• Tom Garside

Get back to the classroom with confidence in 2022

Getting back to the TESOL classroom in 2022

As we come in to the new year, the international education industry is getting back on track. With summer schools, language centres and international universities planning for movement in Spring/Summer 2022, now is the time to spruce up your CV, dust off your board markers and get ready to re-enter the physical classroom. It may feel like a leap back into the unknown, but with some simple steps you know you can do this.

The last two years has been an unpredictable time, with face to face classes shifting to online, classes starting and stopping, furloughs and irregular office hours. However much experience you have, there will be a period of adjustment as everyone gains confidence in the classroom again. Perhaps you have been out of the classroom for some time, and are returning after a period working in another field. So how can you make sure that you get back to face-to-face teaching with the confidence that you had a few years ago?

1) Remember the basics

Whatever you are teaching, remember not to pressure yourself to deliver the perfect lesson every time. If you need to go back to basics and think about how you are going to lead those first few lessons, go back to the basics of lesson planning - map out the timing, stages and your aims for each part of the lesson, and think of a way that you can get the students to demonstrate what they are learning at every stage. This might mean planning out lessons own more detail than you normally do, but it’s worth it to ensure that you are covering everything systematically and that nothing goes missing.

2) Remember that it’s not just you

Yes, you might be feeling nervous about getting back into a busy workplace, with the social contact and groups of students around the building, but remember that everyone (students included) have been in the same position for the last two years, so things may well be slow to get back to the open, communicative atmosphere that was bubbling in your classroom in 2019. Nobody has had the usual levels of human contact, and with masks, social distancing and other restrictions, confidence may not be at its highest at first. Go with it and be sensitive to this, and you will avoid pushing students (and colleagues) too far out of their comfort zone when classes start again.

3) Brush up on your grammar

If you have been out of the game for one reason or another, you may not have the answers to those tricky grammar questions on the tip of your tongue like you used to. Before class, do a quick language awareness check from a reliable grammar resource. Check for irregular forms, exceptions and tricky points for students to head off issues and questions before they arise. As I mention above, students may well be rusty with their grammar too, so all the more reason to plan for all the details of meaning, pronunciation and form when you are preparing your first few classes.

4) Bring what you have learned from online teaching

If you have been working online (whether in teaching or other areas), you will probably have developed some new skills for interacting with people and information online. There’s no reason why some off these skills cannot be transferred back to the physical classroom - after all, the Internet still exists, and students are more connected now than ever. Try using flipped or blended methodologies to support what you are doing face-to-face, as you would in an online class. You might be surprised how much this can raise confidence and autonomy in your classes.

5) Take a CPD course to refresh your skills

Perhaps the best way to get back into the classroom with confidence is to take a short development course which covers a range of teaching knowledge and skills. Spending a few hours thinking about language, planning and delivering lessons and principles of teaching will bring everything back to you in good time for you to show what you can do in the classroom.

Tom Garside is Director of Language Point Teacher Education. Language Point delivers the internationally recognised RQF level 5 Trinity CertTESOL in a totally online mode of study, and the RQF level 6 Trinity College Certificate for Practising Teachers, a contextually-informed teacher development qualification with specific courses which focus on online language education or online methodology.

If you are interested to know more about these qualifications, or you want take your teaching to a new level with our teacher education courses, contact us or visit our CertTESOL FAQ and CertPT FAQ pages for details.

Our TESOL Refresher course is designed to give you the confidence that you need to walk into your classroom and start teaching using tried-and-tested lesson structures and teaching routines, as well as the language knowledge that you gain on the course. The next TESOL Refresher starts on May 9th, 2022, and courses will run monthly for the rest of the year. See our course page or contact us for more information, or use the online application form to apply.


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