Kids are a true joy to be with.
So sweet, and painfully honest at the same time. They can single handedly make us drool over them and then end our patience from one minute to the next.
Though kids can be a handful sometimes, I could never dissuade anyone from teaching kids. It is an incredibly rewarding experience. However, as a teacher and mother of two, I'd also like to give you a heads up. So, here are some of the things you will need to ask yourself if you are thinking about teaching kids.
Ask Yourself These Questions before Teaching Young Learners
Are You Willing to Motivate Your Students?
Motivation is what keeps our ESL students interested in what they are learning. So, what motivates kids to learn? Often what happens is that their parents decide for them. So does that mean they aren't interested? The answer to that depends a lot on what you do to motivate the kids. Keep in mind you will have to make the lessons educational and appealing to them as well. This implies work, dedication and good communication with your students. With adults it's easier because they learn willingly and with specific objectives in mind. Kids, on the other hand, don't see things like that, they either like it or they don't. So if you teach kids, you will have to give some thought to what motivates them.
Are You Able to Manage Their Energy and Yours?
If you are not the energetic type, keep this in mind. Children are busting at the seems with energy. Some have way too much but even the normal amount is a lot more than adults have. You can't expect to sit on a chair and explain things to them or follow along in a book throughout the whole lesson. You will need to change pace. It is great to use activities that energize them and others that clam them down. With kids, it is important to have activities with movement. For instance, when you are working with the book have them stand in a circle and read or answer questions.
Can You Keep Them Entertained?
Who doesn't like to have fun? Well with kids, it is not an option. Kids need to be entertained or they simply lose interest. When working with kids you have to be resourceful, you have to use your imagination and be creative. When in doubt, you can always ask your students what activities they like more and cater to their preferences in types of activities. Just working with their book might not be enough to make things fun, to make them want to learn.
Can You Challenge Them?
Challenges encourage kids to progress because kids are always interested in what they don't have or don't know. They are naturally very curious and that can be used to your advantage to make things just a bit more challenging. If you just stick to the program, though they may in fact be progressing, they could lose interest. Making things just a bit harder can spice things up. To work with kids, you need to move out of your comfort zone a bit and also move them out of theirs.
Do You Have Enough Patience?
If you have a hard time controlling your emotions, kids are not for you. Why? Because kids are emotional. You have to understand that working with kids will require patience and control over your emotions. Teachers need to be able to control anger and frustration, among other things, in order to be professional.
Are You Willing to Prepare Special Material for Them?
Though all students deserve special considerations where the material is concerned, when we teach kids a lot of the material you use in class will need to be prepared by you. Flash cards, posters and games among few, will need to be created. That means a lot of cutting, pasting and even coloring for the teacher as well. Again, simply using the book will very likely not be enough.
Are You Willing to Donate a Bit of Your Time?
Kids take much longer to do things than adults. So, it is often necessary to come in a few minutes earlier to set up the classroom and prepare. Remember that in lessons with kids everything needs to be ready ahead of time. Also, there are things you will need to do and prepare outside class time and often in your own time.
Working with children is amazing.
It is a unique experience I wholeheartedly recommend. Nonetheless, make sure you consider everything ahead of time. Think about the questions above carefully and make sure there are no surprises.