ESL Introduction Activity for New Teachers

This is an activity I found online and just tweaked it for my own liking. It’s generally called “10 Things.” On your first day of classes when you are the new teacher or you have new students coming in who don’t know you yet this is a good way to start things off.

10 Things About Me
Depending on the age of the students I may have a little fun drawing a silly stick figure version of me. The younger students really get a laugh when I draw my stick figure and then do the same pose myself. I think it’s important for the students to know it’s OK to have a laugh in class and that their teacher isn’t going to bore them. In a few of my classes I drew the stick figure, introduced the stick figure as their real teacher and pretended to walk out of class. It lightens the mood right from the beginning and gets rid of a lot of the anxiety the new students or the teacher may feel.

New Teacher

Good morning students, this is your teacher.

Then I write 10 things about myself that are answers to a question that I want the students to ask me. I usally start with drawing the American flag and then a few easy ones like pizza, blue, and 31. Where are you from? What is your favorite food and color? And, how old are you? Then I try to throw in a few tricky ones like my last name which gives me a chance to explain to the students how Americans say “last name” but “surname” and “family name” are also acceptable. I write a few cryptic ones like just the words “No” and “Not yet!” Do you have a girlfriend? (No!) Are you married? (Not yet) The students here get a kick out of it when I write “ayam bakar.” What is your favorite food in Indonesia?

This is a great way to start out the class because it’s a way to introduce yourself without standing there in front of them doing a monologue about your life.

When they ask you a question and you answer just cross it off. When you’re finished the activity can either end there or you can give the students a turn. What I did was ask each student to take a sheet of paper out and write 5 things about themselves in the same fashion. I ask them to do a few simple ones and maybe 1-2 tricky answers. Then I randomly pick a few out and write their words on the board. Now I get the students to start asking each other.

It’s a lot of fun but make sure you give students other ideas for things they can put down. They get bored with asking their classmates what their favorite color is so really put an emphasis on a few tricky ones to get the class involved in trying to figure it out.

If it’s a large class I just do a few but if it’s 5 or less I’ll try and get through all of them. So far all the classes seemed to like it and by the end they got to know me. When I saw one of my classes for the second time and walked in a few of the students yelled “AYAM BAKAR!!!”

TEFL Certification Day 4 & 5: Going through the motions

Disclaimer: I want to warn readers that these posts are usually written after a long 8 hour day in the classroom after already completing my written assignments after class. Please do not expect perfect grammar as I’m not going to do any editing and will only be free writing as quickly as possible. I am fully aware of the irony here, don’t worry! :)

The last two days have been spent going through the motions of what we will eventually be doing in a couple of weeks. We are peer practicing so that we can used to the structure of the models that TEFL International uses in their course.

I’m really enjoying the course right now since the days are broken up nicely into different parts. We never spend too much time on one item. This will change next week with grammar but for now I’m just having fun. Usually, first thing in the morning is dedicated to a new phase of the structure models followed by some sort of activity that gets us moving around a little. The first day we did some acting and improvisation, the second day we played pictionary and today was charades. All of this ties into teaching English as a foreign language as illustrations, gestures and body language are all very important. With out these skills being able to communicate effectively with a student who doesn’t understand you would be nearly impossible. I’ve always been pretty good at acting and having a good time but I have to be careful with this. One phrase, often repeated in class is, “Be entertaining, not an entertainer.” There is a fine line between entertaining the kids and then going too far where you go overboard. I’m anxious to see how I handle this once I’m in front of the students.

Some people in class are having a harder time than others but I’m sure this is normal. I’ve found myself far more confident than I expected to be. Instead of being nervous about going up in front of the class, I’m usually eager to do it so that I can get more practice. I think in my free time, I’m going to go into the classroom to do some black board practice. My handwriting is already bad, so any chance I can get practicing my writing and drawing skills will be good. Living at the school has its benefits because if I ever have a night where I can’t sleep I can always walk down a quick staircase to the floor below and practice my lessons.

Last night there was a welcoming party where they cooked Thai food and served soft drinks. The food was amazing! I had a curry, sort of like massaman with chicken wings in it as well as a spicy beef dish called Lam. There was pad thai and morning glory served and we got to hang around the staff and administration.

Tonight, they are taking some of us into Rayong, a bigger city about 20 minutes away, so that we can get any clothing items that we still need for teaching. I need a couple of button up shirts as well as khaki pants. Then we’ll head over to a big night market to eat.

That’s about it for now! Tomorrow we meet with students for the first time to do a student profile. We’ll observe our trainers first and then be on our own with a Thai student for an interview.