What problems do YOU have teaching English?

Yesterday I wrote about how important it is to find out what problems your teachers have when teaching English.

So today I’d like to throw it open to you! ย What problems do YOU have (when teaching English)? ย You never know we might have the perfect solution hidden away somewhere on the site!

Answers in the comments please – and don’t forget to say if you are beautiful or gorgeous!

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

14 Responses to “What problems do YOU have teaching English?”

  1. Ashlee Clifton

    My problem with teaching English is that usually the staff at the school have thier own ideas and I have different ideas. After I show them a demonstration of how I teach English then we are on the same page. The teachers still have the concept stuck in their heads though about traditionally learning Englilsh. I think that they worry about having too much fun while learning. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love teaching English and my students are wonderful too.

  2. Margit

    Thanks to GE it’s really getting hard answering this question.

    I would say, one problem left for me is reading and writing.(Though I’m having the feeling that I’m getting the clue and my younger kids won’t have to struggle, maybe~~~)

    The other thing is how to get JH school kids do something=anything at home. They ARE busy, and DON’T have much time for just hanging around, still I believe they could do much more than they are doing. They are spoiled.
    I’m choosing super cool videos (Skaterboy by Avril Lavigne, etc), think a lot of time of music they might like, that won’t be too difficult grammar wise.
    They don’t have to learn this by heart, just listen to it a few times during the week, while eating or while daydreaming…
    But even “HW” like this:”Oh, I didn’t watch it.”

    So, this is really tiring me a bit. The want to speak English, and I knwo they can and it is nothing too difficult, but there is a minimum of “more than everyday activities” they have to do.

    Sorry, right now I’m neither beautiful nor gorgeous.
    I’m just getting more exhausted day by day figuring out about so many lies in the governmental system and at our school. Don’t know who to trust anymore anyway as everybody says something else.
    I should feel happy that I’m out of there not having to teach in this system, but the farer away I am the more mud I see and I feel sorry for the kids.

    Okay maybe I should get a haircut and some refreshment outside to be able to answer you last answer.

  3. Janet Gray

    My problem with teaching English is there’s SO much to cover and so little time. Prioritizing what’s most important, and of second importance, etc, is difficult because they need ALL of it. Genkii English helps SO much–it’s such a riot to see my ADULTS ALL with smile on their faces as we all sing the simple songs.

  4. Claudia

    Pronunciation: I used phonics, but now will use Genki songs AND phonics. Speaking: Can’t wait to use Genki for this!!

    Gorgeous: Writing. Big ouch here. I failed miserably with this before. Hopefully now I’ll have better ideas.

  5. Amri

    I guess the problem that I have is that lately children start to come to the lessons because they want to have “fun” and not to learn English. Well, it’s always great that they have fun with the lessons, but then as soon as you do some “more serious work (if you can call it like that), that don’t include jumping around or playing games, they become unconcentrated and don’t really listen anymore, ask if they can go drink water, toilet or just run off without saying anything. It’s not with every student of course, but I have 2-3 kids aged 3 and 5. They do return to the activities quickly though and I know concentration with such little kids is not 60minutes long, but still it is disturbing the class.

  6. Emma


    I am opening an after-school English club this september. 3-4 yo kids in the same group, then 5-6 yo, then 7-8 then 9-10 yo
    I wonder how to handle this issue:
    Imagine the kids are happy and sign up. Imagine that afte one or two years other 9 years old want to enroll and you don’t have enough kids to make a new grou. Then the ” new ” club members will be in a group with kids of his age who are more advanced and already know all the basis! How do you handle that?
    It might not be encouraging to a new student and meanwhile I won’t feel like adding a 9 years old kid with younger kids…who would be more advanced as well…

  7. richard

    Keep them coming, the music is still playing!

  8. kt

    In controlled situations the kids respond fantastically – through songs games worksheets etc, however I find it difficult for them to express themseves in natrual situations ( I only have the twice a week and they are primary kids).

  9. Allan

    If my students are not singing or playing games, they are just not interested in me.
    I need to build on the games and songs, I need to be more like Richard, more Genki!

    Margit, if you are in Thailand, come to our school in Khon Kaen, its great! We need a female teacher for K1,
    Regards, Allan

  10. Margit


    you made me smile for the first time in days! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

    Though I can’t take this offer as I have a family and three kids, it makes me sooooo happy.
    And if you have a site of your school please let me know, cause I might come to Thailand for vacation and ~well, you never know what it’s good for do you!

    Oh, oh! thank you. It’s amazing how it can be just a simple gesture or word to become happy again. THANK YOU!

  11. Heather

    One of the things I am finding difficult is teaching the last year of primary school (group 8). Group 8 in this country only has had two years of English and what type of English depends on the school and/or the teachers giving the class. So traditionally their English level is quite low, apart from their very excellent swearing skills. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Paired with this is the desire not to take part in anything they class as hard, boring or not cool.

    I have picked up some great ideas from here, go in armed with them and full of energy for them to just not be interested. I have found a few things they like…but I find this age group very challenging.

  12. Gumby

    For me
    1. Testing or assessment.
    How do you assess the students for what they can do as opposed to what they memorized and can only use if it is in the exact same context as the lesson?
    Also how do you explain to colleagues that content and understanding should be given credit; that test answers can be partially correct even if a word is misspelled or a [.] is missing?

    2. How to show other educators that fun=learning, yet reminding yourself that not all games lead to learning?

    Other problems:
    How to get pre-literate students to start blending the phonics sounds.

    How to instruct a high school student who really cannot read the insanely difficult passages on the entrance exams. Where do you start?

  13. Barbara

    Thanks for your thoughts on the difference between Private teachers and Government teachers. I have found the same issues in Thailand and China. Private school teachers often teach kids who have more money, and develope lots of steriotypes for sure.

    Teaching problems, too many to mention! I think we all have issues, and we become great problem solvers in the proccess. Getting information from sights like this is helpfull so Thank You Richard.

  14. Carol

    Hi Everybody,

    I agree with gumby about assessment. Schools are very slow to change from traditional testing of discrete grammar items to competency. I think this remains a problem because of not knowing how to assess competency…

    Like Margit, I think making the bridge between the GE songs and to more reading and writing for the jhs learners is another problem.

    And lastly I think the teaching profession has to stop ‘old thinking’ about who can and can’t learn. If a child has learned his native language, he/she can learn another! If they don’t have the cultural info needed, then we provide it! I think every student should be encouraged and not berated.

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