Personal Teaching Experiences: How to Improve Future Teaching Experiences
I have had many personal teaching experiences. Some experiences gave me feelings of accomplishment, happiness, and success, while others discouraged me and on the rare occasion ended with me sitting in the parking lot crying inside my car. Now that I have completed the 120 Hour TEFL course I feel that I have been given a second chance at teaching. I want to analyze and explain my first teaching experiences. I lived in Italy for a year and a half doing volunteer work. We held English discussion groups two times a week. We had no materials, no curriculum, and no plans. We separated into two groups; beginner and intermediate. There were no placement or diagnostic tests, and as a result, there were weaker and stronger students of varying degrees. We tried our best, but there was not much we could do with the tools we had been given. We didn’t follow a curriculum therefore lessons were chaotic and sporadic. We lost many students because of our lack of preparation.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Amberlee J. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
My second personal teaching experience was when I was offered a job at a preschool in Italy to teach English. I worked three days a week with a group of eight kids ages 4-5. Hoping this experience would be different from my last experience, I accepted the job. I was wrong. There was no curriculum, no lesson plans and the room we were placed in was too distracting for the students. We were placed inside of their school playroom. The playroom was distracted and wanted to run, jump, and play with all of the fun toys that were surrounding us. I was able to create games and lesson plans on my own that integrated these toys. I was hoping to stimulate interest and motivation, instead, they failed to listen and pay attention.
I knew that I needed to change the dynamics of my classroom and help my students truly learn something despite their young ages. I began to make visuals, memory games, flashcards, and downloaded songs off the internet to help them hear the words and pronunciation. To my excitement the children were interested. They wanted to play the memory games and they wanted to sing the songs. I felt successful and more encouraged and motivated to try harder to help them. However, after a month of playing the same games and listening to the same songs the children were bored. I hadn’t been taught how to be a teacher. How to make lesson plans, or been given suggestions on how to improve me. I ended up quitting a few months later.
The Purpose of Teaching
I was discouraged, I wanted to teach English in Italy. I knew that I could help people I only needed help and more knowledge on how to improve my teaching skills and techniques. I am a native English speaker, but that doesn’t mean I know a lot about my very own language. I knew that for me to improve my teaching experiences, I needed to improve my knowledge of my own language. I needed to learn grammar rules and how to plan lessons.
Way to Improve
Now that I have dedicated time to learn more, I know how I can improve my future teaching experiences. I know that I should plan for my lessons in advance, taking into account problems the students might have and double-checking all electronic devices so that they don’t malfunction during the lesson. I know that it is important to greet the students as they walk in, calling each one by name. I need to establish rapport so that they are comfortable and trust me to help them. I know that it is essential to include all students in the activities and that it is beneficial for weaker students to be paired with stronger students. I plan to cater the lessons to my students and their needs, always try my best to keep them motivated and interested in what is being taught. I know that teacher talk time should sometimes be at a minimum so that students are encouraged to use the language they are learning.
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I feel encouraged and motivated to continue on this journey to be an English teacher and I am confident in the skills that I have acquired. I can see that everything I have learned is beneficial to improving my teaching methods, and I know that this will greatly help my future teaching experiences.
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