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Do you remember your first time?

Do you remember your first time?

This is my third attempt at writing this – my first blog entry. How difficult can it be? Like the first time you attempt many things, I am finding that it is more difficult and not as straight forward as I first thought. However, as the expression goes – if at first you don’t succeed, try again. It will get easier – surely?!

In some ways, this experience reminds me of some of my teaching ‘firsts’. So here, in no particular order, are my top ten teaching firsts. Maybe you can identify with some of them and maybe you’d like to share some of your ‘firsts’ below in the comments section.

  • The first time I delivered a lesson during my CELTA course

    I vividly remember the teacher’s table in the class room and having onions and flour (a.k.a. realia) on the desk as I taught the students about countable and unaccountable nouns. I don’t use realia anymore. It seems as though this teaching technique might not be in fashion anymore.


  • The first time a student cried in front of me because she had been promised to move to a higher level class by the previous teacher

    My first job in London teaching an IELTS class. Immediately after the class finished, the young woman came up to me and burst into tears. She couldn’t understand why she hadn’t been moved to the high level class. That was hard to deal with.

  • The first time I taught real students at a busy London English language school for a full three hours

    I was exhausted after my first teaching day of two classes of three hours, plus the hours and hours of preparation. Surely, they thought I was a fraud.

    Exhausted English Teacher

  • The first time I taught abroad in a monolingual setting

    Help, I couldn’t speak their language well enough to instruct the class or to translate. It wasn’t like this during my initial training when the classes were multilingual.

  • The first time I taught kids

    He wouldn’t sit still, none of them would, so we ended up playing games and singing songs in English. We also walked. A lot. Before long, all the kids could ‘meow’, ‘moo’ and ‘bark’ while pointing at the various animals on the trail.

  • The first time one of my lessons ‘failed’

    I was upset, disappointed and couldn’t really understand why it had failed. Was the problem the planning, in the delivery, maybe it was the students, maybe it was just the weather? Asking ‘why’ was important though.

  • The first time I attended an external teacher development session

    I remember thinking how cool it was to be in a room with other people with jobs like mine. Eager and keen to learn from learned practitioners and a ‘well-known’ name in the industry. And …. I even already knew some of the stuff they were saying.

  • The first time I was taught a language at school

    Oh my, what a lot of paperwork. Records to keep, registers to take, development sessions and meetings to attend. All of that on top of actually teaching.

  • The first time my Director of Studies reminded me what it is like to be a beginner in a language lesson

    How easily I forgot what it was like to start learning a language and how painful I found it when I attended a beginner’s lesson in Polish. It was so hard, particularly the pronunciation and what was that structure? We don’t have that ‘grammar’ in English!

  • The first time (of many times) the photocopier broke down

    What was I going to do? What were any of us going to do? Surely the students needed photocopies of the material? How else were they going to learn?


Well, that’s it. Add your thoughts, comments and ‘firsts’ below.

Until next time.

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