First day of teaching at Gloria English in Taiwan

Gloria English lesson plan

Yesterday was my first day of standing up in front of a class and running a lesson. All the previous classes I’ve been in I’ve just been observing, which is sitting quietly at the back watching how a class is run.

Nervous then not

The class I taught was a ‘sub’ class, which is where I’m the substitute teacher. Sub classes are quite common, because at Gloria you can take time off whenever you want. Teachers usually take a month or so off and travel around the country, so that means kids are used to every now and then getting a new teacher.

I’ve observed about 10 classes now, which is about 20 hours of observations, as each class runs for two hours. Now it was my turn to teach!

I’d made my lesson plan which was far too detailed, and I really just wanted to get in the class and get it over with. I think with things like this it is the waiting which is worse, once you’re in there you’re fine. And I held onto that.

I also sort of tricked myself by saying ‘hang on Dan, you’ve done this heaps, just walk in there and act like you’ve done it a million times before’. That seemed to calm the nerves a bit.

Teaching like a pro

When my class time came around I stood at the front and waited for the co-teacher, Jasmine, who is Taiwanese, to talk to the kids about something. Then the bell or ‘weird door-bell tune’ rang and everyone shut up and it was over to me.

I’m really glad I’ve had experience, as I sort of know what to do to make myself less menacing, the trick is to just be silly. The beginning interaction with the students was exactly like in Vietnam and it went like this, the kids were about 7-10 years old:

Me: Hello! How are you?
Students: (In a slow robotic voice) I’m fine thank you, and you?
Me: (Laughing to myself that they say the exact same thing in Taiwan) I’m fine thank you!
Me: My name is Dan, ok everyone stand up, put one hand up, put the other hand up, clap! (we all do one clap together).
Me: Ok hands down, one hand up, other hand up, clap (we clap). Ok I do, you do, ok?
Kids: Ok. (We all clap in time)
Me: Ok stop! Oh you’re all so good at that! Ok, now I say, you say, ok?
Kids: Ok.
(We all start clapping in time at a semi-quick pace)
Me: (In time with the claps) Duh-Duh-Dan
Kids: Duh-Duh-Dan
Me: Duuuh-DuhDuh-Dan
Kids: Duuuh-DuhDuh-Dan
Me: DuhDuhDuhDuh-Dan
Kids: DuhDuhDuhDuh-Dan
Me: DuhDuhDuh-Duh, Duuuuuh, DuhDuhDuh, DuhDuuuuuh… Duh Duh Dan! (all quick and random and out of time).
Kids: (lots of giggling and lots of Duhs, Duuuuhs, DuhDuh-Duh etc and random “Dan!”‘s at various times).
Me: Ok everyone sit down, do you know where I’m from? (draws a map of Australia on the board and a silly stick figure with glasses and a beard to represent me). It’s a biiiig country (arms stretched) bla bla bla and on with the lesson….

I call that game “crazy claps” and it always gets the same reaction from any younger age group, and I find it’s a good way to break the ice, get them energetic, remember my name, and know that I’m a silly teacher who they can have fun with.

Gloria English lesson plan

No real glitches

The class went fine, all two hours of it. The only thing that I had trouble was knowing timings, which you only get after knowing your class. I also had some issues with remembering what came next in the lesson, so I needed to check my lesson plan. It was my very first class with this company, so I know it’ll get easier as time goes on.

My co-teacher at the end said I did it fine, and she understood I’m not 100% familiar with how Gloria likes the lessons to run. Once I know this formula it’ll all be fine.

More classes coming up

I have more observations, and some more actual teaching coming up, including an advanced teenage class. Advanced classes are a double edge sword, because while it’s good to be able to have conversations, it’s a lot more work lesson planning, which totally sucks.

Luckily I’ve had experience teaching advance classes too, so hopefully that’ll come across in that class. I’ll just need to brush up on my advanced games: I don’t think crazy claps will cut it with 16 year olds!



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