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  • jbaile
  • Veteran

    • 80

    • August 03, 2011, 07:30:08 am
    • Ottawa
Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« on: August 30, 2011, 03:37:08 pm »
Any advice would be appreciated.
I just finished my first intorductory class.
It's 1st level all boys highschool.
the kids could not have cared less. they were smart allecky and misbehaved the whole time. My coteacher doesn't displine them though, espcially the two class clowns and she told me I should leave displining up to her. She just shows them movies and music videos all class. How am I going to survive a year of this and teach them anything?
Also I don't have a curriculum or anything to go by....

Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2011, 03:57:19 pm »
Hey, don't worry too much... It happened to me too when I first started teaching, but don't worry, it get's better...

In the short term, there are plenty of  ppts & worksheets on this site to make your classes work better... Remember , kid's are always interesting in flashy graphics, so anything like that that you can use in your classes should work wonders...

In the long term, just try and learn as much as possible about teaching... The good thing is that there are lot's of great teachers on this site, so it shouldn't be too hard to borrow a few ideas from them once in a while...

And as for the kids: my guess is that they're doing that to you because they think they can get away with it... And if the co-teacher isn't doing much, then there's only one thing to do...Take care of it yourself...The next time the class clowns start doing their act, I'd send them to the back...And if they were really disrespectful, I'd get them to do the punishment where they hold them in the air... Don't worry, your co-teacher won't do anything about it, judging from the sound of her...

I came here 5 years not knowing jack s**T about teaching, and now I'm pretty good at it...Just keep at it, and it should work out ...


  • bjinglee
  • Expert Waygook

    • 545

    • March 10, 2011, 10:29:48 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2011, 04:14:04 pm »
Did you set rules and guidelines at the beginning of class? Outline consequences for not following rules? 

Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2011, 07:15:40 pm »
Teach what you can while being mindful of the type of English classes they are used to. I'm sure that you can use YouTube, movies, and music videos in the classroom (what they are used to) while still introducing semblance of an English lesson that attentive students will gain something from.

  • acopel7
  • Veteran

    • 105

    • March 15, 2011, 09:22:05 pm
    • korea
Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2011, 08:54:53 pm »
I'm sorry it didn't go very well, but it will get better^^ I think the above posts gave good advice.

As far as a curriculum goes, you can try creating simple goals for the students by the end of the semester. Your students are probably low level. Setting up learning goals can make lesson planning easier and give your classes direction. Perhaps you can start with increasing confidence in speaking English (they must be unwilling, or very shy, to speak it), and learning basic terms of survival English. Aside from that, did your school give you any textbook or material to work with?

Ask your co-teacher if your class is part of their English grade. You should test your students to see if they fulfilled the goals you set for them in some way. You can also implement a system that rewards students that participate in class. In my classes, students get a stamp; many students are more than willing to raise their hand.

  • aplahey
  • Explorer

    • 8

    • August 28, 2011, 03:17:54 pm
    • Daejeon South Korea
Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2011, 04:55:57 am »
That is brilliant! I am in my first week of teaching and I am doing the introduction road show with  my high school  classes which range from very  low level to very advanced. The advanced are great...there are always jokers in every class...but two of my co-teachers are very good with discipline. One  isn't. I still have two more teachers to teach with this week.  I have one class of low-level that is very difficult so I am going to talk with the teacher again about discipline. THis si my first week and I will learn lots.

All the comments on this post are very helpful.

  • jbaile
  • Veteran

    • 80

    • August 03, 2011, 07:30:08 am
    • Ottawa
Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2011, 08:40:38 am »
Thanks for all the words of wisdom, lots of useful advise I will be sure to implement!

  • SRon
  • Adventurer

    • 53

    • August 31, 2011, 07:57:36 am
    • South Korea
Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2011, 08:47:06 am »
I am in the same boat as you, I thought my intro powerpoint was fairly entertaining... did not work so well in practice as in theory! My co-teacher thankfully is very involved however keeps speaking to the students in Korean throughout my lessons Grrrr!

I'm hoping day 2 is better :-X

  • flukeriffic
  • Veteran

    • 204

    • March 03, 2011, 10:39:44 am
    • Daegu, South Korea
Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2011, 09:48:14 am »
Hang in there! It should only get better.

Also, try using a reward system of sorts? I do stamp sheets (25 stamps) and students can earn stamps by participating, winning games, or even as classroom management (if everyone is quiet for the next two minutes, everyone will get a stamp). Usually it also helps to put like a halfway point in your stamp sheet where they can get a small prize, etc. It's worked really well for me!

  • Mlatte
  • Veteran

    • 226

    • December 20, 2010, 07:55:07 pm
    • Korea
Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2011, 10:09:52 am »
I feel for you.  I teach at a middle school level and a lot of students refuse to learn...I even had one student tell me that they liked the other teacher better.  The other day, I had a student say, "I don't care!".  Possibly try two things: 1. Try and find out who are the "leaders" or the dominant ones in class and get them on your side.  Have them start games, lead others into activities.  Therefore, it can help them to have the others quiet down.  2. Focus on the students who want to learn.  After time, I learned that it was the only way for me to stay sane and to feel better about teaching them.  All the best to you in your new adventure!   

  • Debong227
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • August 21, 2011, 05:44:17 pm
    • Seoul, south Korea
Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2011, 11:54:06 am »
I think it's best when you invest some time with your students.  Some of my kids come to my class during lunch and even though their english is limited, we have great conversations. And like everyone said, it'll get better soon [:

  • clee37
  • Explorer

    • 7

    • August 29, 2011, 08:59:28 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2011, 01:57:30 pm »
Sorry to hear about your bad experience... I'm nervous for my first lesson too.

Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2011, 03:11:02 pm »
You have to always remember not to take their actions personally.  I've always had at least one bad apple in my classes, and at times they changed as time went on.  It is important you treat all of them equally and lay your expectations out as clearly as possible.

  • jrwhite82
  • Super Waygook

    • 268

    • September 09, 2010, 04:29:15 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2011, 05:22:06 pm »
First step towards getting better is reflecting on what went wrong.

Organization is key: Make sure you have all your materials ready and you know where they are. 

Transitions: Plan how the students will move from one activity to the next.  Focus on minimizing confusion, wasted time, distractions.  For example, you might plan an activity where all the students will use white boards.  DO NOT give them the white boards and markers until you finished explaining the activity and have checked they understand it.  If you give them white boards their first instinct is to draw things all over it and ignore your instructions.

Giving instructions:  A lot of students might just not follow your instructions.  Use visuals to help them understand.  Explain the directions and have them written down on the board/projector.  Model what you want them to do before you do it.  Ask one or two students to repeat the instructions back to you.  If there is still confusion after that, have your coteacher translate it.

Technology:  Use it.  Video, Audio, Music, touch screen, "word clouds", .ppt, etc.  Just check it before your start to make sure its working.

Pacing:  Keep an eye on the clock, make sure you have enough time to present the lesson (something interesting to teenage boys - soccer, computer games, K-pop girl groups, soccer, funny videos), teach the material (what is the target sentence/vocabulary/grammar they should be learning, have the students practice it (interesting speaking/writing/listening activity) and then check to make sure they understand it. (exit question, exit card, team quiz,etc...)

Discipline - Outline your expectations before hand.  Explain the consequences.  Be clear.  Be consistent.  Be fair.  For example, in my class, I tell the students BE and they all yell QUIET and then shut up.  If someone talks, we do it again.  If someone talks again, then hands on their head.  If they do it again, everyone stands up.  If they do it again, then hands in the air.  It's never gotten farther than that.  If it does, I will have everyone sit down and the one person who screwed up again has to stand with his hands up for a minute or I'll move him to a seat in the back. 

Choices - This is so underestimated.  Give them a choice of what to do individually.  Let's say they have to write a paragraph.  Let them choose to write in pen, pencil, crayon, marker, whatever.  You want them to speak.  Let them choose the role and you take the other role.  The trick is this - make sure that whatever they choose is something you want them to do and it's something that they feel empowered by.  Don't use it as an ultimatum. For example, "Write the paragraph or stay after class."  That is not really giving them a choice.  It's not going to work.   Moving seats as a punishment - Avoid the power struggle by anticipating it.  I've gotten burned before.  I told a student to move his chair and he wouldn't move.  It was a big struggle and I wound up losing  because it took 5 minutes for him to move his chair.  It was ridiculous and he won.  Now what I do is this.  Give them a warning.  If they do it again, walk over and tell them if I say your name again you have to move.  You can sit over there, or over here.  (Both choices are somewhere you want them to sit.) Then I ask them, do you understand.  Then they say yes.  Then the next time they distract you or others.  Tell them, ok, I warned you, and you agreed.  Now choose your new seat.  They won't fight because they agreed and they still get a choice for their new seat. 

Problem students:  The "One Sentence Intervention"  Every time you see the student, say something you notice about him.  "Hey, you wear blue a lot."  "Your hair cut is very short."  "You always have a pencil."  Seek them out if you don't see them every day. They don't even need to be compliments.  The student will start to realize that you notice him.  And will act out less.  Usually they are acting out for attention. (But you're giving it them before they even need it, so you beat them to a punch).  Then what will happen a few days after you start this, is they will act out more a couple of times to test you.  They aren't used to having a teacher giving them individual attention in a positive/neutral way, so they are testing to see if you are doing it genuinely.  React calmly and consistently.  Just smile and tell him, My student's raise their hands when they want to speak." Turn around and don't say another word to him.  Then he will realize you are being genuine and you won him over.  (It doesn't work every time, but I've had a lot of success with this). 

That should be enough to get you started!  Good luck!!!
« Last Edit: August 31, 2011, 05:26:11 pm by jrwhite82 »

  • rorio82
  • Veteran

    • 111

    • March 02, 2011, 07:33:05 am
    • Korea
Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2011, 06:22:45 pm »
Hey welcome to Korea, and welcome to teaching high school. 

I too teach high school, and it can be a circus, but please remind yourself they're just teenagers, and they're doing only what is natural for their age (i.e. looking cool, not caring, trying to one-up each other).
To think you will have silence throughout your lesson is a bit unrealistic. 

This is what I do with my tech students.

of the 50 minutes I *teach* for about 15-20minutes.
I always give them a worksheet, simple, and direct.  Multiple choice, fill in the blank (with word bank included), crosswords, word searches, jumbles, all related to the topic we covered during the 15~20 mins
And of course the topic!  Believe it or not not having a curriculum is beneficial in many ways.  I would find it absolute hell if I were to be forced to teach my students from a book.

Since you are at an all boys school emphasize on the things that they are interested in.  Girls, Sports, Technology, Comedy, Movies, Fashion, Food, Music/Dance et al 

Use another 10-15 minutes going over the answers.  If you have one of those touch screen tv's have your students go up and give an answer to the worksheet.

With the remaining time let them keep it for themselves.  This may go against what many people may feel as appropriate, but it works for me, as the students are provided incentive to finish their worksheets and collectively provide the correct answers.

if you need any more help or advice jus pm me

last tidbit of info/advice: never get to high or too down in this job.  consistency is king

  • Wonju?
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • October 27, 2011, 08:04:44 am
    • Wonju, Gangwon
Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2011, 10:07:01 am »
I'm doing my first lesson next Monday. The students have seen me in the hallways and sometimes I observe the classes that my co teacher teaches, to get a feel of the co teacher's teaching style and how the students are. They find me quite fascinating, in terms of appearence, because I look Korean , but I'm actually Chinese and I'm also about as tall as them and look like I"m 16. Will the novelty wear off? Are there any ways I can use their interest in me to my advantage to help motivate them or interest them in learning English

  • Veteran

    • 169

    • June 03, 2011, 06:20:35 pm
    • KOREA
Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2011, 10:07:26 am »
cheer up and continue to do your best it will get better depending on your attitude to the situation at hand...we all had bad days before;but kept on doing what we had to do ...welcome to the ROK
do your best always!

  • fishead
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1138

    • April 23, 2010, 07:58:05 am
    • Yangju Korea
Re: Help! Just got eaten alive in my first lesson.
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2011, 10:33:58 am »
Planning is key. There's nothing like am easy to follow lesson that is fun and interesting.
I think you should use lots of music video's on youtube. Does you school have an internet connection with youtube. Whatever you do don't allow yourself to become  the school disc jockey. If they make requests tell them politely that you will consider their requests next class. Always prevue their requests and stay away from using anything  that might be too vulgar or sexual. I've had Middle school boys request  rap video's that were completely inappropriate.

First show the video have them fill in some kinda cloze activity. Make rules if they don't do the cloze activity you will turn off the video and you will make them work out of their standard English text book. Once one kid makes a paper airplane with the material come down on his like a ton of bricks. If you do nothing others will destroy damage and play with teaching materials.

 After you play the video you can find Kareoke videos. Karafuns is also a great Kareake site on EFL Classroom. After a while music video's will get a little stale. when it does try bomb games and or What happens next?" Video's. What happens next video's are funny video's on youtube where student spredict what will happen next. For the really low classes some of them have text and the students just pick one of the three.