QUESTION: Do you have any tips for getting off on the right foot from the very first day?
When meeting a new class for the first ever English lesson the temptation is to ask all the students their name. Whatever you do I would not do this ! Of course it is FINE to do this if you have only a handful of students but with a large class, if you start with “what’s your name?” and go round the class it’s so boring and it’s been done over and over, plus the students already know each other’s names. This type of activity is somewhat pathetic, it allows the teacher to use up 15 minutes of a lesson doing something that bores the students totally and teaches them nothing, it’s purely for the benefit of the teacher who can’t be bothered to think up anything more imaginative. This might sound harsh, but it’s fair don’t you think ?!
I’d get right into a game like a quiz where they write questions for the quiz on different topics – the first lesson can be a general lesson where you get a feel for the students’ level. Check out quizzes in the teen games book – there are several including Jeopardy, Who wants to be a millionaire, and there are some blanks and some pre-prepared questions in the Appendix.
On the other hand if you find they are too hopeless at English to be able to form questions then have a more basic lesson prepared to fall back on with a mixture of quieter games, and something like “Find Your Friend” where students move around in class once, just to keep them from becoming sleepy at their desks. Keep a mix of quiet and louder games but prefer quieter games for the first lesson. You are asserting your authority right from the start, it’s important not to lose control at first. You’ll be able to let them make more noise as you feel more confident at the new school. Plus you don’t want the other teachers thinking you can’t control your class on day one.
Quiz games and classroom activities needing little or no preparation: http://www.teachingenglishgames.com/adults.htm And Paperback on Amazon US, co.uk, Spain, France, Italy and Germany: Search under “Shelley Ann Vernon”. All the best Shelley