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  1. #1
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    Default new teacher in distress

    Hello everyone. My name is Louisa and I'm a 24-year-old English teacher from Greece. I did my first lesson yeasterday, at an Asenior class, and it was a complete disaster which got me thinking maybe I'm not cut out for this. First of all, I look very young and non-threatening so I was unable to impose myself to a very loud class. I mean, I completely lost control.It was terrible. Now I'm in fear of the next lessons. I just can't go through like this all year.

    Second,I feel completely useless as my teaching abilities are concerned. I mean, I jumped from here tot here with no clear purpose-tthank God it was only revision but what am I going to do when I'm going to have to teach them stuff???I'm going to be like, "blah".As you understand, I'm in panic as i know there's no way to ever be able to keep my children under control, cause i'm too damn...soft-spoken!And i think there's nothing i can do about
    this.

    Please, any kind of help would be oh so welcome!!!Thanx anyway!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: new teacher in distress

    Quote Originally Posted by lzm
    Hello everyone. My name is Louisa and I'm a 24-year-old English teacher from Greece. I did my first lesson yeasterday, at an Asenior class, and it was a complete disaster which got me thinking maybe I'm not cut out for this. First of all, I look very young and non-threatening so I was unable to impose myself to a very loud class. I mean, I completely lost control.It was terrible. Now I'm in fear of the next lessons. I just can't go through like this all year.

    Second,I feel completely useless as my teaching abilities are concerned. I mean, I jumped from here tot here with no clear purpose-tthank God it was only revision but what am I going to do when I'm going to have to teach them stuff???I'm going to be like, "blah".As you understand, I'm in panic as i know there's no way to ever be able to keep my children under control, cause i'm too damn...soft-spoken!And i think there's nothing i can do about
    this.

    Please, any kind of help would be oh so welcome!!!Thanx anyway!
    Louisa, don't think for a moment that this is something new. Every, EVERY teacher has been thru this, more than once. People, even those who have been doing something for some time, don't always perform at their top level everyday, every time.

    I think, [I may be wrong] that as a new teacher you are trying too hard to "teach" your students. Language is best learned by doing. And to learn by doing, what should you do but make the students do.

    I have taken young children who have had virtually no exposure to English and had them functioning in English for a particular exercise within 5 minutes.

    Example 1:

    1. Have a ball for each group of two students or one ball for 4 or 6.

    2. Teach by modelling the actions 'bounce/throw/roll'.

    3. Expand it to 'Bounce it to me' OR 'Throw it to me' OR 'Roll it to me' OR 'Give it to me'.

    After you've modelled enough with a partner, put the students in pairs/fours/sixes and have them practice.

    Extend it [at the appropriate time] to include other verbs; 'Hit/Pass it to me'. Extend to other pronouns like 'him/her'.

    RULE #1 for teaching new students

    IF THEY CAN'T SEE THE LANGUAGE DON'T DO IT; USE ONLY LANGUAGE WHERE THE VISUAL CONNECTION [UNDERSTANDING] CORRELATES TO THE LANGUAGE USED

    Don't worry, things will get better. Know clearly in your own mind what you want to do before you go into the classroom , ie. make a lesson plan and stick to it. This is important when you're fighting the new teacher jitters.

    Be honest with yourself after the class; "How was that class? How could/can I improve this for next time?" But don't knock yourself unnecessarily.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: new teacher in distress

    Take it easy

    Trust yourself

    Don't do more than you can

    then , everything will going to be ok
    Last edited by Claire Redfield; 23-Sep-2005 at 13:42.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: new teacher in distress

    I think the fact that you're here or on the internet looking for help, advice, whatever shows you're wanting to do better.

    I think that's the key. Always better than yesterday, if it can be done.

    Each teacher has a style and a class has a style as well. If you're jumping in mid stream or it's a new class it will take a couple of lessons to syncronize both styles.

    Also, just because something didn't work today doesn't mean it wont work tomorrow. Sometimes the student need time to understand what it was you wanted them to do or what they were supposed to get out of it.

    As everyone above said don't fret it will get better (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed)

    If you're looking for real advice and not pep-talks, post your next lesson plan breifly including methodology (target language, how you'll introduce it, what type of practice and activity you'll use it in) and see if anyone has any advice.

    I hope that helps.

    Mark
    www.mes-english.com

  5. #5
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    Talking Re: new teacher in distress

    hi..know what.your story make me scared..i'm gonna be an english teacher at least 4 years from now. now i'm in training school.however, i think before u go into teaching career you must be well trained. dont u ever feel that situation before this? but i think that is just for the beginning. soon you will be more relax. best of luck teacher

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: new teacher in distress

    Almost every, if not every, teacher has felt the same after their first lesson. There is always a distance between what is planned and what actually happens when dealing with a class. What you need to do is what you're doing now- analyse what happened and try to improve. Try to think back at what went right in the lesson, and take those strategies and use them in future. You say you are soft-spoken, but shouting only ever gains a temporary reprieve, though the ability to project your voice is a useful one. However, what you really need to project most of all is your personality- make it your space. Expect things not to go as planned- things crop up or take unexected turns, so being nimble and able to change quickly is a skill that you will develop over time. I agree with DBP that it is important not to try to overteach. Classes always start as strangers, but what matters is where thy go from here.

  7. #7
    AlainK Guest

    Default Re: new teacher in distress

    Hi Louisa,

    I think that we teachers do this job because we like to talk. The real issue is "Make them talk"!
    Easier said than done, I know by experience
    But to motivate them, the use of various tools in the same lesson is a great help I think : overhead projector, sound, video, text, prompts, ...
    Of course, it depends on the resources you can have in your school, but the more varied the lessons, the more they will focus their attention I think.
    I don't know what the curriculum is in Greece, but as long as you can teach them some English, it's much better than trying to fit in the standards and getting nowhere.
    For instance, I will bring a plastic bag with items found on a dead man/woman's body to one of my classes next week (it's an idea I found on the web a few years ago) : a foreign stamp, a matchbox from a restaurant, a 10,000,000 Turkish pound banknote (I like this one ), etc. and I will ask them to try to imagine who the victim was, why he/she had these things on him/her, why he/she was murdered and how, and whoddunit.
    It works well. They can touch something, it's real, and they do use English because it's fun.

    HTH

    Alain

  8. #8
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    Default Re: new teacher in distress

    Welcome, Louisa.

    Quote Originally Posted by lzm
    I look very young and non-threatening so I was unable to impose myself to a very loud class. / . . . there's no way to ever be able to keep my children under control, cause i'm too damn...soft-spoken! And i think there's nothing i can do about this.
    What about using a warm-up activity? (They don't have to be related to the lesson's topic.) For example, on the board, write 10 words that describe you, say, your age, your middle name, your father's occupation, your apartment number, your pet's name, and so on, and have the students guess what the words represent. Peak their curiosity. The activity will provide your students with an opportunity to get to know you while you in turn assess their ability, level, and personality type. Learn the inner-working of the group's dynamics.

    Being soft-spoken shouldn't be a problem. Many of my colleagues are soft-spoken. Intonantion works wonders.

    Curiosity is pure gold. It draws the students in. If I've a wild-bunch of students (children), I might start the lesson by speaking German or French, or by holding up flashcards and calling out the wrong words. Naturally, they're curious and want to know what's up with that?

    Organize you lesson. Plan, plan ahead, and always warm-up the class. Change what doesn't run smoothly, and add to what does work well. Constantly evaluate are re-evaluate your presentation, delivery, and materials. Speak to your colleagues. Ask them what they do for such and such a lesson. Go on-line and look at what other teachers have to offer. Ask your students how the lesson is going; i.e., Do you have any questions? Reciprocity! Go slow; learn by doing, and let the student show you how to teach them.

    All the best,

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