Standing in front of a classroom full of eager students can be nerve wracking. The best way to reduce your stress is to make sure you've painstakingly planned the class ahead of time. Creating a lesson plan also lets you refine the techniques you will use and prepare students for what will happen in the future. In order to write your own lesson plan for teaching English, it may be useful to look at a sample you can subsequently modify and make your own.
Administrative Work/Getting Students in the Mood
Part of a teacher's duties include taking attendance and collecting whatever homework may have been due. Performing these checks at the beginning of class lets your students know what you expect of them. (It also discourages them from being late to class!) Students are seldom immediately in the mood to get down to business. Ease them into the right state of mind by starting your discussion with some easy questions. Perhaps you can ask students to let you know about cool books or articles they have read. You can even talk about movies or television shows, so long as you discuss their more literary aspects and give students ideas they might not otherwise have considered.
Distribute copies of the Edgar Allan Poe poem, "Annabel Lee." The poem features few complicated vocabulary words, making it accessible for students in lower-level English classes. The poem is also deep enough to satisfy older students. Ask a student to read it aloud, so the class can hear the aural qualities of the poem. Ask students to describe the elements of the poem. They will often note the alliteration (repetition of letter sounds) and the sadness of the poem's narrator. You can also have a student write these elements on the board to help students develop their thoughts on the poem.
Split the class into groups of three or four and ask them to work together on an interpretation of the poem. There are many possibilities, and the best part of English class (as you should emphasize) is that they're all correct interpretations, so long as the students provide enough evidence. Work around the class, allowing the groups to discuss their interpretations of the poem. Emphasize the unique aspects of each group's work. For example, students come up with lots of creative theories on how Annabel Lee (the character in the poem) died.
Tie everything together by asking students what they learned. As they repeat these ideas back to you, the process is more firmly rooted in their impressionable minds. The overall concept with which the students leave is a personal decision for the teacher, but this sample lesson is a great way to teach students that it is fun to put thought into literary works, and that this skill transfers into their real lives. For example, if a fellow student is giving them a hard time, they can consider all possibilities to explain why this might be the case and arrive at a more peaceful solution than if they hadn't considered these reasons.