Next Monday is my first week back at school after a long winter holiday. For me, the first week is a time of excitement. I’ve always got a lot of energy after a long break and I’m eager to run some great classes. I make sure that the first week of any semester is fun and communicative, with no textbook work or weak lessons to slow it down. Remember that your students may not be as excited to get back in the classroom as you are…
With that in mind, here as some tips for getting back into the swing of things:
- Don’t push the students too hard. Remember that many of them won’t have done much studying over the holidays and their English skills will be rusty.
- Don’t push yourself too hard. You may feel as excited as I am to be back in the classroom, but you’ll get a sore throat from talking too much, and you don’t want to burn out too early in the semester.
- Check books and class lists. If your school is like mine (or any other in China) you’ll not get the materials you need until the last minute. During the first week, before you’re settled in and doing normal classes, make sure you have everything that you need – and make sure the students have their books, too.
- Review the last semester. Take time to briefly review the highs and lows (but don’t focus on the lows). For example, this year I’ll tell my students the good news that they don’t need to spend so many lessons doing writing because they excelled in it last semester.
- Build rapport by sharing your experiences. Every holiday, I go someplace interesting and take lots of pictures on my blog. I show the pictures to my students and tell them a little story. Don’t get too self-indulgent, but letting them into your life a little will break down some walls.
- Make it fun. Have a music lesson or a lesson where students act. Make it different from their other classes. Have them mingle and chat. Let them use English in a relaxed environment.
- Get to know the students. If you’re teaching a new class, let the students introduce themselves to you. Take an interest in their lives, and try to learn their names as quickly as possible. If I can do that with 200 students, you can too!
Ok, I’d better get back to planning some lessons. If you, like me, start back this week or next, I hope it goes well. If you have any advice, put it below in the comments.