Thursday, February 22, 2007

Advice to a new teacher

By George Rosecrans

Stick to something you are most familiar with because it will be easier to discuss and answer questions. Perhaps the most important thing is to keep them actively occupied. Perhaps a role playing exercise such as meeting unknown relatives at a family reunion in which you teach about immediate and extended families, and distant relatives and the nature of those relationships.

If you have photographs or posters emphasizing the major points of attraction, you might take them on a brief tour of your home town. If you don't have these materials, you might get from your local chamber of commerce, historical societies, libraries, etc. There are also a number of good TEFL sources on the internet. Many of these offer free subscriptions and access to their material. Others charge a small subscription fee.

A short discussion of your university, again with visual aids, would be of interest to Chinese students because many if not most dream of studying in the west and are very curious about student life. Chinese students have many misconceptions about the West just as we have misconceptions about China. While I dare not speak for the other teachers, I strongly most if not all of us found something quite different from our expectations.

If you have handouts, save them until you are finished with your lesson unless they are an integral part of the lesson in which case hand them out as needed. If you hand out all of your material before the lesson it will distract the class because they will focus on the material rather than you.

Remember to relax and be yourself. Appear confident even if you are scared out of your tree.

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