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Alumni’s Personal Experience of Teaching English as a Second Language

Alumni’s Personal Experience of Teaching English as a Second Language | ITTT | TEFL Blog

My attachment to teaching starts when I was a child and observing my mom teaching private lessons. I have grown to love teaching.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Roza A. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Volunteer Teaching

My first experience was while I was in my third year of university volunteering to teach my classmates the subjects they were weak at. Then I volunteered in one of the offices of American Corner in my city part of the American Console in Iraq and opened a course there teaching English as a second language.

The two earlier volunteering experiences I had were great, mostly because the students were adults and highly motivated. I didn’t have students who misbehaved or didn’t want to learn. They all had their motives and did whatever was necessary to learn and participate in the activities as much as they could. There was also no pressure from any type of management on me, for I organized the course myself, prepared the material and had their exams.

people stacking hands

Also Read: What are the hiring seasons for teaching English abroad?

Real Work

My first work experience though was at an International School called Zanst International School. The students were very young from 6 to 10-year-olds. I started with teaching a summer school there for improving their English and Math skills. It was one of the most difficult and challenging experiences I had because the students varied extremely in their groupage and language levels.

The class contained high achievers in both subjects and extremely weak students in both subjects and especially in English. It had students who could understand and speak English fluently, then there were students didn’t know the alphabet. So managing between these two very different groups of students was extremely difficult.

I ended up teaching more than one lesson inside one class. I had to prepare different worksheets for every activity and assessment I did. And there was extreme pressure on me in having them answer the same exam sheets for the course.

Also the different levels of students, there was the motivation problem. It was a summer course, the students have already been through a long school season, they had very low energy and motivation left in them to pay attention and make an effort.

teacher and students on the background

Also Read: Where can I teach English abroad without a university degree?

Homeroom Teaching Practice

After that summer I got hired in the School as a homeroom teacher for grade 1, the age range was 5 to 6-year-olds. The class still had a variety of levels but this timeless severe, the main problem this time was the students’ motivation. Because they have just graduated from Kindergarten, it was difficult for them to be disciplined towards their homework, so I was constantly motivating them to push forward using star system and small presents, or making them involved in projects and hanging their pictures to have a sense of accomplishment.

My second teaching experience was in a university teaching the freshmen English and prepare them for their academic years. Teaching the two skills of listening and speaking intensively.

The learners were young adults, their ages were between 18 to 22, similar in their levels, the majority was false beginners. Working with Engage, Study and Activate phases was much easier, even though role-play activities were a bit challenging to manage at first because they were beginners but we could build our way through it, and towards the middle of the course onward they could do surveys and video projects.

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First time teaching experiences are always challenging, but as we go along with it and get to know our students, the environment and have our ways with different routines, it gets easier to manage.

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