Hello to everyone on the forum!
Just a question that's been bugging me today. I was observed earlier, and my feedback was all good, apart from that relating to 'atmosphere'.
I teach adults in Shanghai, often in very small classes of 1 to 4 students, in addition to a few larger classes. I have two and a half years experience now, but most of my previous experience was teaching children.
Anyway... I was observed teaching just one other student today, and afterwards the observer said I came across as a little cold and too much like 'an Oxford professor'. This is the third time I've had feedback criticising the atmosphere in these small classes. Another time a teacher said I needed to treat students more as customers and not students, but I find it quite hard to get my head around that one. I tried really hard to engage with the student, laugh, smile, make eye contact, and ask interested questions about their life, but they still seemed quite nervous throughout the whole lesson, something I've noticed about a few of my students.
I really would welcome some ideas about where I might be going wrong, and what I can do to improve the atmosphere in the class. I wonder whether this might be a hangover from teaching kids, a cultural issue (I'm the only British teacher in the school) or an age issue (I'm 24 and most of my students are older). Or something else?
Any help would be most appreciated!