eChinaJOBs APP Download

Teaching Tips: How to Survive Your First ESL Class

Jan 18, 2017 By Beng56 Comments (7)     Add your comment Newsletter

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • WeChat
  • Email
  • More sharing

Walking into the classroom to teach your first class is nerve-racking no matter the amount of training you have had. As a new teacher in China, you can expect to be thrown into the classroom unprepared and expected to teach right off the bat.

I myself had an awful first class in front of 30 children who constantly asked me where their old teacher had gone....

This situation may be unavoidable but to stop yourself from bombing completely I have compiled the top five things you can do to make it through your first class.

1) Use Google! (I mean Baidu…): Whether you are teaching in a University, primary school or Kindergarten spending 5-10 minutes to research appropriate teaching content and methods is crucial. Do not turn up to your first class of 30 kindergarten students trying to teach Western culture. Sounds ridiculous but I saw it happen...

A quick Google or Baidu search can help you here!

2) Plan! Plan! Plan! Make a plan! A SHORT plan. Making a lesson plan is really useful but I see so many teachers with 30 minutes to fill because they didn't plan successfully.

Don't be that guy!

Instead, make a SHORT plan, just a few bullet points and try to remember them.

You can find a post on how to make an excellent teaching plan here.

3) Practice Makes It Less Cringey: It's embarrassing and no one wants to do it but have a little practice by yourself, pretend you are in front of the class and run through your plan.

Remember to find somewhere with no people before you start acting and talking to yourself... awkward!

4) Prep Time is Important: Again it sounds obvious but people will forget this. As you become more experienced you will need less and less equipment and preparation time. For your first class, you should look to spend at least five to ten minutes beforehand getting used to the classroom and preparing any props or materials you may need.

5) Relax and Go With the Flow: If you are too lazy to do the five steps then at least remember this one thing RELAX.

Relaxing will make the students feel more comfortable around you and will make your lesson run smoother.

Remember it's only your first class no one expects you to win an award for the world's best teacher so relax, make it through the 20 - 60 minutes and you will soon find yourself teaching classes without the slightest of worries.

If you follow these five steps you can survive your first ESL class and all the rest after.

Happy teaching :)

Arriving in China in early 2013 to fulfill a life's dream. Beng56 is a teacher, China adventurer and current writer of The China Egg blog on travel, life and teaching in China. Follow him at

For the latest China related news and stories sent right to your phone follow our WeChat account:



The use of any news and articles published on without written permission from constitutes copyright infringement, and legal action can be taken.

Keywords: ESL Teaching Tips ESL China

You might also be interested in

  • 10 GIFs That Tell You Everything You Need To Know About Moving to China

    Relocating to China from a foreign country and can daunting and confusing. However, these 10 GIFs will will tell you exactly what to expect.

  • Say What? 10 Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Chinese Person

    With so many taboos and traditions, social interactions can be a minefield in China. Although many are disappearing with time, there are still some things you just shouldn’t say in this country. Here are just a few:

  • E-Bike Buyer’s Guide: Tips on Shopping for Electric Bikes in China

    Although the popularity of e-bikes may have stemmed from the associated financial and environmental benefits, by joining the masses and buying one, you’ll also gain the freedom to explore the city at your leisure.

  • A Foreigner’s Guide to Buying Vehicles in China

    So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and buy a vehicle in China, but where to start? What do you buy and how do you buy it? Are you even allowed to as a foreigner? Let’s take a look and find out …

  • Property Boom! A Guide to Buying Homes in China

    Some locals and foreigners have become filthy rich in Chinese real estate, as it always seems to keep going up. So, if you’re thinking about purchasing property here, or are settling down and need a roof over your head, there are definitely some things to keep in mind about playing the property ...

  • 5 Worst Chinese Cities for Foreigners to Live in

    Oftentimes, as foreigners living in one of China's larger, more metropolitan cities, it's easy to become spoiled by all of the little conveniences. In Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and their metropolitan ilk, we're spoiled by our Carl's Jr. hamburgers, our waiters who speak English, and our sweet, ...

7 Comments ( Add your comment )


Google, or baidu=)

Jan 18, 2017 19:28

Baidu is China's answer to Google. But it's in Chinese and seriously watered down due to propaganda. But if you know Chinese it is the best source of info about China in China. For anything else stick to Google. If your an ESL teacher I don't think you Baidu is a good choice anyway because the education system in China is wanting.

Jan 19, 2017 03:48

if you are a good teacher, don't worry, act natural

Jan 23, 2017 14:47

I believe teaching can either be very enjoyable or boring for both teachers and students by simply taking it seriously yet fun .Interacting is one of the best ways to get students involved.

Feb 05, 2017 17:23

Yes,every word is true! :)

Feb 18, 2017 03:11

First time is always the most difficult

Mar 04, 2017 11:00

thanks so helpful

Mar 18, 2017 10:10

Add your comment

All comments are subject to moderation by staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate. Please use the Classifieds to advertise your business and unrelated posts made merely to advertise a company or service will be deleted.

Please login to add a comment. Click here to login immediately.

Do you know more about this topic?

Share your experience with other readers and earn points and rewards.

How can I earn points? Post Blog

Share your blog with others and earn 5 points.

Most Read in eChinacities

This week This month

Living in China

Featured Comments

Hot Jobs Hot Classifieds