I remember how confusing everything seemed when I first started and how scared I was. However, looking back from where I am now, I can’t actually see what all of the fuss was about, although I imagine that this comes from experience. I don’t recall following any structure in order to progress from a newly qualified teacher into an experienced one, it was definitely an ‘in at the deep-end’ experience.
In my work, I am usually involved in teaching either individuals, or pairs of students of a similar level. I have however run several group classes for Italians learning the English language on behalf of local business groups or community organisations in the region where I live.
In my work I prefer to use an informal approach to evaluating the progress of my students. As I don’t work in a school environment, there are no end of term tests or exams which have to be done, so assessing the progress of each student is carried out almost routinely at every lesson. I feel it is necessary to do this so that I can adapt my lessons to specific problem areas as they occur. The earlier I can intervene, the better.
There is actually a surprising amount of research available on the internet about the pros and cons of course-books and how to select them. I personally do not use a course-book in my English language lessons, except in situations where I am helping a student to prepare for an examination, and then I would only really refer to the learning points required from the syllabus before coming up with my own lesson plans.
One of my favourite lessons to do, either with new or established students is one that is called ‘Lost’, I don’t suppose that this is particularly original and I fail to recall now where I actually took the idea from in the first place. I have in fact amended it many times to keep it relevant to current news and world situations (like the economic crisis and political changes) but it works well, only requires a small amount of preparation and I have used it successfully with groups and individual students.