Here are ten useful tips for helping you to get to know your students better and get off to a good start.
- Enlist the help of teachers: Will the teacher introduce you? Will you have your own slot of time to talk to the class? What would the teacher like you to do?
- Confirm guidelines with teachers: rules for rowdy behaviour, leaving the room to go to the bathroom, will the teacher deal with bad behaviour if you are both in the room together?
- Voice your worries, no matter how small.
- Keep in mind the old adage “first impressions count” and apply this to your first classes.
- Make your role clear you are a member of staff, not a member of the student body (no matter how close in age) so do not set out to be “mates” with them. Keep a friendly distance, keep personal details about boyfriends to yourself.
- Look professional: do not totally change your style but dress appropriately for the school culture, respect the staff dress code. Students need to perceive you as a teacher.
- Sound professional: be careful about your voice (clear and calm) and posture. Students need to feel you are in control or they will take control.
- Assert yourself: establish rules from the start and make them clear. No more than 5 will do. For example: do not start the lesson or explain activities if students are talking. Always expect silence before you speak. Have signals for getting attention (clapping hands twice) or for students to speak (putting up hands).
- Be organised: plan, plan and plan again ! If you will be alone with groups decide how you will introduce yourself and plan a task to get to know students. What will you write on the board? How long will the activity last ? What will you do if they get too noisy?
- Be positive: smile, even if you are feeling a nervous wreck. Concentrate on giving students positive attention with encouraging smiles and praise for answering questions.
- Show real interest: listen to their answers and react “That’s a good answer” “I like them too. Have you got their latest CD?” Keep your response as natural as possible.
- Make an effort to learn and use their names: Make name tags, cardboard name plates for desks or mark names on a seating plan of the room.
- Be patient: You may be the first native speaker they have ever met. Give them time to ask you questions and give them time to get used to your voice
- Have fun: try to relax and enjoy yourself. A sense of humour helps too!
By Clare Lavery
LA Teaching tips category:
LA content type: