Having never taught before, I couldn’t picture how I would manage to connect with 45 students who don’t speak English. I was terrified when I first got here,
howeverI have been pleasantly surprised.
Every day is different, every lesson pans out differently, and every challenging class is overshadowed by a great one. The students were so happy and excited to meet me during my first week. It was an incredible and overwhelming feeling to have 45 children give me such a warm welcome. Managing so many students can be challenging, but once you make a connection and have the whole room laughing and understanding you, it feels pretty magical.
In the beginningI did have some problems with some of my classes-especiallythe younger ones, my M2s. I felt bad whenever the students didn’t listen to me because I assumed that the students either disliked me or felt my lesson was dull. In reality, they just didn’t understand me. I found it difficult to get the hang of speaking slowly and simply. I asked Peter for some advice about what to do with my naughty kids because it felt as if I spent most of the lesson trying to control them. His advice was to get the naughty student up the front of the classroom and make them do something silly. At first I wondered how on Earth I would get them to do something silly if they don’t even do what I ask. However, I pulled through. During a lesson with one of my naughtier classes, I heard Peter’s voice in my head when the boys started acting wildly. I was hesitant but thought, why not? To my surprise, bringing the naughty students up front actually worked!!! I had the four boys come to the front of the
classroom and hop until I had finished the exercise I was doing. The class actually stopped what they were doing and watched while the boys dropped their attitudes and giggled which made everyone else giggle including me. When I asked them to sit back down, they actually stopped talking. If they interrupted again I made them do it again, but this time I made them do a tongue twister while doing it. If anything, it’s great entertainment for me and energizes the students. Learning to relax and have fun with the students really helps you connect with them. Having had no experience as a teacher, I thought that a good class was a quiet and subdued class, but I realized that I forgot how to have fun and took myself too seriously. The biggest lesson I have learned is to relax and have fun myself because if I am, the kids are, and what a good feeling that is!
I was nervous about teaching high school kids, but I connect with them the most. Their English is good and when I ask them to do something; they do it and are always up for a laugh. The funniest moment I’ve had in the classroom was with a M5 class last week: A girl in my class had spotted me a few weeks ago in Khanom beach with my boyfriend. She stood up in front of the whole class and took the mickey out of me about how she had seen us holding hands. I could not believe the cheek of it, but it was hilarious! The entire class laughed throughout the whole lesson, and any time I tried to teach them how to describe their best friend they would describe my boyfriend. Although I was really red for the whole
lesson, it felt nice that my kids can be comfortable with me and we can all laugh together. Whenever I see those kids around the school they run up to me with a big hello, usually joke about me holding hands with a boy, and ask how I am. In class, they sit quietly in and participate. That is an incredible feeling and reminds me it is worth the challenge.
I’ve compiled this short list of thoughts for teaching high school students. It is more for new teachers who are beginning to fear the idea of teaching before they have even touched down in Thailand. Boring to some, useful to others. I‘ve compiled these thoughts with non/low experienced
teachers in mind.
You’re going to have a good time here! I don’t know you, but I know the Super English Management and current staff. If you are a worrier that will upset people with your fretting before you leave, please print a copy of this for their sake, show it to them, put your mind and theirs at ease, and say, “I’m looking forward to my time in paradise!”
Ready to go to work?
• Always wear a smile.
• Speak VERY slowly.
• Expect NO second language from the students. It makes each day beautiful.
• Have a collection of games available in your bag at all times.
• Be silly/ stupid. Be “The Jester”.
• Don’t expect any miracles. A large amount of teachers don’t understand the logic in other countries teaching methods, but no one has succeeded in changing them, except Peter.
• Speak Very slowly.
• Don’t get STRESSED. Nothing in the world pays enough for stress and its dangerous side effects.
• Instigate your rules of the classroom within your first meetings of the students. When they know
how you want the class running they will happily comply with your rules.
• When you have any problems remember your management and peers are there for you to offer
advice and solutions, any time of the day.
• Set a goal for your students from the beginning, something they think impossible but you can
guarantee them they will be able to achieve in time. For example: by the end of this term you are going
to speak for 5/6 minutes about your family, hobbies, future goals, likes and dislikes.
• Speak Very slowly.
• Encourage positive reinforcement and clapping in the classroom. Witness how much the students
get from this.
• Keep returning to previous weeks teachings to incorporate all your lessons. Continuity of targets
and various ways to use them will reinforce your teaching.
• Don’t expect too much from the students. Teach them the same target again using slightly different words.
• Sing songs with the students. Provide them with the lyrics but delete ten of the words. Then
listen to the song to determine and explain the missing words. Then sing! They love it.
• Get to know as many nicknames as possible. I regret not asking my students to make a badge for
me that they could wear each lesson.
• Talk to as many students as you can, not just the ones you teach but people you regularly see in the corridors. Introduce yourself to the whole school.
• Give the students a fresh start every week, even if their class behavior is consistently poor.
• Talk with your students as a friend for 5/10 minutes at the start of each lesson. Start with simple
questions and then advance to harder ones.
• Expect many unexpected changes! Holidays, canceled classes, and on and on!
• Draw/Explain each new word in great detail.
• Encourage describing: “I don’t know the name but it is made from…..and used….."
• Always tell the students when you are upset, Do your best not to leave the class in frustration or
anger. This means the students have won.
• Re-seat your students if the classroom environment is not positive. Keep notes and inform your
• Interview repeat problem students with your assistant. Keep in mind they have a lot more going
in their lives than what you see.
Ok, imagine the game connect four (4 in 1) you know it?
If notgoogle images will help you out at this point.The basics of the game istwo people battle it out against each other taking turns to drop markers into a grid (7x6) with the final goal to be first to successfully create a line (can be horizontal vertical or diagonal, note: not a square) of four markers. CONNECT 4.
Step One: You will need to split the class into two teams. I often find it’s easy to either split the class down the centre of the room or into boys and girls. These teams will need to have an identifying picture
displayed in a circle (like an X or a heart) but this can be chosen by the first student to answer a question for their team.
Step Two: You will need to prepare
forty twoquestions (7x6). The questions will obviously depend on
which age you are teaching and the previously taught subjects. This game is best played as a review at
the end of a months teaching, to assess the students understanding of the topics taught. It is a serious
review practice but make sure you also have fun questions in here like; sing the national anthem, do star jumps for one minute, tell three people you love them and on and on, and don’t be afraid to use very simple early learning questions either… what is your name /favourite
Step Three: Print your questions out on paper, but at the top of the page, in large print, write something
along the lines of; Hello ladies and gentleman my name is ______ and I will be your quizmaster for today. The other side of the paper should have a picture of a circle grid 7x6. Can you see where this is going yet?
Step Four: On the board write the multiplication 7x6=, a student will always shout out the answer but
make sure it’s said in English. OK, you’ve just found your grid drawer! Call him/her up to the whiteboard and show the diagram of the grid you are after then explain that you would like the numbers 1 to 42 randomly drawn, in order, into each circle.
Step Five: Whilst the student is doing this part onto the board copy the words bottom and top next to the grid and above the grid Connect 4 / 4in1 (I always draw four circles connected to help with the part of explaining the game).
Step Six: Along the side of this grid you need to copy two sentences. First, I would like number ____,
please., and the second something like, ‘Let me introduce you to my friend _____ .’, or ‘My friend’s name is _____.’ (alter this one on classes ability.)
Step Seven: Now you’ve got your grid ready <> got your questions ready <> Got the writing on the board
<> Now you must explain how the numbers chosen must start at the bottom. This is easily done if you
have a diagram of the board and a coin or token to imitate it dropping down from the top to the bottom.
Alldone? Very good, ok now choose a student, thrust the paper into their hand and off you go!! Sit back
and enjoy your lesson in which the students do all the talking and you merely have to repeat some of the questions or give other options of how the question can be posed.
DO NOT LET THE QUIZMASTER SPEAK ANY OTHER LANGUAGE AND I HAVE
FOUNDNOT TO DISPLAY
THE ANSWERS ON THE QUESTION SHEET!
• This is a lesson plan for a review class at a high school level. The idea can be modified for younger ages but the teacher must be the quizmaster. The same can be said for classes with lower level English.