Teaching, in general, can be a daunting and stressful career path, standing in front of a classroom of judgmental teenagers waiting for you to mess up or ask you why you don’t have a boyfriend, *eye roll* or trying to calm a rowdy, rambunctious group of grade schoolers. But teaching, in any capacity, is also one of the most rewarding professions I have been blessed enough to experience. After the endless amounts of hours that go into creating lesson plans & activities, grading & more grading, the actual teaching part, it all becomes worth it when you’ve realized that you actually made some sort of a difference in someone’s life. You may have just developed a passion in a middle schooler, or convinced a high schooler that they are smart enough to continue onward to a higher education. It is those small moments in teaching that make it all worth it.
Remember every teaching situation is different.
In my situation as an Auxilary de Conversacion in Madrid to high schoolers, I was given a lot of freedom to do my own thing, which can be a good or a bad thing.
The Good: you have the chance to teach about whatever you want from jellybeans to Vikings. The Bad: you have to make your own lessons plans and actually work, work, work. Whereas my teaching experience to kindergartners in Thailand was basically a glorified babysitting job. Spending twenty minutes getting 15 five-year-olds to sit still in a circle while we figure out the difference between hot and cold. The Good: five-year-olds can be cute, it doesn’t require a lot of extra planning, you get to utilize recess and nap. The Bad: five-year-olds have a sh*t ton of energy. You end up repeating yourself a lot, I mean a lot. I’d find myself grocery shopping on a Saturday afternoon humming “The Wheels On the Bus” or “How’s the Weather?”
But, regardless of how your situation may be if you are ever stuck in a rut and not sure where to turn next check out these five ideas to spark some creativity.
- Ask the students what they want to learn.
- This is actually insanely helpful, teenagers can actually be interesting people, who are actually curious about interesting things. GASP, I know. Get to know your students, ask what they are curious to learn about. If it is something that interests them then they will be more inclined to pay attention.
- Get creative!No one like to read page after page after page of random boringness followed by comprehensive questions about the boringness you just read. Spice it up. Get rid of the boring white paper questionnaire, make them act out the questions or sing their answers
- Start with a Game.Begin the class with a high. Get your students excited about their lesson, because who doesn’t love games.
- Imagine yourself in their desks.imagine your teenage self back in the days of high school, what did you find enjoyable about your classes.
- Don’t be afraid to go back to the classicsHangman, Heads Up, Pictionary, Simon Says
Have you been a teacher or are you currently teaching English abroad? I would love to hear your stories! What other things to do in class to get your students engaged?
Teachers for High School Aged Students
If you are still stuck in a rut, lesson plan wise, drop me an email and I’ll be happy to share some of my old lesson plans & worksheets with you! Here’s what I’ve gathered and created myself over the past years!
Puritan New England / Salem Witch Trials
Coraline (the movie) Worksheet
The Art of Debate / Current Events (2016)
Types of Government
Trump Presidency (includes First 100 Days)
Rock and Roll (unfinished)
Random Christmas Worksheets