The idea of an open class can be nerve-wracking for even the best and most experienced teachers. I have survived two open classes now. My first open class was in Thailand, and it was basically just a regular class that I prepared very well for. The parents sat in the back and observed me, and I ran the class as I usually would (with some extra pep in my step.)
My Korean open class was much different. I’m not sure how most hagwons conduct their open classes, but my school had the teachers run our open-classes like scripted plays. The kids began practicing 5 weeks prior to the date, and they had a scheduled practice time every day. I had to write a script with a theme (mine was outer-space) and the kids drilled it over and over again. I had to do some things to make it appear less scripted to the parents, but over-all it was very rehearsed.
Even if the school you work for does not require such preparation, I think these tips will get you through any open-class, and I hope you find them helpful!
Tips and Tricks For Your Open Class
Decorate your classroom. This step is very important because your classroom is one of the first impressions the parents will have. They may not have seen the classroom since their child enrolled at the school, and it’s important that it’s neat and presentable. I’m very lucky, as I have a big classroom with lots of space to decorate. My co-teacher and I hung the students artwork, put up class photos, and decorated the walls with sight-words and flashcards.
Dress nicely. A sloppily dressed Korean is very hard to find in Seoul. From what I have found, Koreans put a lot of emphasis on appearance, and they will be judging you based on yours (whether you like it or not). I wore a skirt, a sweater, some tights, and nice jewelry. I also woke up a little earlier so I could do my hair and makeup. For guys, I think nice slacks and a button-down would be appropriate.
Prepare materials. You want your lesson to seem fun and engaging, and it’s better for the kids and the parents to get to see a lot of activities. I prepared several space-themed boards, had the kids make individual planets that they presented to the class, and read a book to the children. I made it interesting for the parents by assigning each kid an individual planet that they made out of I-Clay. They also sung a song about space and danced with their planets. It was very cute.
Have fun and be yourself. This sounds like it might be difficult, as you will probably be extremely nervous to be teaching in front of your students’ parents (as I was). However, you just have to remember that the parents are simply there to see that their children are in good hands and are learning in your classroom. They want to see your rapport with their child more than anything else, and it’s important that you have fun with the kids and show how you would interact with them on a normal day. If you are teaching kindy or lower-levels, it’s a good idea to include songs or dancing into your lesson plan on that day.
Overall, try not to be nervous and take a deep breath! It will all be okay 🙂
Have you ever experienced an open class while teaching in abroad, in Korea or another country? Any tips?