We all have those days, or weeks. Maybe it’s the start or the end of the year, when there are less class options. Or maybe you have had the bad luck to land a class you hate teaching all year round. For me, it’s usually a kids class that I have no experience with, or business classes that I’m covering, without having much time to go over the material. Whatever it may be, it means that I might be tempted to watch the clock until it’s over, and can really ruin a perfectly good week.
So here are my tips for feeling more positive about those headache classes.
It sounds obvious. But one of the reasons why many teachers feel uncomfortable with a class is because they haven’t prepared properly. This might be because they haven’t had sufficient time, information, or motivation to do so. If your class is usually taught by somebody else, make sure you get a full briefing from the normal class teacher. This can include things like:
- Previous work completed
- Class level
- Aims and objectives
- Class demographic
- Materials being used
If the class is using set materials like a textbook, planning doesn’t have to be arduous at all, a simple glance at the subject matter might be all that’s necessary if you’re already familiar with it. Alternatively, there’s nothing wrong with going off script for one day if you don’t fancy, or don’t feel able to continue with what they normally do.
Also, make sure you have some kind of activity up your sleeve for if they finish earlier tan you expected them to. A simple ten minute game should suffice. There’s nothing worse than delivering a great class but have to improvise for the last little bit. Students can tell, and you won’t feel comfortable at all.
Enjoy Being Challenged
Perhaps you don’t like this class because they always ask the difficult questions. Questions that you don’t know the answer to, this was the case for me not long ago. But these are actually fantastic opportunities to hone your craft as a teacher.
Remember to look over what you’ll be teaching beforehand, to avoid being completely clueless when the time comes, this will help you to answer the basic stuff.
But for those things they ask you that you really struggle with, don’t give them half an answer. Remind yourself that there’s nothing wrong with telling them that you’re not sure, and getting back to them next time. It will make you look more professional, and means that for next time, you’ll know how to explain something on the spot.
Remember You’re The Boss
I once had a class of 30 or so students, most of whom were young lads trying out for the police exam, for which they needed to pass an English test. Imagine, all the arrogance and attitude that comes with that group! It used to make me so nervous, enough to ruin my whole week.
But in the end, I was reminded that all of those students were there because I had something that they wanted, which was the knowledge to see them through their exam. Once I started to be a little more confident, they had a lot more confidence in me. I actually quite enjoy the class now!
Lesson learned. Even though it’s a horrible cliche, you need to believe in yourself just a little bit more.
Did you find these tips helpful? Let me know in the comments!