Teaching a child with a difficult demanding parent
A demanding and controlling mother asked her daughter's English teacher to design a creative, interesting, motivating course for her child. She refused to pay for any more lessons until the course was exactly as she wanted it. Quick frankly the teacher does not have the time to do this. The teacher wants to do exercises to bring up the child's level and fill in some of the gaps. But the mother wants creative courses, not textbooks, but she does want the teacher to cover the curriculum.
Firstly, don't reinvent the wheel. Follow a standard curriculum. This work has been done for you, over and over again, in many textbooks, but I recommend the curriculum in my plays and skits for kids, or in one of my sets of stories. Since the mum is asking to see the course but doesn't want to see a textbook, copy the course content as follows...
Lesson 1: Greetings, to be... etc. (whatever is in the unit of the textbook)
Lesson 2: Revision and talking about where you live, talking about yourself.
And so on.
The mum should be reassured that you know your stuff and have produced a relevant and coherent curriculum. As for the creative methods, tell her you will use games, drama, stories and maybe songs.
Now the mum is reassured that you have a road map. Tell the mum to let you start and see how her child likes the lessons and to trust you. It's your job to be the teacher. If she can't trust you to get on with your job she'll have to find someone else - but don't get to that part yet! Just see if you can get your foot in the door, get started, using games and skits. And follow the routine below...
1. Teach content - i.e. grammar and vocabulary
Spend part of your lessons teaching the content from the curriculum unit, story or skit using drill games, grammar games, memory games, etc. Use listening, speaking, reading and writing games to teach all the target vocabulary and grammar.
2. Be creative with a skit
Then start to put the skit together. You'll manage one skit every 2-6 lessons, depending entirely on how fast the child learns, and his or her level. In the case of this particular pupil, the teacher tells me that she doesn't like acting. No probs, I BET she won't mind having her dolls playing the skit parts. You take one doll and do her lines, the pupil takes another doll and does the lines for the second part. (All my skits are written for one to one as well as small groups.)
3. If using stories, have dolls and toys act them out. Use other toys as props to create the scenery and to stage the action.
Progress and keeping the parent in the loop
The mum will need progress reports, so as soon as you have a skit presentable, with the dolls, prepare a 5-minute show. Firstly show -off the vocabulary that you have taught by holding up flashcards and having the pupil name them. Secondly show your skit with the dolls (or with the pupil if he or she likes acting - and MOST children do, the dolls are only for the super shy ones. Thirdly, interview your student with basic questions, with fake microphones, as if he or she is a personality, such as a favourite singer of the pupil. if that is too difficult, just interview the pupil as herself. What's your name? Where do you live? Do you like icecreram? etc.
If the mum wants the child to do homework, have them learn 3 new words a day following the method outlined in the blog post on the link just below. 3 words a day might not sound like much, but it's 21 words a week, and 84 words a month!
For skits try this free one as a test. FREE SKIT FOR KIDS
If you want more resources because you are teaching the same child several hours per week, I suggest getting one of my curriculum of stories. There you have everything you need, stories, creative lesson plans with games, the possibility to role-play the stories, flashcards for the games and even songs for some of the stories.
For kids age 6-10, try these About Me or Daily Life series. These are creative courses designed to teach beginners to reach A1 CERFA or ACTFL Novice Levels. Wherever you are in the world, these stories teach all the standard basics that beginners learn, whatever their textbook.
Feel free to ask for help anytime! Ask me your question in the blog comments below, or by email if you prefer. I'm here to help.