When I first arrived in taiwan I was the worst teacher ever. I could have been worse only if I had murdered one of my students. Here are some lessons I learned the hard way:
1- When a joke dies, let it, and move on, or it will take you with it.
2- Learn everyone’s name as quickly as possible.
3- Call on individual students by name. Do not ask “does anyone know…”
3- Elaborate activities raise expectations and buy no lasting gratitude. The most popular teachers are consistently good, not fantastic one day and burnt out the next.
4- Your students will often be intensely interested in you for the first hour of the frst class. After that, stop talking about yourself.
5- It’s ok to stop being the teacher when you punch out for the day. Don’t lecture your friends.
6- It’s hard to make your class too easy. It’s easy to make your class too hard.
7- Your humor in class should not depend on irony, sarcasm, or pop culture and literary references.
8- Teach vocabulary as you go, not before you read a new article. People learn best in
9- If you can’t explain something in simple words, you probably don’t understand it well. Be humble and willing to learn. During prep, look up even words you think you know.
10- Examples are good. Abstractions are bad. Show rather than explain.
11- Be positive. Nobody likes a whiner.
12- End and begin each class with something exciting or funny, like a joke or a silly picture. Even if the rest of the class sucked, they’ll remember the beginning and the end.
13- Continuity is key. Always tell your students what they’ll be doing in the next class.
14- Start your class when half of the students have arrived. Do not wait for everyone to show up. It’s not fair to those who come early, and it gives tardy students no reason to come on time.
15- Learn some “cold jokes.” They are your emergency secret weapon to be de[ployed in extreme cases of boredom.
16- Neither criticize (at all) nor praise (excessively). Both make Taiwanese uncomfortable.
17- Don’t be afraid to interrupt the boring guy who never shuts up. If you can lead him gently to a conclusion, do so, but don’t worry too much about his feelings. He has thciker skin than an autistic manatee.
18- You will be tempted to focus on your brightest and most interesting students, but you should give all of your students equal attention.
19- Your students do not want to talk about art, politics, culture, philosophy, or anything “hard” or “deep.” Learn a little about taiwanese popular culture instead. It’s more useful to know who the F4 girls are than to have sophisticated insights into eastern philosophy.
20- Sometimes everything you draw on the whiteboard will come out looking like a penis. Don’t panic. This is perfectly natural. i once drew a cock and balls while attempting to illustrate the idea of “chicken butt.”
that’s all i can think of right now. feel free to post your own lists : )