Starting off a new term with new groups, in a new environment, with new fellow teachers and those who have been round the houses, what you’ve got are well-meaning, pro-types who want the best for you all and those you teach. You know, trying to give you the thumbs up before the curtain call. Panic-stricken already? No fears, take it from me – this is the deal! Here are a few tips from my head-locker!!
Use your emotions – the positive ones!!
Speak slowly and clearly for the lower levels
Use ‘magnificent’ gestures
Lay down your rules clearly
Set up simple stories, games, easy to follow instructions
Use your classroom – make it yours
Get to know your students
All the Little details…family, friends, pets
Review the summer holidays in depth
For older kids/teens – the mission ahead, setting goals, homework, (simulations, the Chelsea system)
Having Spanish is an advantage but don’t fret! Just build up key words (teacher/student vocabulary(nouns) that you can display in both languages; éxito, esfuerzo, ganas, solidaridad, compañerismo, amistad, diversión, comportamiento…etc Later, you can remove the Spanish when you’ve learnt them all!
Get to know these words first!
Remember! There will be the quiet ones, the first timers, the hyper active, the noisy teens hell-bent on jabbering in L1, and many other familiar types- Be sensitive but firm with the older kids and teens! With the younger kids and infants, just accept that ‘whatever the ‘problem’ is’, it will be sorted out “después”!!
If you are taking groups of little ones 4/5/6 yr olds for the first time, remember to bring out the child in you, be silly, be funny and have a batch of songs with funny gestures!
Have a great start and a great first term!!
by Gabriel Finn