Saturday, July 28, 2012

Teaching: the Small Stuff that Actually Matters

I've just gotten the email....and....I will be presenting at the upcoming Kotesol International Conference 2012 in Seoul.  It will be on Oct. 20/21st, so mark your calendars and buy those KTX tickets!  When I find out my presentation time, I'll let you know.

My topic is: "Teaching: the Small Stuff that Actually Matters."  The idea came about after (over) hearing and (over) seeing lots of my fellow teachers at my uni (there are thin walls and lots of people leave their doors open), watching fellow teachers on my recent Celta course, being in many presentations, as well as reflecting on my own teaching.

Often, it's easy to get caught up on the big stuff: which activities to use, making a syllabus, designing homework, making Powerpoints, and keeping up with the latest ESL research.  While these things are somewhat important, there are plenty of "little things" that are equally, if not more important.  For example:

1. Smiling.  Does anyone like/want to learn from a grouchy teacher?

2. Keeping your cool in all situations.  Yelling at students never, ever gets you the results you want (which is your students actually learning English!)

3. Being punctual.  Be in class before your students are.  Set up before they arrive if possible.   Greet them as they come into the classroom.  Just because your students are late is no excuse for you to be as well.

4. Write an agenda on the board (or PPT).  Show your students that you've thought about the class and are ready to help them learn English.

5. Don't hide behind the book or technology.  Teaching is all about relationships. 

6. In Korea, appearance is everything.  Dress formally (at a uni or public school).  Students expect this, and respond well to it.

Any suggestions?  Things to add? 

1 comment:

Foreigner Joy said...

I don't have much to add, but I have to say when I checked off "yes" in my head while reading those I felt very proud of my teaching.

I would add that if the busy work of teaching life is stressing you out to not let it get in the way of classroom time. I'm a team leader at my school and have to organize and do paperwork stuff, and sometimes it causes me to stress. But I try to remember to not show this to my students. It's hard, but I try.