So, someone asked me what I thought about starting with a new school abroad and how would a new teacher prepare for such an adventure that would help them settle in smoothly. I thought I should share my ideas with you hopeful educators. Hopefully, it gets you thinking a bit more and helps you along.
…..I would say beforehand go into the school and meet everyone to show them you are willing to learn more about the school and to show that you are friendly. This may be a good chance to find out what books are being used (you could actually take the books home then) and what is the curriculum; also the ages of students, their backgrounds, and their levels. I worked for a school that had 15 levels from basic to advanced, so it is good to know what you will be teaching. I would also see what hours I am working and how long I have the students for. In a high school you may have them for a whole term but in a language school only 30 hours (4 – 6 weeks).
I think you should mention that you would set up a few observations beforehand (and in those first few weeks). With these observations, you may actually be observing the class(es) you will be teaching, the students will be glad to say hello, this may be beneficial when you have that first class. This could be good as you get to see the teachers in action and how they use the classroom (classroom management). It would also be good to get a mentor. He or she could help you with the school’s teaching approach and also observe you in those first classes just to help you along. I would also go out for a drink with the teachers beforehand or have lunch together. They may even have a teacher’s room where they can show you all their available materials and of course your desk.
There are many private schools out there where there are 15 to 20 in a class (high schools I had 60). Above all, this kind of work has a very communicative approach because more than likely the students learn English but not with a native speaker. They usually have to sit and listen. Think about pair work, group work, students facing the board, and being able to come up and write at any time. Your classes need to be active and student-centered because in many ways you are the facilitator.