My First Classes as a ESL Teacher

I started my new job this week.  I work in a small industrial town about thirty minutes outside of Madrid.  While the commute is long this job promised the highest pay and hours than any other.  So unlike most of my friends, I don’t have time or a need to have private classes or a second job.  TTMadrid sent me the job ad. The woman hired me on the spot about a week ago.  Now I have to file my temporary residence paperwork to file. Theb I’ll be able to breathe and simply teach.

So my first class was with adults in a medical supply factory.  The room I taught in had bars on the windows with very little light and no blackboard.  Then I apparently I thought they were a higher level than they were so the class went a little over their head.  The class was a reading and speaking focused class with the theme: Names.  This was from English File Intermediate Plus.  It started off well.  The first three activities:

Balloon Up: give the students a category like movies.  They must pass the balloon around the room and name movies then switch the topic about three-five times.  Make sure everyone stands up to get some energy in the room.

Tongue Twister contest:  I handed out a paper with three tongue twisters.  Everyone stands up. They must say the tongue twister three times then sit down. The first person to sit gets a candy.

Then the last activity was a listening activity from the book.

Then we started doing a reading workshop: how do you understand words within context.  Not only did they not even try to guess the type of word or meaning, they said they couldn’t understand me.  Why couldn’t they understand my slow American Accent?  Because their previous teacher might have had a UK passport but he grew up in Sierra Leone.  I met him earlier that day. I was shocked to hear his heavy African accent.  I’m sure he’s a great teacher beyond my years, however now my students have to adjust to a vastly different accent and they may have been learning English pronunciation wrong this entire time! I suppose if their only complaint was my accent the class went well.

Yesterday was my second class in a actual school.  I used a similar lesson plan and mixed and matched a little more to make the material easier. I kept the activities that worked and left out the reading within context exercise.  I had a small white board and the room had light!  This seemed the make all the difference with everyone because this group was much happier to participate. My students were very willing to talk to each other and ask me questions.  It went by easy breezy.

So today I have two classes.  The company class and then a regular class. Lots of lesson planning!!! Wish me luck!

“A teacher is a compass that activates magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and wisdom in the pupils.”

-Ever Garrison

3 thoughts on “My First Classes as a ESL Teacher

  1. sounds cool!
    I also want to do ESL course some time and teach English and travel. I guess for native English speakers it will be an easy task! I am no native English speaker!


  2. I hope your English teaching gets easier! I find that teaching in Vietnam a lot of the kids have already got an ‘American’ accent from TV/previous teachers etc. but they exaggerate the word so that the sounds they make aren’t correct. They are slowly changing but it takes a while. One thing with TEFL/ESL or whatever is that you need a ton of patience but when you finally see the difference in the students’ English it makes it all worth while. You can see my experiences in Vietnam on my blog page. Good luck!


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