Teaching abroad has its own set of unique challenges. You're far from home, away from the family and friends that make up your support network. Maybe you're not used to the culture yet and the shock is really getting to you.
But you can't afford to let that get to you because you have students depending on you for a quality English education. The first step in teaching is coming up with some great lesson plan ideas.
Along with your teaching abilities, they decide how productive the session is going to be. But if you're new to teaching abroad, or at all, they can be difficult to make.
Luckily you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time you make a lesson plan. Many agencies have standardized plans to use or want you to use. Teaching English as a second language is hard enough. So don't worry, like everything it gets easier with practice.
Big shocker, one of the best ways to learn a language is to hear it. Having a page to follow along with is a bonus to students, especially young ones. They need to hear someone fluent speak over and over and over to get the feel for English.
Choose an appropriate level book and read every day. For young students, you should just make sure they are able to follow along properly. Don't worry about making them read just yet.
Try to read a short story to them every week or day depending on their level. Choose one with lots of conversation so they can hear how exchanges in English occur.
Another way to let them hear English is through songs. Be careful when choosing music appropriate to age. Many students will want to listen to what's popular but the Top 40 can get raunchy.
Pick out words or phrases from the book or song you want to focus on and base your lesson on those. Younger students can use dictionaries to define words every day, but older students will need more intensive work that involves an actual understanding of the words.
Once you have students that are able to speak English your job gets trickier. On the one hand, you can speak with them more effectively, but now you have to go through their speech and pick out the little mistakes.
Make a plan that involves actual speaking in class. It's best to have them speak to you first so you can gauge their level of proficiency. When you have an idea of where they are you can group them based on that.
You want to focus on them speaking in a conversational tone since that is what they'd be using most of the time. Take points away every time they use "uhh" or the regional variation. Give them basic interaction templates like sports or movies.
Even though most of their communication should be verbal, they need to be able to effectively communicate through the written word. Emails and texts are as important to younger people nowadays as talking anyway.
You can use this as an opportunity to squeeze in some social media lessons as well.
Have them do a daily journal entry of at least 3 sentences and grade it at the end of the week.
It could be about anything from what they ate for breakfast to how they feel about a national news story. The important thing is that they are using English words in a casual form to express themselves.
You may be learning as much as the class when you're trying new lesson plan ideas. Nobody starts out knowing how to teach a lesson but it all comes with practice.
Check out our other articles for more ways to make things a bit easier for yourself.