Test Scores are Low: Students often score very badly on tests. I remember some classes of really young learners that were getting 30% on their tests. I attributed this mainly to lack of studying and bad classroom behavior/not paying attention.
Girls are Better than Boys: I always found girls to be better ESL students than boys. They studied more and disrupted class less often.
Students Think Notes Equal Learning: You see a lot of students take notes, but then if you ask them a question that week or later, they don’t know the answer. Just because you take notes, it doesn’t mean you’re going to learn English.
Drilling Works: Saying the same word over and over and having your students say it over and over actually works. They remember that word.
Discipline Sucks, but Works: I don’t like making kids stay 10 minutes after class to write out lines, but I don’t like that kid walking all over me for months at a time, either. Eventually you choose which you like more and take that approach.
Parents are Often Hopeless: Many times a parent is a student’s worst enemy. They’ll overlook a lack of studying and throw money at a problem. Usually they’re surprised when they’re child hasn’t made much improvement in a year or more.
You’re Always Right: You’re the teacher and you need to be confident. If you’re not, students walk all over you. So don’t wonder what the answer is or question if you got that grammar point right – you did, now move one! Students don’t know the right answer, and second-guessing yourself helps no one.
Students Drop Everything: Just keep pencil cases in bags. If you don’t, they’ll hit the floor about half a million times in class. Students drop pencils all the time. They stand up out of their desk to get them. What can you do?
Students Do Learn English: Amazing as it sounds, ESL students actually do learn English. I know that seems odd when you have 20 to 50 students in a class, but they pick up words and figure out grammar and in a month or two they actually say something new and surprise you.
Those are 10 simple ESL observations I’ve made. Maybe you agree with some, maybe you don’t. Oh well. Either way, good luck teaching next week.