New TEFL Teachers: DON'T be freaked out by all the jargon!

11:59 Amy 0 Comments

It's the start of a new school year, and the school I work at has hired a few new teachers. In a meeting held to teach us the lengthy process of how to edit different sections in our complicated, school-specific (Thai language!) grading program, I realised an important thing:

New TEFL teachers: you might hear a lot of jargony teaching-terminology at your new job that you've never heard before... and a lot of it is baffling!

Image from Flickr Creative Commons user Christian Bucad
Some teachers have never taught before, and so haven't even graded real student work at all yet, never mind entered grades into a complicated grading program - something that's definitely not covered in a standard TEFL course.

If you don't understand stuff, it's not you. It is confusing at first.

Of course it doesn't bother everyone, but I remember getting really stressed out about things like grading systems when I first started. I just really wanted to get it right. It depends on your school, but at my school there's a lot of jargon for new teachers to understand and a lot of new information to get your head around.

CEF, Indicators, Strands, MOE, VIXS, Bookmark, Prathom, Mathayom, Anubarn, IELTS...

DON'T be freaked out by all the stuff you're hearing that you don't understand yet.

Seriously, don't worry about it. You'll be able to spend time understanding all the terminology and school-specific systems later. Even if it all seems really complicated and baffling at first, you will understand it after a while, I promise. In my opinion and experience, trying to learn all the terminology and systems in three days before school starts is pretty impossible and you'll feel crappy about your new job. It's overwhelming and it'll stress you out. Unnecessary stress is the last thing you need at your new job.

For the first couple of weeks, focus your energies on...

1) getting to know your students and their English abilities,
2) knowing what you're expected to teach,
3) planning lessons and finding great ways to teach,
4) keeping a record of any student work you mark,
5) knowing when grades are due,
6) forming good relationships with your Thai and Western colleagues,
7) asking questions whenever you need to (How do you discipline students? What does this mean?),
8) understanding the terminology and school systems slowly, with the help of your colleagues.

Enjoy your first few weeks of teaching. You'll love getting to know the different personalities in your classes and inspiring students to want to learn.

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