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How can I be a fun teacher?
« on: November 17, 2017, 03:49:52 pm »
I've worked at two schools and at both, I've had plenty of students admit out loud their boredom or how they miss the previous NET. It hurts and I want them to have fun. I realize I was trying too hard to teach English. But I don't know how to be fun. I play a game at the end of class, but clearly it's not enough.


  • Aristocrat
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1539

    • November 10, 2014, 01:04:27 pm
Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2017, 05:35:05 pm »
I can't say for sure.

If I'd guess, I'd say knowing how to relate always helps. If you play computer games, maybe watch anime, play soccer or better yet speak Korean, that'll help.
Humour always works wonders too, not forced humour but natural jokes.


Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2017, 11:14:01 am »
I can't say for sure.

If I'd guess, I'd say knowing how to relate always helps. If you play computer games, maybe watch anime, play soccer or better yet speak Korean, that'll help.
Humour always works wonders too, not forced humour but natural jokes.

Speaking Korean might make you more popular with them,  as when they're speaking Korean to you or listening to
you speaking Korean they're not working. Just telling them they can play with their phones all lesson would probably go down pretty well too.

If you want them to learn English in a more engaging way try 'gamifying' your activities. IE taking normal activities and making them more competitive or more interactive. Also I wouldn't worry too much about what they say about the previous teacher. He was probably just as useless. Kids know how to push teachers' buttons to annoy them.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 11:21:15 am by eggieguffer »


  • jesamla
  • Waygookin

    • 20

    • March 01, 2016, 10:36:03 am
Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2017, 03:04:07 pm »
You didn't say what grades you teach. I teach middle school and I try to sprinkle competitions or rewards throughout the class. I usually start the class with a short warm up activity that could be a riddle, a word puzzle, a tongue twister, etc. The kids love trying to figure them out. Then usually halfway through the class I will reward them with a stamp if they use the target language either in a role play with another student or by asking me questions, etc. A certain number of stamps earns them candy, so there is usually a lot of participation. Then for the last 15 to 20 mins of the class we play a game or do a fun activity which can also result in more stamps for the winners. Any game/competition that relies on chance (like rock, paper, scissors) is usually a winner with my students. I would assume a similar system would work just as well for elementary.


  • oglop
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1841

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2017, 05:25:37 pm »

If you want them to learn English in a more engaging way try 'gamifying' your activities. IE taking normal activities and making them more competitive or more interactive.
yes, pretty much this.

i usually put them into two or three teams and over the course of the lesson they 'compete' against each other, and the winning team gets a stamp or whatever system you use. similarly, you can also threaten to minus points to keep them quiet and on task. works well to get them to self-police each other

i also certainly wouldn't speak korean, or even allow them to speak korean. again, it's easy to enforce as they are usually more than happy to rat each other out


Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2017, 03:15:49 pm »
I can't say for sure.

If I'd guess, I'd say knowing how to relate always helps. If you play computer games, maybe watch anime, play soccer or better yet speak Korean, that'll help.
Humour always works wonders too, not forced humour but natural jokes.

I'm extremely unfunny and dull tbh. I knew a teacher who was very funny. His students loved him.


Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2017, 03:20:21 pm »
You didn't say what grades you teach. I teach middle school and I try to sprinkle competitions or rewards throughout the class. I usually start the class with a short warm up activity that could be a riddle, a word puzzle, a tongue twister, etc. The kids love trying to figure them out. Then usually halfway through the class I will reward them with a stamp if they use the target language either in a role play with another student or by asking me questions, etc. A certain number of stamps earns them candy, so there is usually a lot of participation. Then for the last 15 to 20 mins of the class we play a game or do a fun activity which can also result in more stamps for the winners. Any game/competition that relies on chance (like rock, paper, scissors) is usually a winner with my students. I would assume a similar system would work just as well for elementary.

I teach elementary which people have said it's easy because kids are easy to entertain. This isn't true. I have even been told I'm boring by english speaking preschool students in the usa. I wasn't renewed at my last job because the teachers said I'm unenthusiastic and not suitable to teach elementary. They said middle high school and university is what I should teach. But I'm back teaching elementary since it was difficult finding a middle + position.
I've tried warm ups in the beginning, but my students always seem bored by most of them. They can't solve riddles and things of that nature. They're young and low level. I teach K-6 in a public school.


Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2017, 03:21:51 pm »
First off, don't worry what the kids say about missing their previous teacher.  You didn't know that person and it could be that all they did was play games and gave out sweets, while the students learnt nothing.  So don't compare yourself to them.  Kids change and after a few weeks, they'll struggle to remember the previous teacher's name. 

Like others have said introduce some lesson based games.  Make sure with children you have 'uppers and downers'.  It is not good to always have students on an 'upper', you need them to sit down quietly and take in what they've learned. 

Like Oglop said, introduce a team element at the end of the class and give out stamps for activities.  If you have a class with vocabulary give them a wordsearch to complete and test them with the words when they finish.  If you want them to play a speaking game, 'boggleseslworld' has a lot of card-sized pictures for practising. 

http://bogglesworldesl.com/cards.htm

Or there is 'Mes-English' which has a lot of card-sized pictures. 

http://www.mes-english.com/flashcards.php

Mes-English also has some board game templates that you can print out and let the students play. 

http://www.mes-english.com/games/bouncearound.php

This one I used a fair bit when I was teaching elementary.

Thank you! I'll check out this website and try to implement your suggestions.


Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2017, 03:26:19 pm »
I can't say for sure.

If I'd guess, I'd say knowing how to relate always helps. If you play computer games, maybe watch anime, play soccer or better yet speak Korean, that'll help.
Humour always works wonders too, not forced humour but natural jokes.

Speaking Korean might make you more popular with them,  as when they're speaking Korean to you or listening to
you speaking Korean they're not working. Just telling them they can play with their phones all lesson would probably go down pretty well too.

If you want them to learn English in a more engaging way try 'gamifying' your activities. IE taking normal activities and making them more competitive or more interactive. Also I wouldn't worry too much about what they say about the previous teacher. He was probably just as useless. Kids know how to push teachers' buttons to annoy them.

Thanks, I actually thought of trying to make the book activities more fun (although still not sure what to do with K-2 since they don't have a book or with my other after school classes besides 5&6) it's just I have zero ideas. I don't know how other people make games off the top of their head. I've talked to other teachers where they would just make a game out of the lesson somehow, but I can't ever seem to do that. I'm not quick witted and so I'm SOL when unexpected things happen such as not being able to use the TV/Computer.

Can you elaborate on how you'd make the book activities into a competition? Who finishes the fastest? Who gets the answers right?


  • net.panda
  • Waygookin

    • 19

    • March 03, 2017, 07:51:46 am
    • Ha-Dong Gyeongsangnam-Do
Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2017, 08:45:13 am »
You didn't say what grades you teach. I teach middle school and I try to sprinkle competitions or rewards throughout the class. I usually start the class with a short warm up activity that could be a riddle, a word puzzle, a tongue twister, etc. The kids love trying to figure them out. Then usually halfway through the class I will reward them with a stamp if they use the target language either in a role play with another student or by asking me questions, etc. A certain number of stamps earns them candy, so there is usually a lot of participation. Then for the last 15 to 20 mins of the class we play a game or do a fun activity which can also result in more stamps for the winners. Any game/competition that relies on chance (like rock, paper, scissors) is usually a winner with my students. I would assume a similar system would work just as well for elementary.

I teach elementary which people have said it's easy because kids are easy to entertain. This isn't true. I have even been told I'm boring by english speaking preschool students in the usa. I wasn't renewed at my last job because the teachers said I'm unenthusiastic and not suitable to teach elementary. They said middle high school and university is what I should teach. But I'm back teaching elementary since it was difficult finding a middle + position.
I've tried warm ups in the beginning, but my students always seem bored by most of them. They can't solve riddles and things of that nature. They're young and low level. I teach K-6 in a public school.

Ouch! Nothing like kicking a man when he's already down...

Mmm when it comes to making book activities more entertaining, you could give rewards on speed and accuracy. Try to stick to sticker/stamp/money points that they can use in order to trade for prizes (aka candy, or stationary) as people have been suggesting earlier.
It can also be about taking themes from the books with the target words and mixing them with games that you played as a kid. A quick one I can think of is playing "Go Fish" but instead of matching numbers you are matching words and pictures (person with the most pairs gets ect ect prize). The main issue could be prep time, materials, and how many sets you need to make though.
Pictionary is also pretty good game as well, plus less prep time hahaha.

For K-2 classes, how often are you singing in those classes :laugh:? When in doubt introducing them to basic repetitive songs might help with the entertaining factor.


Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2017, 12:19:41 pm »
You didn't say what grades you teach. I teach middle school and I try to sprinkle competitions or rewards throughout the class. I usually start the class with a short warm up activity that could be a riddle, a word puzzle, a tongue twister, etc. The kids love trying to figure them out. Then usually halfway through the class I will reward them with a stamp if they use the target language either in a role play with another student or by asking me questions, etc. A certain number of stamps earns them candy, so there is usually a lot of participation. Then for the last 15 to 20 mins of the class we play a game or do a fun activity which can also result in more stamps for the winners. Any game/competition that relies on chance (like rock, paper, scissors) is usually a winner with my students. I would assume a similar system would work just as well for elementary.

I teach elementary which people have said it's easy because kids are easy to entertain. This isn't true. I have even been told I'm boring by english speaking preschool students in the usa. I wasn't renewed at my last job because the teachers said I'm unenthusiastic and not suitable to teach elementary. They said middle high school and university is what I should teach. But I'm back teaching elementary since it was difficult finding a middle + position.
I've tried warm ups in the beginning, but my students always seem bored by most of them. They can't solve riddles and things of that nature. They're young and low level. I teach K-6 in a public school.

Ouch! Nothing like kicking a man when he's already down...

Mmm when it comes to making book activities more entertaining, you could give rewards on speed and accuracy. Try to stick to sticker/stamp/money points that they can use in order to trade for prizes (aka candy, or stationary) as people have been suggesting earlier.
It can also be about taking themes from the books with the target words and mixing them with games that you played as a kid. A quick one I can think of is playing "Go Fish" but instead of matching numbers you are matching words and pictures (person with the most pairs gets ect ect prize). The main issue could be prep time, materials, and how many sets you need to make though.
Pictionary is also pretty good game as well, plus less prep time hahaha.

For K-2 classes, how often are you singing in those classes :laugh:? When in doubt introducing them to basic repetitive songs might help with the entertaining factor.

I tried gofish with my 4th graders yesterday. They didn't like it and didn't want to do it. One student even ruined the card that I laminated. All they want is music and music... they're so difficult. They do like bingo though which we played before go fish.

My K-2 classes have become mostly music (kids songs with a theme) and it's going better. I talked to another foreign teacher and she said that's what she does. I just feel judged when I do it. 1st grade is still hard to get to care about the music though.

This semester is almost over, but next semester I will implement the sticker chart thingy into my regular classes.

Thank you~~


  • Pecan
  • The Legend

    • 3769

    • December 27, 2010, 09:14:44 am
    • Seoul
Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2017, 01:41:28 pm »
According the the government, you won't have to worry about teaching the young kids much longer, as they are banning English from being taught to K-2 students in public schools from February 28, 2018.

If I were you, I would focus on building better rapport with your students, as it sounds like that is seriously lacking.

When you have it, wherever you lead, they should follow, go fish or other.


Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2017, 03:25:00 pm »
I agree with the rapport but I also agree there can be a better way to say it 

But definitely understand what I call the "classroom personality." You probably don't need to know them one-on-one but every class has a personality. Once you get that, you can better plan to what they like and respond to.

How I format my class is:

-Greetings/Motivation
-Warm Up game (an activity that's about 5~10 mins long about the last class. It gets their minds working and solidifies what they learned in the last class.
-Book lesson/curriculum
-Game of the Day (applying new information about 15 mins)

I always play with my kids and give them the chance to practice with me.


Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2017, 12:05:57 am »
What do you do with the kids now? It sounds like you need a bit of training. You need to learn how to teach and then you can integrate games and activities into your lesson. Kids get motivated by fun. If your classes aren't fun they won't learn and they won't like you.

But it's not just games that you need. If it's all games without paying attention to the lesson content then you'll lose.  Again you need to learn how to integrate the right games into your lesson. You need structure, format and fun.

Making the kids do boring things all class and then giving them a game at the end won't work, because they are just going to tune out until then. First learn lesson planning then learn the games that fit with your lesson content.
Who is ESLinsider?


  • Lawrence
  • Super Waygook

    • 305

    • March 06, 2013, 10:59:23 am
    • South Korea
Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2017, 10:38:49 pm »
I think another factor is age. If you are 40 and up it can be hard to relate to them, sometimes even if you are mid thirties. Your energy level has a lot to do with this. If your energy is low and you are soft spoken then they will be bored. You need to be loud and you need to get their attention. You get what you put into it. If you are high level energy and entertaining then the students will like you. If you are timid, shy, and boring then they will dislike you. I had this problem for a while according to some people and these days I try a lot harder and the students appreciate me more. I think even if you are older you can still do a good job if you adjust your style.


  • travelinpantsgirl
  • Moderator - LVL 2

    • 2045

    • September 09, 2010, 06:00:18 pm
    • Seoul
    more
Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2017, 11:08:27 am »
Don't take your job or yourself too seriously. Before anyone jumps on me saying that I am saying slack off or don't do your job, that is not what I am saying. I am saying, particularly at the elementary level, especially in public, a greater part of the job is cultural not English. English is just a secondary by-product. Definitely teach them but, but do it in a way that is just more of a play environment. I second a rapport though. I am only successful because I establish a rapport with my students every time. I teach high school. Sometimes they say or do shocking stuff to be funny, to test me. As long they don't break my basic rules of respect (and they know what those rules are), I don't try to police them.
I don't like kpop and I don't pretend to. I don't like soccer. My rapport is based on my love for them and teaching and they know it. That's all I can say. Find something you love about them and/or the job and use that to fuel your rapport with them.
Ignoranţa este adesea o boală fatal şi cretin nu poate fi vindecata.


Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2017, 03:30:41 pm »
I agree with the rapport but I also agree there can be a better way to say it 

But definitely understand what I call the "classroom personality." You probably don't need to know them one-on-one but every class has a personality. Once you get that, you can better plan to what they like and respond to.

How I format my class is:

-Greetings/Motivation
-Warm Up game (an activity that's about 5~10 mins long about the last class. It gets their minds working and solidifies what they learned in the last class.
-Book lesson/curriculum
-Game of the Day (applying new information about 15 mins)

I always play with my kids and give them the chance to practice with me.

I don't know how to build rapport

For non after school classes I usually do

-Greetings
-Sometimes a warm up game if I can think up one or find one that fits
-The book
-Ending game


Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2017, 03:32:56 pm »
What do you do with the kids now? It sounds like you need a bit of training. You need to learn how to teach and then you can integrate games and activities into your lesson. Kids get motivated by fun. If your classes aren't fun they won't learn and they won't like you.

But it's not just games that you need. If it's all games without paying attention to the lesson content then you'll lose.  Again you need to learn how to integrate the right games into your lesson. You need structure, format and fun.

Making the kids do boring things all class and then giving them a game at the end won't work, because they are just going to tune out until then. First learn lesson planning then learn the games that fit with your lesson content.

If your classes aren't fun they won't learn and they won't like you.

I know this, and I know I need training. But where do I get the training from. I don't plan on teaching after this. But I'd like for my kids to like me, learn, and respect me.

Where do I learn lesson planning. The long epik orientation didnt really teach me anything. And they made me do a HS lesson plan when I'm teaching elementary schoolers.


Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2017, 03:34:08 pm »
I think another factor is age. If you are 40 and up it can be hard to relate to them, sometimes even if you are mid thirties. Your energy level has a lot to do with this. If your energy is low and you are soft spoken then they will be bored. You need to be loud and you need to get their attention. You get what you put into it. If you are high level energy and entertaining then the students will like you. If you are timid, shy, and boring then they will dislike you. I had this problem for a while according to some people and these days I try a lot harder and the students appreciate me more. I think even if you are older you can still do a good job if you adjust your style.
If you are timid, shy, and boring then they will dislike you. - yeah this is me. im in my early twenties... i dont know how not to be timid, shy, anxious, and boring...


Re: How can I be a fun teacher?
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2017, 03:35:21 pm »
Don't take your job or yourself too seriously. Before anyone jumps on me saying that I am saying slack off or don't do your job, that is not what I am saying. I am saying, particularly at the elementary level, especially in public, a greater part of the job is cultural not English. English is just a secondary by-product. Definitely teach them but, but do it in a way that is just more of a play environment. I second a rapport though. I am only successful because I establish a rapport with my students every time. I teach high school. Sometimes they say or do shocking stuff to be funny, to test me. As long they don't break my basic rules of respect (and they know what those rules are), I don't try to police them.
I don't like kpop and I don't pretend to. I don't like soccer. My rapport is based on my love for them and teaching and they know it. That's all I can say. Find something you love about them and/or the job and use that to fuel your rapport with them.

people keep saying rapport... i can't even build rapport with people my age... much less children who cant understand me