Call for NYSTESOL 2002 proposals!

April Main Page
Report from West Tokyo JALT
Featured ESL Professional
Does SLA Theory Really Help?
Creating a Din with the Conversation Bus
Ten Sessions You Must See in Salt Lake
What We Can Learn from Basketball
An Index of ESL MiniConference Stories
Notes and contacts
Search the site

Submit your email,
join ESL MiniConference


ESL MiniConference Online!


On the First Day of Class, Relax and Be Yourself
Lori Hokkanen Says Remember the Students Are Nervous, Too

Lori Hokkanen, a graduate student in Vxj, Sweden, recently posted her advice for a new ESL teacher on the TESL-L listserv. She has contributed her remarks, below, for ESL MiniConference readers.

Others have already provided some excellent suggestions for dealing with first-day anxiety. I'd like to share a little trick that I wish I'd known about when I first started teaching. There are of course some practical things one can do, such as finding out as much as possible about the group before day one, and having a back-up plan (or two! or ten!) in case the lesson you've planned just isn't working. But there are cognitive tricks as well. I find that remembering

1. not to take myself too seriously, and
2. that the learners are probably just as anxious as I am,

is really helpful. I often spend a few moments before each new course reflecting over my own experiences as a learner on the first day of class, remembering how it felt (scary!) and what my expectations were. Sure, I still have moments of doubt, but doing this has been quite liberating. Not worrying so much about "what they think of me" also allows me to focus more on *them*. Even throughout the course, I find that making a conscious effort to remember point number one is really helpful!

Comment by Lori Hokkanen
lori_hokkanen@yahoo.com
Vxj University
Vxj, Sweden

2002 ESL MiniConference Online