Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sandy's TEFL Tips...

There are literally dozens of good blogs out there offering a wide range of useful tips for the devoted Tefler. Unfortunately, this blog isn't one of them. All the advice I can offer has been sieved through the bitter experience of utter classroom failure, and then discharged through a veritable gusher of untamable caustic sarcasm. As a result, I would like to present, for your greater edification ... Sandy's TEFL Tips!

You should always remember that you, dear EFL teacher, are a dedicated and deranged professional, and as such you will be expected to remember a large amount of pointless crap while you are in the classroom. So, here are a few of Sandy's really useful and unique ideas to help you make the most of your teaching...

Dos

● Act like a teacher. Acting is important, otherwise the students will realise you're a total prat, an alcoholic, or just plain mad. So, learn to act like a professional - you might just pull it off!

● Make your classes interesting - even if you aren't. By preparing a wide variety of activities and games, your students won't cotton on to the fact that you are as dull as ditchwater, and, more importantly, know absolutely nothing about English grammar and syntax at all!

● Be consistent with the rules. It's very bad form to play favourites, so just make sure you treat all of your students equally badly. Give them the contempt they deserve!

● Plan your lessons ahead of time - and recycle them endlessly. Winging it doesn’t always work, especially with an enormous hangover, so you should have exactly what you need at hand, before you enter the classroom.

● Make sure the topic is appropriate. Both men and women are keen on sex, so talk about it endlessly. But remember - some issues that are acceptable at home could be taboo abroad, so start telling them their culture is primitive and backwards, and enjoy rubbing their noses in it.

● Speak clearly and loudly. Even better, shout, stamp your feet, and throw things at them if they don't give you their constant attention.

● Tell the students why you want them to do something - even if you have no idea why. They probably won't understand you anyway, but they'll think you really know your stuff.

● Expect the unexpected. Maybe you planned an activity for ten students and only five showed up? Always have a back-up plan - like adjourning to the pub, or having a joint-rolling contest. See who can balance a tumbler full of vodka on their nose for the longest!

● Keep an open mind. Some countries have laid-back ideas about timing, so you can roll in 15 minutes late and nobody makes a fuss. Students may show up even later, so use their appearance to crack jokes about where they might've been. Nobody will understand your attempts at humour, and the whole class will think you're a real card.

● Ask your students for feedback - then forget it. Most times they will be honest and tell you if they liked or didn’t like the activities you planned. Take their feedback forms with you when you visit the toilet, and make sure they see you doing so - and returning empty-handed.

● Respect their suggestions for things that you can do as a class. Then just tell them that YOU are the boss, with that expensive Tefl certificate on the wall, and they really shouldn't poke their nose into matters of pedagogical procedure. But nicely...

● Adapt your teaching style. Some students like to think things over and have everything perfect before speaking - so quietly ignore them. Others want to shout out the answer as soon as they know it - so tell them to shut up. After all, you ARE the boss!

● Bring realia into the classroom. Porno pictures from magazines, explicit photos of former boy/girlfriends, empty bottles of vodka - these are real objects that can make lessons come alive.

Don’ts

● Wear your weekend clothes to class. The students don't want to know that you're a transvestite or into lycra-bondage. Piercings and tattoos should be covered up, especially the ones on your buttocks, stomach, breasts and nipples, etc.

● Dumb students down - they're probably dumb enough already. Just because one can’t answer a question, it doesn’t mean he doesn't know - he might just be too thick to understand. So ask a different question, or see if someone else can help the student - then laugh at him.

● Embarrass your students ... too often. Ritual humiliation soon becomes demotivating, so just keep it for that special occasion.

For an alternative version of the above advice, you could try the following link...

http://www.eltworld.net/times/2009/06/general-tips-for-teaching-english/#

4 comments:

Mr Crocker said...

Sandy, I'm disappointed. There's no mention of the physical and psychological torture that is part of my daily teaching experience. I really don't think you're half as professional as you should be!

TEFL makes me feel like a secret agent. said...

These are all very true, very important do's and don'ts. Perhaps you could design your own teacher training course based on these tips? Teachers would be better pepared than what they get at most 'reputable' teacher training courses!

The most important you mentioned I think is recycling lessons. There is no need to be completely original for every class. If you have developed an engaging and constructive lesson plan that people enjoy use that bastard over and over again...

I have a few that have literally earned me hundreds of dollars.

pete thompson said...

What appalling puerile rubbish

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Thanbks for the compliment, Pete. I really appreciate it!