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drummer

Teaching In A Gov't School

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I'll be teaching 8 year olds, it seems. Any advice? Anyone know what I should wear? This will be my first classroom teaching experience. (almost - I've co-taught some band classes before)

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Make clear rules about everything, and stick to them like glue for at least a few weeks. Failure to establish good classroom management with kids now, will cause you lots of grief until you do. Don't be fooled by the honeymoon period from the kids, take advantage of it and build on it for the future :D

Kids are a big challenge for most teachers, and it seems you're being tossed to the wolves, to sink or swim....

Swim. :D

Oh, and wear clothing that allows you to bend over without seams splitting, or showing any cracks. Kids love that kind of stuff. :o

Edited by Ajarn

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Primary kids are generally easier to deal with than high school kids. They are usually less aggressive/defiant and will be more likely to do what you tell them to do. I once taught teenagers in a government school and they were a nightmare! Although primary kids are a bit easier I think (regardless of what type of school) you should still be prepared. As Ajarn said, lay down the law and stick to it. Better to be tough on them in the beginning and gradually lighten up (provided they turn out to be a good class) than to be easy on them and try to gain control later.

The government school with those awful teenagers was my first teaching job. I had very little idea of what I was up against other than the classes being very large (50+ students is VERY common). I went in there and was real easy on them; trying to converse, joking around, etc. Knowing what I know now I would NOT have gone that route. Once those kids saw me as an easy-going guy I paid dearly for it. I was able to eventually gain some control but it was an uphill battle all the way. The number of kids in the room plus the heat (most government schools have no AC in the classrooms) didn't help either.

Other than the advice given above and by Ajarn, always remember this: With such large numbers in the classroom there is not a whole lot you can accomplish with them. The schools usually know this so they will not expect a lot from you like they would if you worked for a private or international school. English Conversation is best done with small groups (15 or less). Do whatever you need to do in order to establish control. Once this is done, as long as you at least look like you're doing a good job, the rest will be easy. Good luck!

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heh - my mate has 12 years olds ... he's in th same situation as me- we both start tomorrow morning.

Incidentally, I still haven't seen the book I'll be teaching from ....

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I just started teaching M1-3 after one year at a university. They don't understand shit! But my Thai vocab is as good as theirs are and there are Thai teachers that come in and hit them with sticks if they misbehave.

be really slow when talking and teaching. very slow.

and to drummer, don't expect any teaching material. and if you do get material, it won't be good. it will be too advanced or written by a Thai with errors all over the place. You gotta come up with your own stuff.

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There IS teaching mterial... I will get my hands on it in a few hours.

But do you have any recomended lesson plans? How should I go about making them? What should I do on my first day? (I have five 1 hour classes)

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have you seen this material?

on the first day I did some "What's your name?" questions, both personally and get two students to stand. It wasn't always successful but it's better than jumping into a lesson on the first day.

Don't budge to their shyness. Stay on the particular student(s) until they answer the questions or do the assignment. You will be tested. For me all I think is, "This is what I have to do to be in Thialand." Nothing phases me after that.

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Drummer, if you're still asking questions like these when you've already been hired, perhaps you shouldn't really be teaching there- unless they're paying less than 30K, in which case they deserve anything they get. Have you at least had a TEFL course?

I'd suggest you get busy and start reading all the topics in this forum, and/or take a TEFL course, and/or buy some books related to TEFL teaching from one of the many fine bookstores here in Bangkok.

Standard first day lessons usually include a simple self-introduction and a VERY simple (easily understood by 8-year olds when modelled without using their language) icebreaker type game. You don't give us any more details about your students (level of fluency, background) probably because you don't have this information yourself- *hint*- get this information. If you're working from no fluency at all, it's probably best to start with VERY simple vocabulary and greeting games, with as many pictures and flash cards involved as possible- for example, chorus the pronunciation of some related groups of words (like names of fruits or sports or classroom/school furniture/supplies) then show a picture of the sport and say a sport name (sometimes right, sometimes wrong)- the students who think it's the right name should stand up or raise their hands or something else physically active to burn off some of that eight year old energy. Otherwise the kinds of activities you can do should be related to the fluency and skill level of the students.

I'd also advise you to search for as many ESL sites as you can for activities and games and so forth. Eight year olds are hard to entertain, and after an initial period of shyness you'll probably wish they'd remained shy!

"Steven"

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They are paying less than 30K. I was hired this weekend. I have some experience teaching 8 year olds, even small groups of 4. But not 50....

incidentally, my favorite method of disciplining is push-ups. i've found that to work well in individual lessons and even beter with small groups, but i dunno about Thai classes.

What kind of disciplining should I be thinking about? Send them to the principals office? Put them in corner with a Dunce hat on? Smack him with a ruler? Hang them upside down with thumb screws while a gnarled old man gets his 'tools' ready?

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Discipline methods vary from school to school. Watch what the Thai teachers do, and try to follow their lead (except for the corporal punishment, which they're not supposed to do, technically, but they will).

How hard they are to control depends partly on how/if the Thais control them. There's a reason why many schools have high turnover. Without classroom management skills, you may be in for a rough ride. The above advice to be supertough on them for the first few weeks is probably the best for you to follow. Expect to shout a lot.

"Steven"

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They are paying less than 30K.  I was hired this weekend.  I have some experience teaching 8 year olds, even small groups of 4.  But not 50....

incidentally, my favorite method of disciplining is push-ups. i've found that to work well in individual lessons and even beter with small groups,  but i dunno about Thai classes.

What kind of disciplining should I be thinking about? Send them to the principals office?  Put them in corner with a Dunce hat on? Smack him with a ruler?  Hang them upside down with thumb screws while a gnarled old man gets his 'tools' ready?

Instead of seeking torture devices, try some praise when they do what you want. But always give clear and reasoned feedback, good or bad. Just like training a dog, frankly. Consistency is the key. :D

That's the first step.

In fact, after reading your posts again, maybe it's better if you don't do any discipline at all. Get a Thai teacher involved. You sound so clueless that you'll likely get everybody pissed at you if you try any of your ideas. :o

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Eight year olds are hard to entertain, and after an initial period of shyness you'll probably wish they'd remained shy!

Drummer, What was said regarding eight year olds is right. Eight year olds are tough to entertain (I've taught that age group a little) but I teach Kindergarten 3 which is mainly five year olds...talk about getting bored quickly. Those little guys have attention spans about as long as your pinky!

Since you're just starting off, it's always good to teach/enforce how you want them to greet/address you. In most Thai government schools, when the teacher enters the class leader will say something like, "Please stand up." They will all stand and say, "Good morning teacher." They will often wai at the same time. They are supposed to continue standing until you respond and instruct them to take their seats. Being that you're a foreign teacher, the kiddies may feel they can skip the "Good morning teacher" intro so make sure they do it for you as they would for the Thai teacher unless you don't want them to. I have my K3 kids practice saying that phrase when I enter the classroom for the first lesson of the day. For every class after that I have them say, "Hello teacher." I don't make them stand up and wai me but they must all turn, face me and greet me appropriately. I practice this by stepping outside, waiting ten seconds then re-entering the classroom. I do this until I'm satisified that every student has done it right.

Physical exercise: Here's an important thing that many of today's children don't get enough of. Every morning I give my K3 kids some exercises which I lead. These consist of sitting down/standing up fast, jumping jacks, balancing on one foot while saying the alphabet, touching the toes and stretching. Most kids love physical activity, particularly the younger ones. Although yours are about 8 or 9, they will enjoy any kind of physical activity; especially where they get to shout out some English phrases. You can throw in anything English related you like. An example of this is having all the kids hop on one foot while you ask "What is my name?" When they answer correctly, have them switch feet and ask them again. Perhaps this will help them remember what you've taught more easily than just teaching it from the board as they will have learned it while having fun.

When they do a good job, praise them. If they don't do a good job, have them repeat the activity until you're satisfied. I teach my students how to ask politely if they may go to the toilet. If they don't ask properly, I simply try again (helping if necessary) till they say it right before I let them go. They are only five years old so I wouldn't keep them too long to avoid any "accidents". :o

Learn what you can from other teachers, take a TEFL type course if you have the time as they are helpful, don't let the management jerk you around and most importantly don't stress yourself out too much on the job. Good luck!

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drummer, you're going to need a lot of help, and it'll be a blessing if the Thai staff helps you. Keep reading this forum and other similar ones. DON'T BE TOO SERIOUS. This is a comedy routine entitled "Mai bpen rai" and you're not allowed to lose your temper. Smile, always. It's a make-believe fairy tale. Except to get discipline, nothing's serious. You're not going to change the world, but eventually, you and the students might enjoy your time together.

If it were serious education, you'd have to have a B.Ed. or its equivalent, and they'd have to pay you 80,000 baht/month plus benefits. And, you wouldn't be in Tie-Land. Remember to wear a tie.

Edited by PeaceBlondie

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Lesson plans.. some good references are at Chula Bookstore in BKK.. that is a good start... You'll find your grade level there.

Most important.. LOOK and LEARN... Listen to the advice of those SAGE Thai teachers.. You will see... AND... prime that creative streak in you..

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Well, my first day has come and gone - I taught 5 1 hour P4 classes today.

It was actually a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I actually have *some* related college course work in linguistics, and this helped.

I really had no idea what I was going to do, but wasn't particularly nervous past the first 2 minutes of the first class. I found out the P4 have virtually no english experience at all.

I did the numbers today - it was a lot of fun. Everyone knew 1-10. I wrote up 1-10 on the board and everyone shouted out the number on command - but then I wrote '11' on the board and usually only 1 or 2 kids said anything then ... So I wrote up 11-20 and went through them - then regrouped them into 11-12, and 13,15 and 14, 16-19 and explained what the rule was. Then I really had fun looking at the open jaw when I wrote '0' on the board and asked what it was .... :o (explaining how the 'v' in 'five' turnes into an 'f' in 'fif' was a real croud pleaser- also when I explained th difference between 'z' in zero was different from 's')

Then I went through the 20, 30...90 and 100. Got through 999 with each class - at least - one class apparantly had a good teacher before as I had about 10+ minutes in the thousands. (i'd write out

(____ thousand ___ hundred ___ty _____ )

on the board and have them fill in the numbers, adding 'hundred' or 'thousand' as we progressed)

I have P5 tomorrow, but I kind of expect to go through 'hello. my name is, what is your name' and the numbers again tomorrow.

The workbooks they gave me were no help at all, btw. But tthe kids only have 1 class a week, and then I teach the same material 5 times in a row, so preperation won't be too hard. (basically one class a day)

Re: discipline - they have a Thai teacher ostensibly to help, but really just sits in the back reading something and doesn't really do anything. My mate, teaching 13 year olds has a teaching assistant, too. His kids are deathly afraid of her, though - and make no noise when she is in the room .. which apparantly wasn't that often today. Mine took quite a few breaks, too. She didn't really do a whole lot to make the kids behave. ITs kinda tough for me to tell whos talking, though, as you can hear people talking just outisde the room in any given direction, though. I did no shouting, and never felt like it.

I certainly noticed the attention span... some kids were really bright, though. And some baiscally slept through / talked through class.

Overall, it was a fun day, although the commute is so long I don't know if I'll make it to next week (I live on Ramkhamhaeng, the job is in Samut Prakan) I wouldn't otherwise consider it, but my boss at ECC Samut Prakan seems to be a really super cool, very nice person, and we'd like to help her out.... but still....

BTW .... they explicitly said no ties necessary, and not to wear long sleeved shirts. (although buttoned and collared is still req.)

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