7: The ground with a thump!

Starting any new job is difficult for the first few weeks, especially a specialised job such as EFL teaching. This is magnified when you realise that every single member of staff is at least 2 or 3 years older than you, so not only do you have the least teaching experience but also the least life experience! Imagine then if you will, the scene of my introduction. It was a staff meeting; all teachers employed at the SCB branch of King's were gathered to discuss a variety of topics. Just as the Assistant Director of Studies turns to introduce me to everyone, with perfect comic timing I slip from my wheeled chair sending it crashing across the room, me, left in a heap on the ground, sore and more than a little embarrassed. I’m not sure whether the highly amused grins flashing wildly across the room were any better than actually being laughed at to my face would have been!

Embarrassing introductions aside, the first couple of weeks working at King's College have gone (relatively) to plan without any major disasters to speak of. I am really enjoying walking into a classroom and delivering a lesson, however, a 2 hour lesson seems to take at about 3 hours to plan! Surely that can’t be right?! Is it because I am putting too much effort into each lesson? Or because I am worried that I am in fact only masquerading as a teacher, and am not actually qualified and/or able!? The situation is so surreal (2 months ago I was eating fish and chips without giving a thought for Thailand or EFL teaching) sometimes I fear it is the latter, I am however confidently assured by senior teachers that the planning will get easier only with practice, and of course with that magic word, experience.

Since that fateful first day, I have had an amazing amount of support and help from my teaching colleagues. I sometimes get caught up with finding the exact rule and solution to a minor teaching point; I explain something and then think, “what if that’s wrong!” Most of the time what I told the student has proved correct. This is perhaps the most valuable advice one can receive this early into EFL teaching, to relax in the classroom and have confidence in what you are teaching, this seems to make life much easier not only for you as teacher but also from the students point of view.

Dan

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