That can make teaching VIPs something that people dread as opposed to look forward to. I have to admit that I’m not crazy about VIPs myself, but it’s part of my job to teach them, and I kind of feel bad about how much their parents are paying (even though many of those parents are making a LOT more money than me!).
English Worksheets To Break the Ice
Whenever I have a new VIP, and many times when I have a returning or weekly one as well, I’ll use an easy intro worksheet or handout. This is a good way to get them to start writing something out, and it makes those awkward first moments go away. It will also give you an idea of what they can write.
First Class Handout
But how about what they can say? Well, have them read the handout. I always do my First Class HO with new students, and I have many variations on it for students I’ve seen for some time.
I got the idea from what I consider to be less worthwhile handouts, but ones that still have a few uses. You can find an example of one of those here:
Crazy Questions ESL Handout
Another great idea is to make gap-fill or multiple choice handouts. You can see a few examples of these here:
Still, I think these are also a little boring, and you know what, my students have felt the same way over the years whenever I pull these papers out of my folder. Like many ESL sites out there, the two above have some good ideas, but that’s about it. You need to take those ideas, or those handouts if you will, and change them. Make them your own. Make them better. Make them so your students will like them and perhaps even get a laugh out of them.
Here’s an example of a handout I made from the previous example. I call this Crazy Questions HO and many students laugh, or at least smile, when they hear some of the silly questions.
Breaking the ice with a new VIP, or one that has been coming so long that they are bored stiff, is critical to getting them to open up and contribute to your class. The last thing you want is for your VIP to clam up on you. What are you going to do for an hour? Watch movies? Well, maybe that wouldn’t be so bad.