anime, video games) into lessons about sentence structures and vocab.

I know my questions are perhaps a bit vague but any advice you guys can give would be most appreciated. I really like Taiwan but my struggles with teaching have really weighed on my overall experience.

Posted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:39 pm
by Brian
Hi BK Prince

Don't get discouraged. Loads of new teachers find themselves in similar situations, unfortunately.

With no TESL, TEFL experience or training, looks like you're going to have to train yourself somewhat - by finding ideas online and by learning from other teachers. Find the more experienced/respected teachers in the school and ask if you can sit in and observe some of their lessons.

I always found one of the best ways of improving as a teacher was to watch other teachers.

What level are your students?


Posted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:17 pm
by Sally Olsen
Don't forget the Idea Cookbook in Stuff for Teachers on Dave's. The reason they want it fun for kids is probably that they have sat in school all day with the drill and kill type lessons and haven't learned what you are teaching so hope that you will charm them into learning. A big smile and genuine interest in the individuals you meet goes a long way.

What size are your classes?

Posted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:21 am
by BK-Prince
Thanks for the advice guys. I have sat in on the other foreign teacher's classes but just don't think I can really emulate his style (which is what the school is pushing me to do). Most of the students that I've been teaching thus far are around kindergarten to elementary. It's been really difficult because I'm not good at demonstrating things, whether it be vocab or a sentence structure and I'm really not good at jumping around waving my arms about like the school wants me to do. I've tried all sorts of different websites and whatnot to try and adapt to my lesson, but not being a creative person is really making me think that being an ESL teacher just isn't right for me. Thanks again for the advice.

Posted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:55 am
by fluffyhamster
Don't know if this will help (a lot depends on what the books that you're using are like, and how much you can deviate from them), but thought I should post something, anything! ... 0542#40542 ... us&f=false

Posted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 11:27 am
by surrealia
Also, some links to lots of free games and activities here:

Posted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:32 pm
by Brian
Hi again, BK Prince

You don't need to emulate the other teachers - just pick out some things that they do which seem to be successful with the students. Borrow some of their ideas for games, activities, classroom management, presenting new vocabulary etc.

If you can hang in there for another month or two, you'll notice your own teaching style start to emerge as you find out what works best for you.

Unfortunately, when you first start teaching, the only way to find out what does or doesn't work is when you're standing in front of a class of students.

If you can, stay positive and keep on going. Try to keep the attitude that you CAN do this. And not only that ... you CAN enjoy doing it. If you stay positive you just might surprise yourself!


COMICS for your students:


Posted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 1:01 pm
by Sally Olsen
Good advice. Sometimes if you fool yourself into liking something, you end up actually liking it.

Not everyone is cut out to be a teacher, so don't put yourself down if it isn't what you want to do. I had a friend who stuck it out because he believed that one day he would find the answer and in the end, he didn't and gave up but also gave up on life. It is just not worth that. You will find something you love doing.

Isn't there just one student though who has touched you by learning something that you have taught? My first revelation that I really wanted to do this funny thing called "teaching" was with Michael K. He was 6. The teacher was trying to get him to write his letters and he wouldn't close his O's. They always looked like C's. I knew that he liked trains and so drew a C shaped train track and made a big fuss when his "train" pencil fell off the tracks. I suggested that he might like to keep going and so he did. That was such fun to see him chugging around the tracks and making pages of O's and I was amazed that people actually got paid for doing this and still am.

You have to get inside the little heads and see what they are interested in and what motivates them. That is why you have to get to know them better as people. I am sure many of them are as interested in anime as you, but they will also be interested in other things and you can use those to help them learn. It is not being creative but showing a deep interest in other people and they will respond.