First days can be challenging. The first day of school (if you can remember it!), the first day of college or university. The first day of a new job. With so many things to remember, new people to meet, new processes to become familiar with, it can be a long and stressful day.
Taking this into consideration, at Trinity TESOL Thailand we have carefully structured the first day of our courses in order to allow trainees to not feel overwhelmed or lost.
Once trainees are accepted onto a course, they are invited to join a private Facebook page where they can meet their fellow trainees online. Often this leads to trainees arranging to meet up in Bangkok before the course begins.
Even for those unable to do so, the trainees get to meet each other on the afternoon journey from Bangkok to the training center on the day before the course begins. This is followed by a group dinner at the center's canteen, where the trainers and other staff will also join in and say hello. Finally, there's a quick tour around the training centre, so everyone knows where to go and what to bring on their first day.
This means trainees wake up on their first day knowing who their trainers and fellow trainees are, what their training room looks like, and who they can contact if they have any questions. The stress of 'the first day at school' is considerably reduced.
The first day of each course follows a similar pattern. There's an overview of the different units, a rundown of the key deadlines and explanation of the key processes during the morning, plus icebreaking activities designed to allow everyone to become relaxed and familiar with each other.
Then in the afternoon, there's a trip to a local school, to see the trainer in action teaching a class. This allows the trainees to see at first hand who they will soon be teaching, and how an experienced teacher can successfully instruct a group of students. Armed with this information, trainees are then able to begin planning their own first teaching session of 20 minutes with expert guidance from their trainer. (Trainees never have to teach on the first day of the course!).
Therefore by the end of this first day, trainees have met the students they will soon be teaching, be fully aware of the course requirements and deadlines, and be familiar with those they'll be working with during the course. They will be able to look back on this first day with confidence towards the demands of the course to come.