Making Madrid Mine: Me? A Teacher? Who knew?

Rachel Chea

More stories from Rachel Chea

The Single Life
March 23, 2017

Never, in a million years, would I have thought of myself as a teacher…mostly because public speaking gives me anxiety (while it makes me less nervous now, I still get anxiety nonetheless). However, they say when you travel, you experience new things. Teaching just so happens to be one of the new/scary/adventurous things that I’m trying.

Two weeks ago, a friend came to me with an offer to teach an ESL (English as a Second Language) class with her and I said yes. I figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to try something new, to fill up some of my extra time, a way to meet some locals and of course, boost my resume.

I’m not teaching things like math, science or even grammar, and I’m not grading anything, but it’s still a daunting task. Thankfully, I’m not doing it alone. I teach a class with two other girls, every Tuesday night from 7-8:30 p.m. on my university’s campus.

My university offers free ESL classes to people of all ages in the community, for an 11 week span during the semester. The class options are Monday and Wednesday 7-8 p.m. or Tuesday 7-8:30 p.m.: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. We teach an intermediate class every Tuesday night.

Last Tuesday was our first class and while we were supposed to have 26 students, only 14 showed up…. Which was completely fine with us—we prefered working in a smaller setting.

Leading up to our first class, we were nervous. Excitement was also a factor, and I don’t know about my friends, but I was extremely nervous. Not only because I would have to stand up in front of a classroom full of people and try to keep them engaged/interested, but also because we have to create our own lesson plans and course outline.

Prior to our first class, we attended a training session, where the professor in charge of the program at my university went through how to create a lesson plan, examples of lessons and basically how to be a teacher, more or less. The classes are meant to be fun, conversational and most importantly helpful (thankfully we don’t teach grammar). He also informed us that at these classes, depending on the level, the students will be of various ages ranging from 12 to over 60.

So for our first class, we tried to plan a basic lesson plan, filled with different activities (speaking, listening and writing) to gage the students’ levels and comfort in English, especially since we didn’t know what age range to expect. While the students in our class were different ages, it wasn’t a drastic range.

After the initial awkwardness of us walking in (three 17-year-old looking girls posing as teachers) and our introductions, we did some ice breakers with the students and from then on, things started flowing. When planning, we were worried we didn’t have enough material to fill the time. To our surprise, we almost went over the time!

Overall, I would say that my first ESL teaching experience went pretty well—partly because I had two other awesome co-teachers there to do it with me!

The students seemed to enjoy the class, or at least I hope they did; we even had someone come up to us after the class, saying that we did a great job for our first ESL class. So we must’ve done something right!

At the end of the class, we had someone take a “class photo”…mostly because we’re still trying to learn names and what better way to do that, then to have a visual to match!
Here they are: