Charlen McNeil: 5 Things You Need To Know About Teaching in China

  1. Be patient!!!!
  • Remember that no matter what age group you have, English is their second language. No, they don’t understand you and no, they shouldn’t be expected to understand you. You are here to teach them. Just because they can say “Hi, how are you? My name is {insert Chinese name followed by a made-up American name}.  What is your name?” DOES NOT mean that they know English. This was very hard for me to understand when I started teaching. Although I had six year olds, they had basic conversation down pat. But, as soon as you ask a follow up question, their eyes grow wide and the language barrier goes up.

2. Learn Some Chinese!!!!

  • This makes the class warm up to you. They will see that not only are you teaching them your language, you are learning theirs as well. This will make this classroom a place of exchange. Recently, my co-worker/classmate Tremayne and I started using what we learned in our classroom, and our students grew more and more excited the more words we used. Our Chinese vocabulary began to grow as we practiced on our students to make sure we were saying the words correctly. This gives our students some power to teach us as well.

3. Play games!!!

  • If you think back to when you were first learning English, you will recall that most of your time was not spent sitting and looking at books. You learned by playing games and singing songs. It is the same with ESL students. No matter what age you are teaching, teach as if you are teaching preschool kids for the first time. It is appropriate to sing nursery rhymes and practice shapes and colors, because that what they need to know.
  • Keep in mind that if you do have an older class, such as high school students or adults, you can add pop songs to your play list. Also, a lot of older students want to learn conversational English; teach them how to order food, go to the doctor, and about American culture.

4. Actually make a lesson plan!!!

  • Although it might seem like the most boring thing in the world, trust me it helps. Having a study guide helps you not lose track of the class and what you need to be teaching. It also helps your supervisor know what you are going to be teaching so that he or she can help you. Something else that is helpful: over-plan your lessons.  Have a lot of games and songs in your lesson plan and, if you don’t get to them all it is okay. However, you do not want to be stuck with twenty minutes left of class time with nothing to do. Lastly, have a ‘go to’ game. For my class, it’s “Duck, Duck, Goose” or “Dance and Freeze.” If we do have some time after the lesson is over, we have something to do that we know the students will like.

5. Have fun!!!

  • Please have as much fun as you can while teaching. Remember that you are there to make a lasting impact on people, but also to enjoy yourself. When you build bonds with your students and show that learning can be fun, you will see that teaching is even better!  Happy Teaching!!!!
This entry was posted in Charlen McNeil: Spring 2015, g-MEO Student Blogs and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.