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  • The Excellence of Execution

    You can train all you want, spend hours making highly detailed lesson plans, think you’ve got the best lesson ever and it still may not go well.  I’ve seen it happen many times.  

    Nearly everything in teaching is in the execution.  Yes, being prepared is also important but if you can’t execute properly what you have prepped then it won’t matter much.  

    The execution of a lesson means how you go about getting the material across to the students.  A good teacher will be able to look at a target, think about their class and start to visualize how they will teach.

    Will it be fast paced with lots of kids running around demonstrating the language or will it be slower and more methodical?  Either way is fine.  It all depends on the personality of the teacher, the personality of the kids, and the targets themselves.

    The most crucial element in executing a good lesson is knowing your students.  You have to know what will and will not work with them.  You have to know when they are getting bored and when they need more work on a particular target.  You have to know how they react to different tasks, such as reading, writing, etc., and know when to assign them.  You have to know how to explain things in a way that they will be able to understand them.  All of these things may sound fairly obvious but you would be surprised at how many people are oblivious to these things.  They become so involved with their own lesson that they are unable to respond empathetically to their students.  You have to be able to pick up the cues fro the students as to what is working, what isn’t working, when they need more work on something, and when it’s time to move on.

    It takes time to get to know your students.  But the more you get to know them the easier executing a good lesson should be.  Sadly, some people never really get there.  They are more caught up in planning the minutia of their lesson than giving thought to the class as a whole.  This often results in a well-thought out lesson that doesn’t fit at all with the actual class that is being taught.

    Obviously you can’t know your students in advance.  But kids are kids the world over and you have to be a kid person in order to work effectively with them.  Don’t worry, you can become a kid person. Everyone was a kid at some point and we can all remember what it was like if we give it a try.  You just have to relax a bit, venture out, and try to have some fun.  My suggestion would be to get some exposure to working with kids before teaching them fulltime.  Volunteer, coach, mentor, substitute teach, anything will be helpful.  Preferably work with groups.  The more time you spend with kids, the more you will understand the differences in pace and activities that are needed at the various times in order to ensure maximum efficiency.  

    A lot of teaching comes down to personality and practice.  Some people are natural teachers.  They get along with and understand kids quickly.  Others need some time to get comfortable and find the best way for them to interact with the kids.  Ultimately, you need to be able to not only teach kids but also understand them and be empathetic to their learning needs.  The best thing you can do is now to start to find your comfort zone through practice and exposure.  Once there, you’ll be more able to execute a good lesson.