Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be an English teacher! It was because my mum was my kindergarten teacher. She was so creative, engaging and inspiring that I wanted to be a teacher just like her. I had my own chalkboard at home and I was always the teacher when we played “school” with my friends. I think I’ve always had this huge passion for teaching and, today I have been an English teacher for eight years in Istanbul, Turkey. (more…)
Stories from the Front Lines of EFL
Individual teacher stories of teaching EFL around the world
Committed to learning
After 20 years in the EFL classroom, I still learn new things all the time. Certainly, here in Japan, the students are completely different than they were back in 1989; in those days, they all sat up straight, had their hair braided back and always made an effort (or pretended to, anyways) whether they liked English or not. These days, things are a little more… normal, for want of a better word. The students make me work harder to get their attention, and they don’t try, if they are not interested in my lesson. I’ve had to grow as a teacher and adapt my lessons over the years. Here is a glimpse of my context, my approach and my challenges with my junior high school students at this particular point in my career: (more…)
Hi. I’m a British woman who has been living and teaching in Japan for thirteen years. I have lived in Fukushima (yes, THAT Fukushima) city for the last ten of those and work at a women’s college. I have an MA in TEFL from the University of Birmingham, England. I am currently days away from giving birth to my second daughter and getting ready to leave the city I have come to regard as my home and embark on a new life in Sendai city. Here are five, very small, contextually specific observations/things I wanted to share on my life as a teacher. I hope you find them of interest. If not, I hope you come up with your own and ask Barbara to share them here. (more…)
I’m a native Brit who loves languages. I did my CELTA during my final year of uni when I was studying French, German and Spanish. Once I’d finished my degree I decided to head straight to Europe and start my English teaching adventures, but rather than going somewhere where I could already speak the language, I took the plunge and went to the Czech Republic, a country which I didn’t really know that much about, but where there was a job available at a good school.
I am teaching in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery school in India. The area surrounding the school is rural; we have fields of ginger and coconut trees. The school is provided for the monks that live in the monastery and is entirely funded through the monastery. I see the students for one class a day. There are no out of school activities; these students study Buddhist subjects both before and after school. (more…)
In case some of you didn’t know it, Second Life (SL) is a relatively new country where the rules of Real Life (RL) often don’t apply. For instance, you can fly and teleport from one place to another in the blink of an eye. It’s an interesting place to work as a teacher, although jobs are hard to come by.
I consider myself one of the fortunate ones, having been able to earn a living working in Second Life since 2006. I’m busier than ever there and am writing this to share with you a typical week in the life of an avatar teacher. (more…)
To teach is to touch a life forever.
I have been trying to enhance my teaching with the new technologies since 1997 when I created my first web page while attending a seminar on New Technologies in Modern Language Teaching in Finland. But everything I did over those twelve years was nothing compared to what I have been doing since I joined Twitter and built my PLN in April 2009.
Today my students and I use technology to connect with students and teachers from all over the world. We tweet, we ning, we skype, we glog, we wiki, we blog … we learn, we understand, we respect. (more…)
“Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”
I started blogging to explore a belief that “we are stronger, better teachers when we work together, share our knowledge, and connect with others.” I’m only marginally better at the tech stuff now than I was at the start, but I’ve learned a lot about the power of the internet to create a community of teachers.
Do you remember the Indian fable about blind men describing an elephant? Depending on which body part they touched, they described a very different animal.
At times, trying to describe English as a Foreign Language for young learners feels a bit like describing an elephant. There are two things common to young learner EFL classes: they are taught in countries where English is not the dominant language, and students rarely have exposure to English outside of class.
Beyond this, young learner EFL can be a very different beast. Students might be as young as 2 or as old as 17. Teachers may speak English as their first language, or English may be their 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) language. Some teachers work in international schools, some work in private schools, and some work in public schools. Some classrooms have technology tools available. Some classrooms do not. Some teachers use textbooks. Other teachers create their own materials. And still others do a little of both.