Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A reader question about the first day of class

Another one from Paul:

"Do you have any practical suggestions on how to prepare for the first day of class for my freshman English conversation classes which I'm told are quite low learners?  This will be the start of my Korean university teaching career. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.  Btw, I'm using World Link 1"

Paul, I've talked about this before, and as you can see from this post, and this post, I'm a bit clueless.   In this one, I seem to have a bit better idea.  Short and simple is my new strategy.  Say hello, go over the syllabus, the rules, and let them go early.  I cannot emphasize enough that this needs to be very simple.  Give them a piece of paper, write in on the board, say it in a different way.  Use hand gestures.

Some of my coworkers keep the students for the entire time playing little games and stuff.  This is not really my style, and actually, I don't like to be too friendly or fun the first day because I think this sets up a bad dynamic for the rest of the semester.  The fun, happy, kind teacher comes later on once they respect me and understand and follow my rules and we know each other better. 

For more general advice?  If you have the World Link textbook, make sure you get the teacher's resource book that goes along with it.  Pick out the good activities you like and do all your copying before the semester even starts.  And try to prep for at least the first 3 or 4 weeks done now, so it doesn't hit you like a ton of bricks.  Talk to your new coworkers and get the inside tips from them.  Ask them specific questions, not general type ones and you'll get more helpful information.  I had a bit of a mentor when I first started at my uni and it was invaluable.

World Link: Teacher's Resource Text Bk. 1

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