That quote’s by William Arthur Ward, a great writer, and one of the most quoted, of inspirational sayings. The reason I use it, beside the fact that I found it on another site and liked it, is that it makes sense from what I see often see when teaching English in China.
Teaching ESL is difficult, let’s face it. Most of the time you’ve got young children running around screaming their heads off, children that just want to sit in a class for an hour without saying one damn word, and students that know everything and won’t let anyone else get a word in. Sometimes you’ll have all three types in one class. My, oh my, being an ESL teacher can be difficult!
But there are a few things you can do to make your goings that much easier.
- Know It: You’ve got your TEFL certificate, so don’t rely on your teacher’s book every time a student asks a question. In fact, get rid of your teacher’s book and get a student’s book. The whole reason that you’re teaching English Second Language classes in China is because you’re a foreigner, or at least a really decent English speaking Chinese person, and your employer just assumes you know the basics. And you do. And you know it. Do you really need to look in the book when you could just say the sentence out loud a few times, talk about it with your class, and come to a logical conclusion? I don’t think so.
- Prepare It: When I work, the first thing I do at the beginning of the week to get ready for the busy work weekend ahead, is print out everything I need. I then cut up all the paper that needs to be in smaller pieces, and believe me, there is a lot. That’s about 75% of the work. I don’t need to plan my lessons because I’ve already done it months or years ago and saved them in a file or on the computer to print out. Most of the time I don’t even look at a lesson plant anyway; I know what I’m doing. If you’ve got plenty of extra materials planned and prepared, the class will go quickly and smoothly.
- Do It: Don’t dilly-dally around when you’re teaching. Don’t’ waste time. Go from one activity to some bookwork to a game and then straight into another activity. If you keep moving and keep doing things, the ESL students won’t get bored, and that means they won’t misbehave. You want a class that’s fun, efficient, and enjoyable for all present, most importantly yourself.
Those are just three things that you can think about when you’re considering if it was a wise choice moving to the Middle Kingdom. I can’t say it will get better, but can it possibly get any worse? That’s probably not a good question, so I’ll leave you with another good quote from our friend William:
“Four steps to achievement: Plan purposefully. Prepare prayerfully. Proceed positively. Pursue persistently.”
Read Some More Great Quotes
Learn More about Being a Better ESL Teacher