Teaching ESL grammar when you aren’t sure what the past perfect is overwhelming for new teachers. At the first adult language school where I taught, I’d be assigned a new round of courses every month. We had 10 levels of grammar, reading, writing, and speaking/listening courses, as well as TOEFL prep and academic essay writing. Each month, the day before the new term started, we’d get our course assignments and begin frantically trying to prepare for the five new classes we’d be teaching the next day.
Knowing that our international students had limited time and limited funds to prepare for and pass an English proficiency exam to gain admittance to a university drove me to curate and create the best supplemental material I could so that my students would be engaged, intrinsically motivated, and ultimately able to teach themselves as much as possible about any given topic.
One Problem Many Native English-Speaking Teachers Face When Teaching ESL Grammar
There was one problem initially, and it was of gigantic proportions…like most native English speakers, I knew when a sentence was correct or incorrect, but I hadn’t the slightest clue how to explain it. The grammar book I was to teach from used terms I’d never heard of. I didn’t even know how to begin explaining the simple grammar, much less the more complicated, upper-level grammar. My students wanted to know why the past participle was used. I couldn’t explain that it was a passive sentence. I didn’t even know what a past participle was!
How I Struggled Through It
So I read textbooks written for students as well as those written for teachers. I depended on google to point me towards English teacher blogs that had helpful hints. And I screwed up. A LOT. But I kept at it. I loved to teach. I wasn’t about to give up my dream job just because I didn’t know a gerund from an infinitive.
Eventually, I synthesized everything I learned and started creating my own grammar guides. Now I’d like to share one with you. Click the image below to subscribe to a free gerunds & infinitives grammar guide. It’s concise, ink-friendly, and you are free to share it with YOUR students if you’d like.
Want to try some grammar activities with your students? Check out Two Grammar Activities they’re going to love.