October 21, 2021

The First Day Teaching English in Thailand: How to prepare for the Introductory ESL lesson

Teaching English in Thailand can be a very rewarding experience. For many individuals, their first time in front of a Thai classroom can be quite daunting. Here are some tips to make first lesson that little bit less nerve racking.

How to Prepare for the First Day Teaching English in Thailand

The key is in preparation; if a teacher arrives in the classroom prepared then it will make things go a lot smoother. Of course it is not possible to prepare for every eventuality and the ability to adapt and improvise is a must in teaching.

  • It is a good idea to arrive to the first day teaching English in Thailand with plenty of material. It is probably better to have too much prepared than too little; this is especially important if new teachers are going to be evaluated on their first day. Having items like handouts and flash cards can be a real help; these are great for encouraging student participation. ESL Flow is a great web resource for picking up teaching resources tailored to student ability.
  • New teacher should avoid making their first class too simple. Most Thai students have been practicing “what is your name?” and “where do you come from?” since before primary school and they find it boring. A new teacher that sets the bar too low in the opening class can easily lose their confidence. On the other hand, approaching the class with material that is above their ability could be equally disastrous.
  • It is recommended that the teacher gives an introduction at the beginning of the class to set out what the goals are for the lesson; this only needs to be brief. At the end of the lesson there should be a review of what they have learnt during the fifty minutes. Teachers need to be able to adapt to conditions on the ground.
  • While it is a good idea to come with plenty of material it is a bad idea to overwhelm the students. Looking for visual clues, such as the class members becoming restless or looking bored, is a great way to judge the tempo of the class.
  • Adding some fun to the first lesson is a great way to create a good impression with Thai students. Using song lyrics or audio/visual presentations can work really well. Of course teacher will need to check with the resources available in the classroom before planning anything too fancy.

Those teachers who make the effort and prepare for their first day teaching in Thailand will usually reap the rewards. First impressions really do count with Thai students, and how a teacher performs in their first class can often dictate future interactions with that group of students.

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