I have the opportunity of working as a bilingual assistant for the coming school year at my daughter's school. Although I am a TEFL teacher I have never taught in a school before and may be teaching 30 kids from as little as 3 years old. I don't have a lot of experience with this age group and certainly not with such big groups. I would be grateful of any tips anyone could give me. Also it is quite likely that I may be teaching my daughter and her fellow students so I am a little worried about how this might affect her, i.e. with her classmates etc...already this year one child said she couldn't play with them as she was "English" and also how to teach the class impartially.
Will you be: A. Assisting teaching a lesson planned by another teacher B. Planning and teaching a session while another teacher is there to help organise and settle the children, deal with behaviour etc or C. Plan and teach a lesson and have full responsibility for the class
How many classes will you have and will they be single age classes or mixed age?
I would suggest collecting songs, stories and puppets you can use as a starting point.
If your daughter is 5 I'm guessing it wouldn't cause too many problems that her mum is the teacher. Kids that age quickly get used to things and probably their reaction will be either to think it's great that she gets to have her mum in school or to be completely uninterested.
Thanks for the feedback Alison! I think it's B (planning and teaching a session with another teacher to help organise children, deal with behaviour etc) although it hasn't been completely clarified to me yet!! I'm going to have 20 hrs a week so about 4 classes a day (I imagine). They will be single age classes for example 3-4/4-5yrs. Although there are big differences among the years as there may be children who only just turned 3 (like when my son starts school!) and those that are starting to turn 4.
As a TEFL teacher, I already have some songs, stories and a puppet, but maybe not enough plus I don't know what access I have to materials at the school. Previously I often worked with a book which also had its own CD of songs and stories.
My daughter is now 6 (need to update my profile ) but I suppose and hope that you are right!!
It'll be much easier for you if another teacher is there to organise and settle children and deal with behaviour. It's probably worth clarifying before you start.
It will be trial and error until you find what works best with each class. I would plan a hello song and simple hello activity that you repeat every week. And end with a goodbye song and activity too. Young children like and learn a lot from repetition. Have a couple of action songs during the lesson e.g. Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. Take time to teach the song slowly if the children don't know it but they might only learn a few words of a song each week. Once they start getting restless you can start the song and they can join in even if they don't understand.
You can intersperse calm activities with lively ones. A puppet who is scared of noise can be good to quieten all the children down and get attention. A puppet who shakes their hand because they're listening well or singing well can be very useful too.
Different groups of children will respond better to different things - partly because of age and partly personality. A fun game will motivate some classes but make others get overexcited. Don't hesitate to ask their teachers for ideas of what the children like and will respond to. Some teachers will be helpful and ignore any who aren't.
To start off with, plan lots of short activities - more than you think you will need. If you don't use them you can save them for another week.
I would also do the same lesson with several classes to start with unless they have a curriculum they want you to follow. You can adapt over time. I always did the same theme with several classes and just taught extra vocabulary or a more complex speaking activity or written activity with older children or if they were coping well. If you try to do something separate with each class it's much harder to plan and organise.
Apologies for typos! Doing this one handed while pushing a pram!
How did it go, Tracey? I hope you're enjoying your new position and it didn't affect your daughter in the way you feared. If it helps, the children I've known whose parents were teachers treated them as if they were any other teacher and it was never an issue.
As far as that comment about your daughter being English, children are mean at this age. One of my daughter's classmates made fun of the way she speaks Spanish the other day. I told her that if this happened again, she should tell this girl that she speaks 2 languages while the other girl only speaks one. Her dad said to speak English to her and see how well this girl can speak it, hehe. My daughter is now super proud of being able to speak 2 languages.
Thanks Raquel! It hasn't seemed to be a problem with affecting my daughter thankfully!! Finding working in a school a lot different to working in an academy though and many of the activities I used to use in my classes are not very suitable to school classes as there are so many children, around 25 to 30, so finding it hard to come up with activities or adapt them!
The first year is the hardest, because you need to adapt to a new situation. I hope you're enjoying it, in spite of the challenges. I know nothing about teaching, just that at my daughter's school they sing lots of songs. If it helps, I can send you a link to her teacher's webpage, where she also posts videos to the songs they learn at school.
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