I teach classes of around 25-35 students, aged 18-20. 95% of them are Turkish, but there are a few foreign students from places like Turkmenistan, Indonesia, Palestine, Iraq and Saudi Arabia as well.
I work in a prep school, which students attend for one or two terms before they start university. The aim of prep school is to get their English up to a high enough standard for them to pass an in house proficiency exam. Depending on their department at university, anything from 30% to 100% of their degree will be in English, so they especially need reading, listening and writing skills.
I consider myself lucky because although I have big classes, most of the students are hard working and nice people. They are some of the smartest young people in Turkey – at least according to test scores – and have done very well to get a place at the university where I work, as it’s considered one of the best in the country.
Students have to attend between 20 and 26 hours of English lessons every week – five days a week, for one or two semesters, which are 16 weeks long. There can be issues with motivation, especially towards the end of semesters.
My challenge is to keep a balance between my lessons being interesting enough to hold the students’ attention (and for me!) and ensuring that real learning is happening – or at least enough that they can pass their exams.
I am not particularly exam focussed but obviously students need to pass; so I try to find a balance. Over the years, I’ve developed a lot of activities and lesson plans, some influenced by other teachers, some from published materials and others a real mish mash. I’m looking forward to sharing them here.