Credit: taken by Tana Ebaugh in Daegu, South Korea

'I am just me' – lesson plan by Zhenya Polosatova and Michael Griffin

This is the first lesson plan for teacher training to appear on TEA. Pop back to the Activities and Lesson Plans section every now and again as it will be regularly updated with lesson plans for ESL/EFL classes and for teacher training aimed at raising awareness of different issues surrounding native speakerism in ELT. If you’d like to submit a lesson plan, please get in touch here. Always looking for new contributors.

We’ll start off with some comments from the authors, followed by the lesson plan itself. If you decide to use it, have any comments or suggestions, please let us know in the comments section. We’d really appreciate your feedback.

Mike Griffin:

The lesson comes from a mentor-training course conducted with Korean public school English teachers in which participants received input and practice helping other teachers with their professional development. One core aspect of the course is observation and feedback. This is partially done through  is micro-teaching where participants run a lesson for their peers and then receive feedback in a post-observation feedback session from those who participated as observers during the lesson. This particular lesson was used as an example reading lesson and a chance to model the procedure. There was no  real requirement to touch on NNEST issues or anything related to participant confidence or comfort but it just seemed like a nice chance to address these issues. The idea was to use material that would be personally relevant to the participants and get them to think about issues of confidence and community. Other trainers could conceivably use the material and lesson anytime there is a chance to do a sample/demo lesson  to focus on the fears related to using English in and out of the training course. Such a lesson is probably best suited to the first few days of the course when participants might be a their most worried that they are the only one with this type of concern.

Zhenya Polosatova:

Mike, I really like how you described the context/background for the lesson. Something to add is that perhaps using the lesson in the NNS/’EFL’ context (especially at the beginning of the course) opens and encourages the discussion about how the teachers’ perception of their own English helps or hinders their coming perception of and learning on the course. Perhaps especially relevant to the Asian countries, and especially so if the trainer is an ‘outsider’ from the culture/country. It is hard to generalize thought, because the lesson was created specifically for South Korea.

Another possible reason for working with these texts is to model how the choice of text might impact the learners. As Mike mentioned, the teachers were designing a language lesson for each other, taking into consideration the background and interests of the peers, and taking the text was an attempt to do the same as trainers.

Credit: taken by Tana Ebaugh in Daegu, South Korea
Credit: taken by Tana Ebaugh in Daegu, South Korea

Lesson Plan


Teacher (candidates) will be able to demonstrate understanding of the three semi-fiction texts about the teachers’ feelings on a training course by filling out the grid; they will also be expressing their opinions and guesses about the background of the teachers and advice that can possibly help them survive the course and gain confidence in general. In this discussion they will be able to use at least 2 of the expressions/collocations from the texts.


Talk to each other in pairs and answer these questions:

  • You are all English teachers. Have you ever taken any training courses (other than this one) in Korea? Abroad?
  • When was the last time you took a TT course? Where was it?
  • Where were the other teachers / trainees from?
  • How did you feel the night before the course began? And after it started? Mark ‘yourself’ on the line

🙁 ———————————————————————————————- 🙂

-50                                                      0                                                               +50

  • Do you think the other teachers on that course had the same feelings?

Reading 1

(T notes: only text A for everyone, see below, handout folded – 2-3 mins)

TASK: Read through the text and see if the text confirms your opinion about the feelings teachers usually have at the beginning of a course.

Text A

The training course just started and I think I’m the oldest in the group! Everyone will expect me to be full of knowledge and insight because of my many years of experience but I am just a regular teacher. Yes, I have been teaching for a long time but that doesn’t mean that I am a good teacher. It doesn’t really mean anything except that I have been teaching for a long time. I’m very worried because I think I don’t fit in here with all these excellent younger teachers. They are so smart and sharp. Was I ever that young and full of energy? I don’t think so. I am just me, a regular teacher. They were trained in all these new ways and know all this new stuff and are so good at speaking English. This is going to be a long and difficult course. I am worried everyone will expect too much from me and then will see I am just a regular teacher. How embarrassing! Now everyone will know exactly how I compare to these younger and better teachers. I am not looking forward to this at all.

Reading 2

(T notes: only text A for everyone, 5 mins)

TASK: Read your text and put ‘X’ in the corresponding column in the grid.


(T notes: go through the grid and demonstrate on the board, remind that we only focus on column A for now; peer checking – checking all together, by naming the correct answers and finding evidence in the text)

(T notes: optional question, if time allows: Where do you think the teacher comes from? Have you ever met a teacher who had the same feelings?)

Jig-Saw reading

(T notes: 10 mins for both tasks and peer sharing; Divide Ss into B+B and C+C pairs; explain that for the following 5-7 minutes they are going to read different texts and work separately from the other group, same tasks as above – fill in the grid, peer checking).

Text B

I don’t think I belong here. The teacher training course has just started but I don’t think I can really enjoy it. I’m already stressed out. I’m worried I don’t fit in here. I know I worry too much sometimes but everyone else is so smart, talented, enthusiastic and experienced but I am just me. I don’t think I have anything to offer the group and I am worried I will always be stealing ideas from these great teachers without adding anything for the whole course. I’m sure I’m the worst trainee here. I’m not good at English and what’s worse I am not so good at teaching either. I always make so many mistakes in English and in teaching. I know I have a lot to learn and I am lucky to be with such a great group but I feel out-of-place with all these great people around me. I wonder how I can survive this course.

Text C

The good news is I can speak English pretty well. Everything else is the bad news. I think am in the wrong place. My teacher training course has just started and I am very impressed by my group members. Some have been teaching for many years and some have brilliant ideas about teaching and most of them have lots of knowledge and experience. I am just me and I don’t have any of that. I only have what I read in university classes but I don’t really know what I am doing in my class at school. Here, we are expected to talk about teaching and share and reflect on our experiences. I’m worried that my experience is not long enough or valuable enough. I feel like I have nothing to offer the group. I don’t think anyone wants to hear about my silly problems and big failures from school. What can I do? I don’t know how I can survive this course.

Reading 3, Language work

(T notes: 3-5 mins)

TASK: You have now read about all the three teachers (between A and B) Look through the texts again and find expressions the teachers are using to describe themselves on a course, and their peers. Choose those expressions or collocations that you might find useful in your own language use.


  • What do all the three teachers have in common?
  • Where do you think they come from? Why do you think so?
  • Could they all be in the same training group on the same course? Why, or why not?
  • Where do you think the author comes from?
  • What relationship does the author have with the teachers in the texts? (a colleague? a peer trainee on that course? a trainer? a friend who is not a teacher? another idea?)
  • Is there anything you would like to ask the author about?
  • What do you think the title for the three texts would be? Can it be one title? Why, or why not?
  • If you had a chance to talk to the teacher(s) in the text, what would you say to them? What advice could you give? (both professionally and personally)
  • Would you like to talk to the teachers? Have you ever met teachers like them in your life? How do you feel after reading what they shared?
(T notes: all the three texts were originally published on Michael Griffin’s blog here).

Answers – reading 2

grid answers

answers – reading 3

answers lg

Authors’ bio notes:

ZhenyaPolosatovaPic [3665352]Zhenya Polosatova is dividing her time between teacher- and trainer training and curriculum design/development. Over the last 15 years she has also worked as an EFL teacher to children and adults, educational consultant, and an academic manager/director. Zhenya’s area of interest and passion is applying reflective practice in teacher education and continuous professional development for teachers. She blogs here and is a co-founding member of PTEC, or Pioneer Training and Education Consortium offering a range of services from curriculum development to teacher training. PTEC website can be found here.

Michael Griffin-0013-Edit_FB [3522994]Michael Griffin has been involved with English teaching for 15 years. He has worked as a teacher, teacher trainer, trainer-trainer, curriculum developer, substitute teacher, assistant director, and mentor. Intercultural awareness, world Englishes, curriculum development and reflective practice are some of his main interests. You can find his blog here.


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5 years ago

Thank you very much for posting the plan – and thank you for starting this page, and this project!

Kevin Rodriguez
5 years ago

Awesome lesson plan. Keep up the great work. Greetings from Germany.


[…] This is the first lesson plan for teacher training to appear on TEA. Pop back to the Activities and Lesson Plans section every now and again as it will be regularly updated with lesson plans for ES…  […]


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