If you asked me what website I would recommend to any new teacher colleague, my first pick would be FutureLearn. Here is why.
Teachers are always supposed to write a lesson plan, to know what they are going to do in their lesson. However, the biggest part of the job is ‘on the stage’. Your authentic interest in your students, your skill to improvise, your sense of humor, your problem-solving skills will weigh more in your evaluation than the perfection of your lesson plan. However, to be good at problem-solving and improvisation, you need to prepare mentally (anticipating problems). Here are some questions for you:
If you have back-to-back lessons or are sent to cover a sick colleague last minute, you might find yourself in the situation that you have your class in front of you, but you still haven’t cleaned up your materials from the previous lesson or don’t really know what to do in this class.
WHY TO STATE THE OBVIOUS? In 2006, I decided to go to a language school and study Italian. I had already had a good intermediate level in Italian at that time, but I understood that I needed some guidance. While I could read, watch TV (ergo listen), study grammar or vocabulary at home, I still needed somebody to do conversation with. So I started to explore what language schools had to offer. In Florence, it was no problem to find Italian courses for foreigners. However, this experience turned out to be shocking.
INTRODUCTION One question on my job interviewer list is whether the candidate can handle more levels/age groups and different types of courses in one day. Most candidates answer automatically yes. However, a normal teaching day in our part of the world looks like this: pre-scheduled courses start at 3pm, 4.30pm, 6pm and 7.30pm (e.g. two YL, a one-to-one and finally an adult class) and you might be even lucky to get an individual lesson before that (let’s say 1.30 to 3pm). It can easily get overwhelming to sit down and write four-five lesson plans in a row for the coming day. You may not know where to start and how to proceed. There is always a first time to teach a group/book/unit/grammar point/topic, etc. Important to get down to work and follow some important steps:
ALIAS DON’T TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED After years of daily classroom routine, teachers tend to do things automatically, without even noticing that they do these things that way. These can be even bad habits (talking to students while continuously wandering about the classroom, using monotonous tone when giving feedback or just repeating ‘good job’ even after a mistake, etc.) and a supervisor after a classroom observation can (and should) help notice and correct them. However, there is a long list of good habits we usually do without thinking about them. When in 2011 I was asked to coordinate 12 teachers and recruit new ones, I had to realize that these good things are not so obvious to everyone.
What are the qualities of a good teacher? Have you ever asked yourself this question?This post is addressed to teacher colleagues who the first time would like to teach English to non-native speakers. They might even have some qualifications, but without job search and classroom experience they might end up disappointed after a job interview. So let me give you some food for thought about why being a good English speaker is not enough to be a good teacher candidate?
You might be a new teacher looking for your first job opportunity Or even more, you’ve already gained some experience and a good reference letter and you might only be browsing the net for interesting destinations where to teach. But for some reason, nobody or only a few D.O.S. recognize your potentials, even though you have been sending your CV in group mails to numberless language schools in the last couple of weeks? You even tackled two or three phone interviews. Well, then stop for a second, read what your potential supervisor might think on the other end of the wire and learn from your or your colleagues’ mistakes as your students do.