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First Time Teacher and Phonics
« on: January 29, 2023, 01:55:38 pm »
Hello everyone! Iím a new teacher, and never taught before in my life. I have a TEFL certificate, but that really didnít prepare me for real world scenarios.

I have two phonics classes. One class Iím just in charge of reading. Just making sure they know how to read. Second class is Iím in charge of teaching them the sounds.

Iím not really sure what to do when it comes to prepping for either class. For the first class I try to pick out short passages for them to read that are simple. Or read some of the short stories from their textbook. For the second class I typically just keep saying the letter/s sound all throughout the class. Just repeating the sound over and over. Letting them try to sound out a word I write down on the board that has the sound in it. I canít do worksheets with the second class because their English isnít good enough for them to understand simple directions.

Iím having trouble with the first class because itís basically me making them read. However, my students are at different levels. Some read very fast and others read very slow.

Iíve tried the read it three times and come read to me approach. Even by giving the more advanced students more difficult passages. However, I have some students who will not even attempt to read if Iím not right next to them or helping them with the words. Some students will just goof off no matter how hard I try.

The second class is hard because I canít do worksheets with them. They donít know simple directions and itís not good having to walk them each individually through it. I canít sit them close together because they will just copy the other one and not try.

I was told to not read to them or make them take turns reading.

Iím at a lost at what to do because Iím not really sure what I need to do. I want to be a good teacher, and I know I have a lot to learn. However, I have nobody helping me learn. Thereís no support or direction.

Thatís why Iím here, hoping somebody can give some kind of guidance. Because I am literally fumbling around in the dark.

Any and all tips or advice is sincerely appreciated.


Re: First Time Teacher and Phonics
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2023, 10:20:20 am »
I lack experience here as I don't teach young learners, but I've personally looked a lot into the Science of Reading.

To start, you could try developing sight word recognition. I've been told that this seems to help many ESL students' reading abilities to improve by leaps and bounds.

Intro into the core concepts of reading: https://www.brainrecoveryproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Part-1-Understanding-the-Big-Five-for-the-Early-or-Struggling-Reader.pdf

Recommended books: https://www.weareteachers.com/science-of-reading-pd-books-for-teachers/

Intro for teaching sight words to ESL students: https://www.twinkl.com.mt/blog/how-to-teach-sight-words-to-esl-students

Suggested activities: https://susanjonesteaching.com/how-to-teach-sight-words-according-to-the-science-of-reading/

Sorry that I can't be more detailed than that, but hopefully one of the more experienced teachers can direct you to some more comprehensive resources.


Re: First Time Teacher and Phonics
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2023, 12:21:24 pm »

I was told to not read to them...

I'll give you one tip...this is absolutely wrong. Model reading by teachers is essential in getting young learners engaged. I'm not going through the reasons why. Do some research. It's also good for you to understand the reading process, as a teacher.

Secondly, Chinguetti went out of her way to put up some links. I'm sure she would appreciate a thanks.

I do actually have a solid understanding of teaching phonics...have my own program in fact. I waited a few days to see if you gave her a 'cheers'. You haven't so I won't. Truly unbelievable how many new posters do this. It takes 1 minute to respond. Good luck anyway!


Re: First Time Teacher and Phonics
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2023, 12:33:40 pm »
I'll give you one tip...this is absolutely wrong. Model reading by teachers is essential in getting young learners engaged. I'm not going through the reasons why. Do some research. It's also good for you to understand the reading process, as a teacher.

Secondly, Chinguetti went out of her way to put up some links. I'm sure she would appreciate a thanks.

I do actually have a solid understanding of teaching phonics...have my own program in fact. I waited a few days to see if you gave her a 'cheers'. You haven't so I won't. Truly unbelievable how many new posters do this. It takes 1 minute to respond. Good luck anyway!

To be fair to the OP, they haven't logged on since making this post. Being their first post, it needed moderator approval and so there's a chance it took up to 24 hours for the post to be visible. Maybe the OP probably didn't even realize the post had been approved. With almost no active mods, this site does its best to turn new posters away.



Re: First Time Teacher and Phonics
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2023, 01:04:44 pm »
Good point Emmett. I'll retract my annoyance with an apology to SolarPrincess if this is the case  :smiley:


Re: First Time Teacher and Phonics
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2023, 12:12:15 pm »
My suggestions are to try and play some simple games - I am assuming they are young learners
eg - bingo,
- 4 corners where students run/crawl/hop/... to the correct letter for the sound you make.  (I realise you need to consider safety issues here).
- Jump the line - students jump/step left or right depending on where you put the letter and then say the letter sound (You can also have letters up high or down low and students have to stand up or sit down.  Move the letters around etc.  I know that some students will just follow the others but that is OK for a short activity.  It is important for students to move around to re-energize them.
- use mini whiteboards (if possible) and students can practise writing the letter 'x' number of times and hold up their boards.  Or have them write the letter as many times as they can while you count down.  The winner can be the student with the most (or to make it more fair to the slower/neater writers - you can spin a spinner (roll a dice, pull a number out of a bag) and who-ever wrote it that number of times is a winner.  Make it fun and not based entirely on effort.
- King and slave game - one person is the king and the other is the slave (rock, scissors, paper - or pull out roles (using pictures) from a bag - or toss a coin).  The king says a letter and shows 1-5 on the fingers of one hand.  The slave must say the letter and sound that number of times, or write it that number of times, and/or do any actions for it that number of times (I use Jolly Phonics system for teaching phonics and it has actions for each letter and sound).
- Guessing games where one letter is secretly written on a board and students have to guess what it is.  Raising hands and taking turns. The winner becomes the next teacher and comes to the front to choose a letter (or sound (blend/diagraph etc you are learning) or word)
- alphabet and phonics chants/songs are good to break up the intensity of the learning. 
- If you can use the internet - games from 'ESLintheROK' has some simple games that are easy to customize.  Students in my afterschool class really enjoyed them and the time went fast.  I used letters, simple words, sentences.  It is very flexible.
Good luck


Re: First Time Teacher and Phonics
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2023, 01:50:05 pm »
You're a good person for posting these ideas Jennifer. I doubt the OP will be back, but other people will benefit from your suggestions. Also gave me a couple of extra activities...thanks!


Re: First Time Teacher and Phonics
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2023, 08:01:32 am »
While I don't have experience teaching young learners in Korea (only taught middle school here), I had some experience back home assisting with young learners and phonics at an immigration/ refugee learning center's daycare program back home.
Some things that I've learned from that experience is that young learners have very short attention spans, and they need to be physically active running, picking things up, competing  against their friends, and basically engaged in their learning process in a fun way. Small kids can't sit still for very long and don't have the ability to focus on writing / reading tasks the way that older students can (even in middle school there are many that will still goof off/ lose their attention.)

This is what I would suggest for the lower level classes:

(Learning phonics/ words):
- (Check to make sure the students can first distinguish between the different phonics/ sounds)- Activity:
After teaching the students a few of the sounds (using a fun you-tube video with a song would be a good way to teach those), have a simple flashcards (fly swatter game). Put up flash cards or just write the letters/words you're teaching them to hear/ read on the board, divide the students into two teams girls vs boys. Have Have two students (one girl and one boy) come to the front at a time, say the letter sound or the word, and let the students hit the word with their hands or if your school has  actual fly swatters with longer handle, it's ever better. The fastest student that hit the right letter/ word gets a point for their team. The team with the most points gets stickers or stamps on their reward card or towards a class reward system that you're already using in their regular classes.

(Reading Classes):
-Again, there is not way for you not to read to them... this is terrible advice, they need to hear it and then repeat. For the reading, choose easy easy easy books, pre-teach the words and phrases. Make he reading experience fun, maybe read to them / get them to read in different voices like using a loud voice, whisper/ robot voice.. and then you'll need to have them practice the words and vocabulary through a reading game like "last one standing" or "baskin robbins 31" ... you can find the templates to these game on this site. Students read the words one by one in the story and teacher clicks on the words, it will reveal whether that student continues in the game or is out (has to sit down) until the last one standing is the winner or their team.

I think as long as you do the presentation (teaching part), and get the students to practice (through a fun game) the classes will go smoothly! The only problem that I have with NETs teaching young learners is what you mentioned above "students do not understand simple directions." I think that the Korea co-teachers or even if the school could recruit some of the student teacher's from universities to co-teach after school classes with a NET would make it so much more beneficial for the students. Young learners need those simple rules, directions, and structure to help them as children need to have a routine. If you haven't already done so. maybe ask a Korean Co-teacher to make chart with simple directions for students with the English and Korean for students to follow, and when you say something, they can look at the chart, understand, and follow along!