First Lesson Idea for New Teachers in Korea

I get a lot of questions regarding lesson planning.  A lot of hopeful ESL teachers wonder what direction they should take regarding their lessons and how to go about making them.  There is really no absolute answer for this.

What it really boils down to is the direction each teacher receives from the English department of the school they are assigned to.  Some schools prefer teachers make structured plans based on the textbooks and the lessons contained within.  Others may ask to have lessons based loosely on the textbook.  Others will just ask to have random activities brought to class with no real connection to the text.  The only way to know this is to actually be in your school.

Unfortunately, you can’t get an answer until you’re actually here in person.  I know this isn’t necessarily the answer that most are hoping for, but it is probably the fairest.  In any event, I recommend not even worrying about it until you arrive and find out what your co-teachers are looking for.  In the meantime, however, there is something that all teachers can prepare for that I believe will be acceptable to essentially all schools across the board.

A presentation introducing everyone to yourself.

I think Austin Powers put it best when he said, “Allow myself to introduce…myself”.

When you arrive at your new school, no matter what country that may be in, you’ll be a new face.  Not only that, but a foreign face.  In many ways we’re all novelties to the teaching staff.  Most really want to get to know you, mingle with you, try out some English, find out what sports teams you like, your marriage status…blood type.  That kind of stuff!

Putting together a presentation for all your new students and co-teachers alike will help break the ice and serve as a huge entertainment piece for them all.  They want to know about YOU.  So, tell them.

I allow myself to introduce myself each semester, and I’ve been at the same school for 2 years.  There will always be new students coming in, and many of your current students will have forgotten about your details since the last time.  While others could care less, quite frankly.

Each time, I learn what worked and what put them to sleep.  I build a decent-sized PowerPoint presentation with many pictures and details about me and my life.  Things like the following:

  • Your name
  • What country you’re from
  • Where you went to school
  • What you favorite sports or activities are
  • Your favorite foods back home
  • Your favorite Korean foods
  • Favorite music is a must have
  • If you know something about K-Pop, you’re in like Flynn!

This is also a good time to introduce any rules and classroom procedures that you may want to implement.  The atmosphere will be light and will allow you to explain some expectations in a non-threatening way.  You can also practice some of them while you’re at it.

Since teachers generally get students once per week, this will give you a one week buffer to find out what your co-teachers are looking for when things get into gear.  It also buys you time to go online to find a pre-made lesson or activity to fits the needs – or just make one yourself.

In any case, an introductory presentation will be well-served and also fun to do.  You’ll be surprised at the reactions you get and the questions that will inevitably come your way.

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