In my case, I don’t know when I became a teacher. Maybe it was when my parents hung a blackboard behind my bedroom door. Maybe when I first arranged all my teddy bears and my little cousins as my first students. It might have started many years later when I wanted to drop out from my dreary Economics degree and I bought books about teaching, but I didn’t have the courage to actually follow through on my instinct (fate, desire, willingness) at that time. Maybe it happened when I left my bank job, went to Yemen and by chance ended up in front of 20 Yemeni men teaching them English. It might also have been when I came back to Spain from living in Laos and I studied Education. Or maybe it started a month and a half ago when I got my position to work in a primary school in a village in my home region of Extremadura, Spain. (more…)
Determined to arrive to her destination, she climbs up the steep slope, ignoring the surrounding thorns and other invisible dangers. What is her eventual reward? She has reached the peak right on time to feel the calming effect of a most memorable sunset.
This is how I personally perceive teaching to be: its initial joys give way to responsibilities, potential trouble in class and special needs to cater for. But every single time the teacher has the chance to witness the progress her class has made, all efforts are justified and there is a soothing effect on the soul. (more…)
When I first began teaching very young English language learners in Germany, I went a bit insane! Kids climbed the walls literally and flew the paper airplanes I had actually thought would be a creative lesson plan. With 14 children running around and yelling, “Shelly Belly” I nearly quit. At least they were using English, right? My extensive years of teaching had been to English speaking children who were much older and to English language learners who were in their teenage or college years. I did a lot of research, because I love a challenge. The tips I learned are included in the Glogster below, which you can click and explore! (more…)
At any moment between 4:30 and 8pm here in Spain, thousands of unqualified people are standing in front of children pretending to be teachers. This, however, is not a game of make believe played by kids with bits of chalk in their hands, but an extremely lucrative industry spread throughout every town and village on the Iberian peninsula.
…and it’s a game I play every weekday. (more…)
I teach in a rural area of South Korea at a couple of middle schools: one is located about 10 minutes about outside the city and has about 190 students whom I see three days a week; the other school is in the countryside (it’s adjacent to a rice field) and has about 32 students whom I see the other two days a week. The students are 13 to 16 years old and have varied backgrounds and competencies. While some are from white- or blue-collar families, others are from families that farm. What’s it like teaching these students? (more…)
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…)
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…)
Whenever I teach, I do all I can to present language so that it comes to life for the students. As an English teacher, I instantly become an actor in order to convey meaning for any new language being taught. I recall the first time I was teaching in a classroom in Taiwan, where every student spoke the same language. In order to communicate with beginning and elementary level students, clear gestures and the use of realia were essential. These helped create a context for the language so the students could grasp the meaning. (more…)
I’m always looking for ways to add a “thinking” dimension to class activities, and if I can do that with a lot of speaking, and reading, and writing practice then I’m a happy teacher indeed! (more…)
What is the meaning of life? To be happy and useful.
- Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
A real authentic smile of a student is worth every single minute you spend on giving them a reason for it. (more…)