“I wish I had known that when I started teaching” ( an #ELTchat summary)

 An #ELTchat full of wishes…

 This is a summary from the 12pm (Londontime) #ELTchat from 23rd November 2011.  The theme of this chat was “I wish I had known that when I started teaching”. It was a great opportunity to experienced teachers to speak up and share some of the problems they faced as newly qualified teachers and to new teachers to receive some answers or thoughts on the problems that may be facing. So many wishes sound familiar.

 ELT chatters touched upon many issues that they wished to be different during their first years of teaching. All these reflections concerned the first experiences of teaching, classroom management, lesson planning, resources, teacher development etc.

 Starting to teach

- Personally I wish I had know how long it takes to develop to a stage when you begin to feel somewhat OK with your teaching @Marisa_C

- I wish I had known sth about the English language @Shaunwilden

- I wish someone had told me “Beth, you will be a terrible teacher the first year”.  I really was! @BethCagnol

- I wish I knew how much I didn’t know – took me a while to figure that one out  @Marisa_C

- I wish I had been observed more in my first few years – well actually I wish I had been observed at all @Shaunwilden

- I wish I’d had the chance to observe other teachers/ team teach in the early years @cerirhiannon

- I wish I had known that what I teach isn’t always learned by students. Oh and also how scary parents can be! @Tamkirja

- I wish I’d known that learning is a slow process – learning language, learning how to teach @antoniaclare

- I wish someone had told me that it was OK to disagree with my colleagues’ methodologies. @bethcagnol

- Wish I’d been told to relax, enjoy yourself and smile more!  @theteacherjames

- Wish I had  known:  What doesn’t work one day may work on a different day and/or with different sts. @BethCangnol

- I wish I’d known more about revisiting, recalling, retelling, linking one lesson to another, watching progress @cerirhiannon

- I wish I had found a mentor when I was at points of change and wonder – ended up doing more and more courses  @Marisa_C

- I wish I’d known it was ok not to know something. I am not a ‘walking dictionary’ @prebolledoc

- I wish I had known that, ultimately, people are responsible for their own learning.  @ harrisonmike

Students – Class management

- Hi all! My first lesson when I was an elementary teacher was that making the lesson interesting isn’t enough. kids will test limits @naomishema

- I wish I’d known that what I do in the lesson is not as important as what the students do. Once I changed focus, I improved a lot.  @teacherjames

- I wish I had been told “You can’t please everyone!” @bethcagnol

- I wish I had known about the power of music in the YL classroom. @ patjack67

- I wish someone had prepared me for negative feedback from students (which was sometimes useful, but sometimes out of my hands) @BethanyCagnol

- If you’re struggling with a class, talk to colleagues, don’t assume it must be you – probably a wider issue than just your group.  @Marie_Sanako

- I wish someone had told me that silence from the students is sometimes a good thing! @bethcagnol

- I wish educators would give more attention to what learners are *not* putting on the table @royparmesan

- I wish I had started asking my learners how they felt about my lessons/activities earlier @Marisa_C

- I wish i’d been shown how to harness the power of a group  @cerirhiannon

- Also to think of yourself as one of the group, not  apart – and yes, hierarhcy & pack instincts v interesting  @cerirhiannon

- It’s always good to know your students’ name – so learn them even before you go to the class. @cherrymp

Lesson Planning – Textbooks – Resourses

-  I look back at my old lesson plans and think “Oh Lord have mercy. What was I thinking!?”  @Shaunwilden

-  I was so preoccupied in planning with “first I’ll do this, then I’ll do that”. Who cares about me, what about them? @theteacherjames

- I remember some advice, “Don’t hide yourself in the lesson plan. It’s okay for students to know things about you.”

- I remember some advice, “Don’t hide yourself in the lesson plan. It’s okay for students to know things about you.”

- I wish I’d known that it’s not the quantity but the quality of the lesson that matters – @cherrymp

- I wish someone had told me that sleepless nights planning don’t result in more learning – I wish I could have out dancing more @Marisa_C

- Also wish I had known about feedback (to collect it, ways to collect it and what to do with it when I got it)   @michaelegriffin

- I wish I had known something (anything!) about objectives!  @michaelegriffin

- Wish I’d known that all that endless meticulous lesson planning was making me deaf to the classroom’s symphony…

- I wish I had known that it’s OK to move away from the text book if it’s not being helpful!  Marie_Sanako

- I wish I have known that there is not a perfect coursebook. @ElindaGjondedaj

- I wish I’d not just followed a book in every class. @ phil2wade

Teacher Development

- I wish I had known more about teacher development  and how to hunt it down it in situations where none was offered in the workplace @esolcourses

- I wish someone had shown me Resource Books For Teachers – our secret weapon!  @theteacherjames

- I wish I’d known about associations and conferences earlier @harrisonmike

What is #ELTchat?    

Every Wednesday at 12:00& at 21:00Londontime a discussion is conducted on Twitter about ELT subjects. Professional English teachers gather all together and chat about current ELT topics. You may follow this chat on twitter here: #ELTchat. The moderator of this chat is Greek! She is Marisa Constantinides (@Marisa_C).

If you don’t have time to chat live with the professional teachers, there is a summary uploaded on their site eltchat.com

Special thanks to Marisa and Shaun who gave me the chance to contibute to this great chat!

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2 thoughts on ““I wish I had known that when I started teaching” ( an #ELTchat summary)

  1. Wish I’d been arouund for this so many of these ring bells. This one for instance – Wish I’d been told to relax, enjoy yourself and smile more! @theteacherjames
    but I was given one piece of valuable advice before I started – remember you are teaching the students not the coursebook. simple really but I’ve taken it with me everywhere I’ve been.

  2. Some great advice here! I particularly remember when I realised that my lesson plan should be written from the point of view of the student. It turned all that teacher activity into deserts of student passivity.

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