I have been teaching for quite some time now, and I love my job. I enjoy teaching so much that I get almost overconfident that I can easily get along with the rowdy, super talkative, enthusiastic, timid, and all other categories of students. But that is not the case with everyone, and sometimes my overconfidence backfires too. Well, having worked in France as an English assistant for almost 3 years now, I have some tips for you to help you prepare your classes, and specially to prepare your very first class (first impression is the last impression, and all that jazz!)
Dressing well doesn’t always mean buying stuff that you don’t have. Dress in a way that makes you feel confident. If you’re confident it’s going to reflect upon your personality. In France, schools do not really have a dress-code for teachers; I have seen teachers wearing formal, casual as well as semi casual, – so decide for yourself (it’s about carrying yourself well). I personally feel more comfortable in a pair of jeans/pants with a tee shirt/shirt. Students are going to notice every single detail about you, so dress appropritately! 🙂
Make them relate to you
Your first class is going to be an introduction class where you’ll be presenting yourself and students would be asking you questions. During my introduction to them, I usually like telling them things that could be common between us. For instance, I suck at mathematics. The moment I tell them that I am not good at mathematics or that I dislike mathematics (exercise: three things you like, and three things you dislike), they almost want me to give them a high-five! I tell them that I like Rugby (which I have no technical knowledge about) but by doing so they start seeing me as someone who has the same likings as them (so probably someone who would understand them better?). It always worked for me and thanks to this practice, I have actually stared liking Rugby. Hah! #thingsstudentsmakeyoudo
Start with games
Before coming for the program, I had an impression that I am going to represent my country on an international championship, and hence everything I do must revolve around India. By the end of seven months, every student must be able to pass a general knowledge test based on India. But no! trust me, you’re not here for that! Feel free to clarify doubts, to include general cultural information about India in your lessons but do not feel burdened to do so. The best part about being an English language assistant is that you are not incharge of giving them homework, tests, or grades for that matter! So they are totally going to adore you because for them it’s an escape. Make sure this escape is worth it!
Avoid distributing documents
Of course it’s good to give them documents that they can take back home and refer to when they need BUT they have had enough of it already. The main teacher makes sure they have all the print-outs, worksheets, etc. so it’s better if you stay “different”, and approach things differently. Like I mentioned before, make your lessons revolve around games and interactive activities. Make them speak, that’s what you’re hired for! 😉
Prepare a fall back activity
It’s possible (and very natural) that you end up with a group that is too chatty (if you have half the class with you) and all your fun activities fall flat. Always keep a back-up plan in the form of a written activity / a group work/ a competition to calm them down. Plan Bs, Cs, and Ds are really important to have in all situations because with students it’s always a surprise. I have had an activity work perfectly well with one class, and fail terribly with the other. You really need to be prepared with ideas that you can fall back on.
Last but not the least, SMILE, it works everywhere. Trust me, all your students are going to shower so much love on you that you might just end up considering teaching as a profession (if you aren’t already). Your students will have a lot of doubts, and they will sometimes ask you questions about India you wouldn’t have responses to. Do not panic, tell them that you’ll get back to them. It’s normal to not know everything, right?
Hope this helped you a bit (even if it’s a tiny-miney bit). Do share your own experiences in the comments section if you’ve already been an English assistant! If you have a blog, do share your blog link so I could follow!
See you very soon until then I wish you prettymorningsinfrance or wherever you are !
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