Classroom Management in Thailand

Teaching is an Art

Teaching is an art that not everyone can be prepared to do. It requires someone that not only has a big heart but, also someone that is disciplined and ready for any adventure that may come their way. With teaching, you can prepare yourself for what is anticipated like, lessons, grades, events, etc. but, you can never prepare yourself enough for the unscheduled events or acts of students that leave you with your mouth open or you questioning what to do next. With moments like these, there are some helpful ways to help prevent some things thrown your way. Some of the things that you can expect are students being unruly or misbehaving and for this, you can prepare for some of it.

Classroom Management

Teaching in any country can be challenging but, also rewarding. In class, you can expect to have various characters for students. Some may be very good and listen while, others may be unruly and misbehave. I have found that the students that are unruly need just a little motivation to help keep them on track. I have had students come in 30 minutes late thinking it was ok, others not paying attention, and some just being talkative and disruptive. Though these students may be defiant, they are still good and just need some extra attention.

My class in Thailand

I have found that my misbehaved students do better when they are motivated and know that you take them learning sincerely. Which is why at the beginning of the semester, I first layout rules. Some of these rules include: coming to class on time, being respectful of their fellow classmates and myself, and that when I give them work to do, they need to do it because overall, it is for them and their bright future. As a teacher, you will need to figure out what ways work best for you and how to manage your class. I have come to conclude, that there is not a one way that fits all and for this you need to be creative. When it comes to classroom management, every teacher must consider all of their students and because of this, I do not believe in punishing the whole class for one student’s actions or having a disruptive student destroy another’s ability to learn.

A Technique to Manage

So, the question is, “what do I do when I have a kid be disruptive or disrespectful to prevent future issues?” Well, I believe in managing it and containing to prevent further disrespect which, is why I think physical exercise helps. When I have student that behaves badly to their fellow classmates or myself, I don’t give extra work and keep my fingers crossed that they do it but yet give a physical exercise. By physical exercise, I am referring to jumping jacks, burpees, push-ups and sit-ups. These physical exercises have worked wonders, and not only do they learn from doing it by counting in English, they also get mental stimulation by the endorphins going off in their brains.

My Students in Thailand

Depending on what we are doing as a class, will depend on when they do these exercises. I do not want to quit teaching to handout jumping jacks, etc. so, I wait for the best opportune time, may it be at that moment or be before the class ends. Based on what the issue was, will base my decision on how many of one exercise that they need to do. Sometimes, its only 20 while, others have been 50. It just depends on them and what they did wrong. This technique has helped my class realize that I am not a mean teacher but someone that has their best interest at heart. The class overall finds this funny when one of their own must do an exercise while, the student doing it learns they don’t want to do it again. This has been a well thought and proven technique that I have shared with my fellow teachers. They all thought it was great and have used it to help manage their classes. When you have classrooms full of 40 plus students, it can be challenging to keep them on task and behaving right but, this has helped. Moreover, being a teacher for the past few years, this has become quite productive.

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My First Day Teaching in Hong Kong

My Journey Teaching in Hong Kong

After spending a semester in Thailand teaching English, I knew I wanted to live and work  in other countries in Asia and of course, Hong Kong was at the top of my list. Trying to find a job in Hong Kong was more difficult than I first anticipated and I was relieved to find On The Mark Education who assisted in finding me potential jobs and then setting up interviews with potential employers.

Hong Kong VisaI decided to accept a job from a school in Hong Kong that have language centres throughout the country. They were extremely helpful from the get go and were able to answer any questions I had about the company itself, the students and what I was going to be teaching. Before I left the UK they assisted me in the processing of my visa, including help with all the documents and paperwork.

Visa Process

I was in contact with staff from the school throughout my wait for me visa (which turned out to be a long 4 weeks wait) and then also upon my arrival into Hong Kong. I started work four days after I landed and I was instructed to attend their North Point centre. As I had arrived during the summer, the centre was running their summer programme of classes which are based around more fun and creative aspects of education. This was the perfect time for me to start as I was given the opportunity to observe a variety of different types of classes and interact with the full range of ages that the school currently caters for. It also gave me to opportunity to meet my co-workers and start getting to know everyone’s names and classrooms. My first day was a bit of a whirlwind and before I knew it, it was 6:30pm and time for me to finish up and to go home.

my classroom in Hong KongI woke up the next day to a message telling me that I was needed at another centre in Tai Koo to cover a class. It was not something I expected to be doing on my second day with the company but I got ready and headed out to find the centre. I was met at the MTR station by the head teacher of the centre who was surprised to find out I’d only been in the country less than a week. Nevertheless, I was taken to my classroom and given the lesson plan, materials and worksheet I needed for my cover lesson. So for my first lesson in Hong Kong I was going to be teaching about… ‘Africa and African Tribes’, not exactly the first topic that comes to mind when you thinking about teaching in a language centre. My first class had 5 students, 1 girl and 4 boys and throughout I was utterly entertained by the chit chat. I was surprised by how high their level of English was and how interested they were to learn about Africa. The whole lesson was going to plan until it came to the craft section and then the lesson hit a bump, the craft required was an African Tribal Necklace, the last thing the 4 boys in my class wanted to make. However, with a little bit of persuasion and the promise of playing a game (educational of course) the boys reluctantly attempted to make the necklace. All in all my first solo lesson was successful and although it happened a lot quicker than I expected, I was happy that it was done and I had survived.

My first two days as an English Teacher in Hong Kong was full of new experiences and challenges and went by in the blink of an eye. If the next 12 months go by a quickly I might have to renew my contract and stay a little bit longer.

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10 Helpful Strategies for Preschool Teachers

Over the last four months as a Nursery Teacher in Bangkok, I have learned some valuable strategies and lessons when it comes to teaching a class of two-year-olds. Here is my top 10 (hopefully at least one comes in handy for you!):

Safety comes first, no matter what.
Don’t worry about how much the children are learning or if they aren’t getting the hang of routines right away. As a nursery teacher, I would rather my students be safe, happy, and learn nothing rather than have an emergency medical situation on my hands.

Be adaptable.
Each school day will be unpredictable and you have to be able to roll with the punches. Whether you are dealing with unruly children, unexpected accidents, or your activities don’t go as planned, being flexible and thinking on your feet is key to being a preschool teacher.

Always have backup games and activities prepared.
Creating weekly lesson plans and schemes of work is a super handy reference in times when you can’t think of what to do next. As two-year-olds have such short attention spans, you will need lots of games to keep them occupied (the more the merrier, as some may not be a hit).

Drill the routines- it is NOT a waste of time.
For many students, this will be their first time at a real school. Children need predictability in their lives! It helps them understand what to expect, what is expected from them, and will help them become relaxed, confident, independent, and more cooperative.

Don’t give up if an activity doesn’t work right away.
Push through! If children aren’t listening, that doesn’t mean you should just move on to the next activity. Rather than focusing on the end result (i.e. making a perfect craft), focus more on the process and exploration of the activity. Keep it short, let them explore the materials and if they are jumping around while doing so, then is that really so bad?

Being a Preschool TeacherBe animated.
Making silly faces, laughing, singing, making hand gestures, dancing, and using high and low pitches when speaking or reading stories will keep kids more engaged and excited to learn. If you don’t seem engaged, the children most certainly won’t be either.

Let them know who is boss.
It can be stressful when getting your students to settle down and follow instructions, such as lining up or tidying up. Connect with your children, build trust, create a safe environment, create classroom expectations, be consistent, and with time, children will respect you as the authoritative figure. You don’t need to be a stickler about all rules, kids just need to be kids sometimes!

Plan developmentally appropriate activities.
Keep things simple. Kids in a nursery class shouldn’t be learning anything too advanced or doing complicated crafts (this will just lead to frustration). My students learn about shapes, numbers, colours, the alphabet, animals, etc. Don’t forget- two-year-olds also need ample time to play! Also, get to know your students and understand that they are not all at the same developmental level. Each child is unique and will learn at their own pace.

Don’t be afraid to get dirty.
Remember, you are responsible for inspiring your students how to be creative and encouraging them to use their imaginations. This often means getting messy- glue, paint, sand, dirt, marker, you name it! Not to mention the snot and saliva that comes along during flu season!

Don’t lose your temper.
As a teacher, yelling will only just damage your vocal chords, cause stress, and portray a bad message to your students. They will feed off your negative energy. But hey, be stern. Try to emphasize positive reinforcement instead, such as giving out stickers for good behavior.

As exhausting and overwhelming as the job may seem at the start, it DOES get easier and boy will it all be worth it!

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