In some parts of the world, September is the month when many teachers walk into the language classroom for the very first time. Teacher Solomon Au Yeung remembers his first year of teaching EFL and passes on his top ten tips for new teachers.
1 Realistic goals
Don't expect that the students will show instant improvement after taking your lessons. Learning a language requires time and effort.
2 Classroom management
Many new teachers are worried about managing large groups of (especially younger) students. Start the school year off by explaining your expectations of the students. If necessary, explain your classroom rules in the students’ first language.
3 Create your own pedagogic style
Don’t always stick to one method. Experiment with other ways of conducting the lessons and gradually you will develop your own style of teaching.
4 Learn from more experienced teachers
Don't hesitate to ask for help from more experienced colleagues. They probably remember their first year and will always help out with useful advice.
5 Grasp opportunities to learn more
Take any chance to learn more and develop your teaching skills. If your school offers workshops or other professional development opportunities, always make the most of them.
6 Keep on enriching yourself
Keep learning and keep yourself updated with trends in education by reading journals or attending conference (both online and face-to-face).
If you do have any behavioural issues, don’t panic! Every teacher experiences these moments. Usually, persistence with students has its rewards and you can change their lives in a remarkable way.
8 Multiple materials
The course book is a good resource, but do not always rely on it. Look for additional and authentic materials and integrate them into your own curriculum.
9 Learning through games
Make use of games to help students develop their language skills; often it’s through fun that students gain most out of the lessons.
It's good to prepare for the lessons and come up with a lesson plan, but don't always feel that you have to stick to it. Make use of the moments in the class when students lead the topic of the lesson elsewhere. This kind of improvisation can often lead to learning opportunities that you hadn’t anticipated.
Solomon Au Yeung is an EFL teacher from Hong Kong. He teaches English to mainly junior primary students. Besides English, he also teaches General Studies, Music and Putonghua.