If you work as a Chungdahm teacher in Korea, you’ll get a week long training session to prepare you for your first day of teaching. You learn about the curriculum, the smart boards, the tablet PCs, and the methodology. Also, it’s heavily geared towards learning how to have good learning management. It’s great because when it comes to teaching, there are two things teachers need to perfect: learning management and student management. While there are student management simulations integrated into the training week, there is just no way to truly anticipate what your students will be like. I found that having good classroom rules and a stern attitude towards enforcing them from DAY 1 is how to set the appropriate tone for your classroom.
Take time out at the beginning of your first day of classes to introduce yourself and your rules. Whenever a student breaks a rule, call on the student, instruct them to read the rule they have broken, explain why their behavior is wrong and give a warning. It is important for the student breaking the rule and other students in class to clearly know why the rule breaking student is being disciplined. Further rule breaking involves losing participation points for the day.
The following are my four classroom rules:
1. English Only!
This rule is obvious. None of the material taught to students is in Korean. Everything is taught in full immersion - a good strategy for teaching and learning English.
2. Raise your hand.
Students who aren’t taught the importance of waiting for their turn to answer and speak will all talk over each other at the same time. An environment where students don’t wait to be called on to speak creates an environment where only a few, most outspoken students get to participate. Also, it allows for an environment where students talk over their teacher.
3. Be nice.
So simple. It is a great umbrella rule. I say umbrella rule because a lot of poor behavior can be addressed by this rule. I always tell students to be nice to their peers and to be nice to me. For example, if they talk over me, they aren’t being nice to me.4. Try your best.
It’s another simple and great umbrella rule. Anything a student does that causes them to be unfocused and/or disciplined can be addressed with this rule. For example, if a student keeps getting out of their seat, then they aren’t trying their best. Or if a student is being resistant to participating in class, then they aren’t trying their best.
Remember, for most people it is better to start strict and then ease off, than to start off too lax and attempt to regain your students’ lost respect.
Giselle Moreno is from California, USA where she attended the University of California, Riverside. While a student, she always worked with international students and she decided to teach English abroad upon graduating during her third year of university. It was through the experiences of being an English tutor for international students that she felt really fulfilled. She found it particularly easy to get along with Korean students which is why she decided to pursue a teaching opportunity in Korea. She even attended Yonsei University in Seoul for a semester as a study abroad student and fell in love with the city. She is currently working at ChungDahm Learning’s April Daechi branch located in Gangnam, Seoul.