Teaching a Big Classroom, TEFL in Madrid Tips
You’ve passed your TEFL course with flying colors, got a job at a reputable institute and are well on your way to a great career. So with all dreams and unbridled joy swirling within, you enter the classroom on your first day to find some 50 students staring at you and waiting for your every move.
Anxiety, stage fright, mismanagement, loss of control. Everything slams at you head on and your whole fantasy starts to break down as you slowly come to believe that you’re just not fit for this job.
Whoa! Hold your horses for a minute there. Sure, an onslaught of a large student group and the need to to have a big classroom can be overwhelming but surely that doesn’t signify the end of the road, no matter how inexperienced or inadequate you feel.
See it’s all matter of perspective. A class of 10 students might feel large to some teachers while others can breeze through with 50 students. But seeing that most English classes hold 20-40 students on average, it’s unlikely that you can go far without developing your skills to address a large number of students. The good thing is you CAN develop these skills and quite easily at that. All you need is a little guidance and determination to push through.
Classroom management is not just a single axiom but a variety of ideas that coagulate through internal and external factors.
These are ways you can arrange and set out a classroom that helps in making your job easier such as
• Structure the classroom in a way that fosters collaboration and spacious enough to not stifle anyone
• Keep it clean, clutter free and devoid of unnecessary items
• Keep classroom materials in a nearby storage unit, so as to facilitate easy and organized transfer
• Delegate tasks and management to students themselves. Let the students form teams and take responsibility
These deal with you as a teacher and how you go about your job.
• Creating an ambience that stimulates students and lets them explore their individuality, bringing out their personality
• Finding out the background of your students, their skill levels and goals, so as to not be bogged down by the one size fits all approach
• Not being aloof, but more approachable and open to sharing your experiences, both good and bad
• creating progress reports for each student that not only tracks their progress but also serves as a motivator
• Making students accountable for their behaviour and letting them develop as leaders
• facilitate a collaborative environment where students help each other rather than seeing one another as competition
• Teaching is not a solo instructional vocation but a partnership where students have to be actively involved and “want to learn “.
• Don’t just prepare them for exams or stress on attendance. Rather make the classes interesting enough that students want to come and sit. Remember that students will need their English language skills for their daily life, so a focus on life skills and day to say usage will be far more useful than strict generic literary skills.
• Don’t just give lectures but encourage questions, logical and critical thinking, problem solving, group learning, role plays, conversational techniques, etc.
• Let each student take a seminar and conduct projects
•Encourage honest feedback, which will only aid you as you become more entrenched into the teaching profession
• Maintain eye contact with all the students and keep moving around, directing your lessons to everybody