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Kids World

Topics of interest to teachers of English as a second or foreign language to young learners.

November 15, 2004

A Cup of Tea

Do you ever prepare tea for your students? I sometimes do when I feel l need a breather and I have a private lesson or there is a small class of six or less. While the children are copying the blackboard, I may ask them, "Would you like a cup of tea?" They learn how to reply, "Yes, please," or "No, thank you." Most of them say, "Yes, please," without any hesitation. I then go to the next room to prepare the tea. Upon my return, I place a cup of tea by their notebook and say, "Here you are," to which they reply quite naturally, "Thank you."

It is a small gesture on my part, but the students sense that they are special in my eyes. Since everyone copies the blackboard and does a dictionary exercise at the beginning of each class, it is soothing for them to sip some tea while doing these activities.

Sometimes a student refills my cup for me without my asking and I always reply with a big thank you and an equally big smile.

Sometimes, if I am busy with a lot of homework to correct, I will ask another student to go to the next room to prepare the tea. The student looks at this as an honor. When he or she returns to the room, the student, too, speaks English to the other students saying, "Here you are," to which the others say, "Thank you."

We keep a teapot in the center of the table, and students serve themselves if they want more. Sometimes a student refills my cup for me without my asking and I always reply with a big thank you and an equally big smile. Sometimes a dish of cookies is placed by the tea.

Sipping tea together is a simple yet intimate activity. And I think it sends signals to the students that they are grown-up in my mind and worthy of my respect.

When class if over, the students always put their teacups back on the tray as a courtesy to me so I don't have to do it.

Now that winter is approaching, that cup of tea may taste more delicious than ever; you may want to think about initiating this custom for special, small classes. It's amazing what a cup of tea can do to promote camaraderie in the English classroom!



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