Top 5 Tips For New Teachers (From A New Teacher In China)

top5.jpgNick, who’s home for the summer following 7 months in China, was kind enough to do an email interview for the TEFL Logue. His tips for new teachers come from his experience in China, but are relevant anywhere:

1. Keep an open mind…about your students, your environment, the curriculum, and of course yourself and your abilities.

2. Don’t forget the basics….simple things you learn on a course may be easily forgotten in class, but force yourself to remember them. Many students in China are a little quiet so it’s easy to slip into lecture mode – try not to.

3. Make friends with other teachers….sit in their classes and ask them to sit in yours! Seeing another teacher work a section of the book you have done can be an eye opener. Don’t think you are the finished article just because your students love you – you’re never too experienced to learn from someone else.

4. Prepare some simple things before you leave, even if you don’t know much about your students. Photos are good: if you have enough you can group them into different categories (friends, hometown, family, travels…). These will provoke conversation outside the classroom, and you may even be able to use them in class.

Things that relate to culture are also good… youth or fashion magazines, newspapers…even simple things like Tesco offer leaflets have been interesting to my students. And you won’t be able to get them in China!

5. Never forget why you are here: students deserve a teacher first and foremost, not someone who wants to learn Chinese, sample the nightlife, or find a wife/husband.

And one more for the road:

6. Keep a journal, diary, or blog….there are so many stories, so many experiences I have had…I wish I had kept a better record of them now!

Thanks to Nick for taking the time to share these reflections. As another ESL café member said on the Newbie board (where he shared his experience first): good luck to him in his next year in China, though given his insights here, he isn’t reliant on luck!