The second edition of Adventures In ESL! Again, I hope you all enjoy these posts, and if you are a teacher or are learning how to teach (like me), please share some helpful tips on teaching methods, fun class activities, etc. They are appreciated. 🙂
Let’s begin… But first pictures of my classroom!
*Note: This is an intermediate adult ESL (English as a Second Language Class). The course lasts over a period of 14 weeks and are held 2 days a week and are roughly 2 hours long each.
Week 4: In which I finally start to enjoy teaching
Alright week four! At this point, I finally started to relax and enjoy teaching. My students tell me how much they enjoy coming my class and that I am a good, friendly teacher! Hearing this really makes me feel appreciated by my students and it is heartwarming as well. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right.
I started off Tuesday’s class by reiterating the classroom rules to my students. It was basically a mini speech about speaking up/participating more in class, use more English (to practice speaking skills), and that they needed to ask questions or tell me they don’t understand something because I won’t automatically know. I told them I wasn’t tying to be mean or strict, I just wanted to get them to understand the more that they do in class, the more their English would improve. The mini speech proved to be effective and a lot more people (besides the usual students) started to speak up in class. This week I kicked off the unit on American culture by talking about greetings/introductions.I put them with different people they haven’t worked with in the class during conversation practice and I barely heard any Spanish! After the failure of trying to teach them possessive nouns, I went back to the grammar basics and started to teach them nouns (as well as the difference between plural and singular nouns).
Thursday’s class was a bit rough. I went with my advisor’s suggestion to teach proverbs rather than idioms because idioms might be too difficult for intermediate students. That being said I think it went a lot smoother that how I had originally planned the class. But Only 20% students grasped proverbs, while the others had a lot of difficulty. I still am having trouble with some of the quieter students at this point. I call on them and encourage them to try their best, but they are still reluctant. What can I do?
Another problem I am having is enforcing students to do the homework. Some students are better than others than completing homework, but a lot of them are late at turning homework in. I understand they have busy lives with work, kids, etc., but they need to try to complete assignments on time. The more they do homework the more practice they’ll get.
Week 5: Fun times!
Week five is still focused on the unit of American culture, I had initially planned to spend a week on American folktales, but after some suggestions and careful thinking I switch to the topic of storytelling. I had students telling me examples of American stories they have heard, and what a “story” is. I focused on teaching them the parts of a story (plot, conflict, resolution, etc.) and they grasped the subject pretty well.
Since Tuesday’s lesson focused on listening/speaking I played a storytelling game that would help them practice these skills. In the game I started the story saying “once upon a time” and let each student add their piece to the story to make it their own. The stuff they came up with was hilarious and my students and I were all laughing by the end. To make the second round a bit trickier, I had the students repeat the part of the stories that was said before them, then add their part. For example the third student would had to say “Once upon a time, there lived a girl in the desert, and she had a camel…and the camel kicked her”. Some struggled with the game more than others, but I encouraged them to try to have fun with it.
For grammar, I reviewed nouns, but started to teach them simple present and continuous verbs. On Thursday’s class I went into depth more with verbs and had them practice the differences. Most students got it, a coupled of time they got confused between present and present continuous tenses. I tried to help by telling them that if the verb has a -ing ending, it’s happening right now, at this moment. It worked and they themselves gave me examples to make sure they understood correctly.
Since Thursday’s class is usually reading and writing focused I gave each student a picture from the magazine and had them practice their writing skills by describing the picture before them. After they each shared their pictures with the class then I reviewed the parts of a story with them again. I then had them use the same pictures to create their own stories. The results were really good, and they came up with some pretty creative and fun stories. I had each student share their story (mine included) and then vote on whose story they liked the best. It not only gave them a chance to practice writing, but their speaking skills as well.
And an added note, a lot of people are starting to volunteer in class without me having to call on them. Yay!
Most important things learned:
- Relax and have fun!
- Don’t get frustrated if they don’t understand something. Slow down, and take time to give more examples.
- Students really appreciate the hard work you put into teaching them!
- Teaching is like improv, coming up with examples on the spot can be difficult!
See you next time!