Tips For Beginners

Hello. Today’s topic is serious, even solemn. But this article is not meant to be exhaustive. I am not an expert in methodology; the only thing I want to do is to start from some mistakes I made when I was a beginner teacher to give you some suggestions that might save you from unnecessary difficulties or blunders. I know that you and your audience may differ greatly, so I encourage you to complete this list by leaving a comment under the article. My advice is not presented in a precise order, and this choice is voluntary because I speak of things belonging to very different categories.

Do not give too much photocopying

As you begin, you are not always sure of yourself and your skills. You spend hours preparing your courses, and you are not sure of the result: sometimes the sauce takes, sometimes not, sometimes the students understand your explanations, Sometimes they block and you do not know if it is because of the difficulty of the subject or your pedagogical shortcomings. This, of course, causes enormous stress. To defeat it, some choose the option of hiding behind a bunch of photocopies. Handing out a sheet full of exercises, vocabulary lists, or theory every ten minutes to a stunned student is not a solution. Of course, you want your learners to get out of your class with more knowledge, but they will come out crushed by the weight of their backpack. Make sure that the amount of information you give (on paper) is proportional to what an average student can assimilate. Better a word retained after the course (because introduced in a captivating context or arousing emotions) than about fifty on a sheet that the student will not have the courage to peel. Not to mention environmental issues.

Think about eating

You start your class at 8: 00. You get up at 6 o’clock because you still have to finish the preparation or correct one or two essays. So you take a quick coffee, and you get to work, which takes a little longer than expected. So you run, and adrenaline makes you forget breakfast. The beginning of the class goes well, but after 30 minutes, the whole class hears your belly screaming ” Help ! “and you feel like you’re going to faint. You have less energy, and you count every minute. The students begin to feel persona non grata, and you are hungry as a wolf, so think about eating, take care of yourself, because teaching well requires a great deal of energy. Adrenaline alone will not be enough for you.

Do not blindly follow the educational guide

I’ll be honest with you; I hate to read pedagogical guides. It’s not because I think they are useless or badly made, it’s because I feel that someone tells me exactly what to do, how to chain up, and I don’t like it! I like to invent ways to approach an activity, suggest others, or make changes based on my students ‘ reactions. If the pedagogical guide tells you to proceed in a way that you don’t feel or that doesn’t work (what you can see by observing your students ‘ reactions), be prepared to abandon this way of conducting the sequence. The reasons may vary: either The guide is not well written, or you don’t understand what to do (it’s possible, let’s assume that), or the activity is not good (idem), or it’s too hot / too cold / night / or it’s Christmas, and the students don’t want to work. The icing on the cake knows that from time to time, you have to let go ; from time to time, you have to stay a little longer on a fragment of the sequence, because the students are so happy with it ; doing the activity as you like it, because it will be more authentic and therefore more motivating and finally more pedagogical. So if you read in an instructional guide that every student tries to mimic their favorite food and you find it a little weird, don’t. The guides are not a bible.