BTS. Back to school. Tell the truth; is it something you dread or welcome with an open heart? As a kid, I LOVED it! New(ish) school supplies, new teachers, new-to-me books…I was never nervous before the first day. Oh, no…I was passionately excited! I also loved spelling tests and homework. Yeah, I was that weird kid.
What is “back to school” like in adult ESL?
Fast forward, and I was a teacher who had back to school once a month. That’s how long our “terms” were at the language school where I taught, so all the anticipation and stress (it’s so different for teachers than students, isn’t it?) came in neverending monthly cycles because we did not break for any of the seasons.
Sometimes it seemed like we had only just settled in and gotten to know one another, and then the term would end, and “back to school” would start all over again.
So, yes, there can be a back to school feeling in adult ESL, but truthfully? It’s not as intense when you go through it more than once or twice a year.
Try to find a way to keep the magic in it though. With adult ESL, it’s common to have new students joining all the time, and you don’t want to be the jaded person dragging down their excitement. As much as you can, find some excitement for the new session, term, or whatever your school or center calls it.
This is why I love the “back to school” vibe.
I still get ridiculously excited about the first few days of any new beginning. I love planning for it. I love collecting together everything I think I might need or want.
I was never that much into decorating my room (adult teachers often focus more on a cleaner “office” look for their students), but the organizing! File folders give me a thrill. The stapler, the paper clips, the desk/table arrangement, the preparation and filing of the supplemental material…just thinking about it has me sitting up straighter and breathing a little faster. I’ll bet my eyes are sparkling!
Even more than all that is the anticipation of meeting new students, wondering what new countries and cultures I’m going to learn about. I look forward to using all the spiffy resources I have to teach them, yes, but the thrill of what I will learn from them? That NEVER gets old.
Are you ready for back to school?
How would you organize ice breakers, role plays, writing activities, group activities, writing prompts, discussion topics, graphic organizers, and more? Start planning and grab a bundle of all that for a discount and enjoy your back-to-school time with your adult ESL students! Oh, and back to school is the perfect time to discuss goals with your students. Be sure to read 6 Important Things to Remember When Discussing Goals with Your Adult ESL Students. Also, before you set up your classroom, check out Three Reasons to Spend as Little as Possible on Your Classroom.