5 tips for staying in control of your ESL class

Teaching a new class can be intimidating as thousands of thoughts will go through your mind when you are preparing for teaching an ESL class on the first day. One of the most important things you will want to achieve is to stay in control of your ESL class. You will have many more days to approach after the first day. Therefore, it is crucial for you to set the tone of the class on the first day. Here are 5 tips for staying in control of your ESL class.

1. Show That You Are the Boss

The first thing to remember is that you are in charge, the boss in the class. Make your students understand that they have to follow guidelines and structures for lessons provided by you. Give them signs that you are in full control of the class and that you expect results from them. It is very important that you have self-belief. You must believe in yourself before you expect the ESL learners to respect you and accept you as the class leader.

Teaching ESL - Flickr CC cal-america
Teaching ESL – Flickr CC cal-america

2. Set a Clear Set of Rules

You must have definite rules on noise in the class. Accept input from the students to help you set the rules and make sure that students are clear about those rules. This will ensure that you can deliver lessons without being interrupted at the beginning or middle of a lesson. If you mean total silence when explaining something then make them understand clearly that there is to be no talking. Also, make sure that you will not tolerate any interruption without taking action.

3. Establish Your Control over Your Pupils

It is important that you control entry to the classroom. One of the best ways you can establish control over the pupils is by making the pupils line up outside the door in an orderly manner before they enter the classroom. If a group or anyone will not stand still and follow your instructions before they enter the room with you, do not let them in the room. This will enable you to gauge the mood of any group or individual students. You will be able to easily spot potential problems and deal with them rather than letting them go unnoticed if you establish this rule.

4. Praise and Encourage Good Behaviour

Pupils respond far better to praise than criticism. Never ever think of using destructive criticism while trying to establish control over the pupils. Rather, use constructive criticism to help those understand their mistakes with naughty behaviour. Doing this will encourage every individuals behave in a respectful way.

5. Show Your ESL Pupils That You Care about Them

You can participate in informal talk with pupils outside class. For example, you can talk to students sharing a walk over down to the canteen. Doing so increases understanding power of both the students and you. If you make eye contact, smile at them and respond to them nicely, they will truly feel then that you care about them. Even those that want to play you up or create troubles will stop having negative feelings.


Many backpackers find themselves teaching abroad to save money for travel. In essence, no classroom is perfect. Setting some rules with input from pupils will help you get the right start. The 5 tips for staying in control of your ESL class discussed above can put you and your ESL students at ease and advantage later during the entire period of the course.

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