I really feel sorry for all the new teachers that will be getting into the country now. Many agencies specialize nowadays in getting fresh bodies over here and into the training centers. Teach Abroad offers abound all over the place when you type “Teach English” into Google.
And when most of those poor saps sign up for bad contracts, get thrown into a packed classroom with minimal, if any, training, and then don’t know what in the Sam Hill to do, well, it just breaks my heart.
The good news is that none of the students want to be there. Well, is that really good news? Have you ever had a class full of students that don’t want to be there? I have, and it ain’t pretty, let me tell you.
I’m very thankful now that I don’t have to work in a public school and that I can work in a training center. Sure, they might make me work longer hours on the weekends, but at least I only have about 10-15 kids in a class. That’s not too bad at all.
First Week ESL Strategies
So, to get back to what you can do in the classroom the first week back, let’s take a look at some things.
- Handouts: You’ve got to have a lot of handouts your first week back. Give them some easy word searches at puzzlemaker.com, or even a crossword puzzle. Remember, if you can save it, you can use it again.
- Group Work: Put them together. When they are talking to each other, even if it’s in Chinese a bit (or all the time, really) at least they’re out of your hair for a few minutes. Savor it that first week back.
- Posters: This standard fall-back for all ESL teachers teaching English in China is great. If you’ve got a stack of magazines, even better. I love magazine stories, especially when they can cut out whatever they want.
- Newspaper: I love this simple and easy project. Design an ad on the first day, an article on the second. Do a group or pair article on the third day, or even better, an interview. On day four you can start putting the newspaper together onto your larger paper with this cool template. On day five you can present, which means you do nothing, really. I love newspapers!
That should give you a few pointers your first week back after Chinese New Year, or any holiday, for that matter.
If you’re looking for some other great ESL ideas for your first week back, or sadly, your first week here, take a look at these:
About.com Guide to Teaching English
ESL Partyland Article on Teaching Strategies