Teaching My First Class

nervous.jpgTheir level was Upper Intermediate and I can still remember about ten of their names. One became a one to one student and a good friend. They ranged in age from about 16 to 45.

I shook their hands as they came in; in retrospect this was probably a little weird. I started by asking them to introduce themselves and to choose a word in English that started with the same letter as their name. Then of course we threw a ball around to practice each others’ names (it’s an unwritten rule in TEFL that at least once a term, a ball must be thrown around).

Next came the interesting part – a brief description of each of them, and then a “getting to know your teacher” activity a colleague had suggested. The idea was for teams of students to think up questions for me – anything they wanted to ask, I would answer. They got points in two areas: grammatical accuracy and interesting-ness.

As could be expected, they came up with a wide variety of questions : What do you think of Bosnia, Do you believe in love at first sight, Have you been to a taping of the Oprah show, Are you married, and my favorite, Do you believe in God. This last one was met with a giggling admission from the girl who had come up with it – she was clearly a believer herself and said “Yes, that was my question.” Ironically, I think this was literally the only time in my two years in Bosnia that the topic of religion came up. In other places it has reared its head much more frequently.

We ended with a competition activity from the book which involved them searching through the book for different features and information, and they enjoyed it and in fact became so competitive that we ended up staying late.

I probably wouldn’t use the same activity again – I’m happy to share some information about myself – at least as much as I ask students to share – but I just don’t think I would invite “anything they can think of” without limit.