Tips for the new academic year!

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The summer is ending (unfortunately) and it is time for many new teachers to go abroad and experience their first proper post CELTA job and a time for many returning teachers to get back into the teaching zone. Here are some tips, collected from several teachers, about how to start the new academic year, some are obvious, and maybe some will be very helpful indeed.

Continue reading “Tips for the new academic year!”

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A day at a Summer School in England

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Working in a Summer School happened to me through a random job application, whilst unhappy with my job in Spain. I applied; I left it and I didn’t think anything of it, but what I didn’t realise was that the 8 weeks I do every year would serve as the best teaching environment and experience I would have as a teacher, despite being in Spain for 3 years.

Not only was I being paid over the summer, which for many teachers is a dream, I got to do so in the city I went to University and where most of my formative years occurred. I could choose either 15 hr weeks or 30 hr weeks and I had a say in what levels I was interested in teaching, so as to help with my career development, something the school takes seriously, and although only an 8 week contract, I honestly felt a better teacher for it and that my skills had actually developed. I learnt a lot of new activities to use in the classroom and I actually got to use my CELTA knowledge.

To give a better idea of my experience and hopefully many others, here is what I did on a typical day in a typical 30hr week: Continue reading “A day at a Summer School in England”

André Hedlund: How teachers can inspire and be inspired by teaching

Guest blogging for us is André Hedlund with his inspirational story about teaching in Brazil and why being a teacher is so important.

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My name is André Hedlund and I’m a teacher. But I’m not just a teacher. I’m an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher in the country that currently holds the 63rd position in science skills, 59th in reading, and 66th in mathematics according to OECD’s PISA survey. These numbers would alone be bad, considering that there are almost 200 sovereign nations in the world, however, they’re even more disastrous when we realize that only 70 nations were assessed. I live in Brazil and I am certainly not proud of my country’s current educational status. Now, if you are reading this, after you finish, take a few moments to check where your country stands and answer yourself the following question: “Am I proud of my country’s position?” If you’re not, I hope my text will help you find the strength to pursue your mission of changing that scenario. If you are, I hope my text will make you realize how much you can contribute to the world’s teaching community and help peers become transformation agents.

Continue reading “André Hedlund: How teachers can inspire and be inspired by teaching”

5 things to watch out for when looking at EFL job advertisements.

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There are many many websites that you can browse to find the perfect TEFL job, however the sheer amount can at times be overwhelming and what may be the perfect job can descend into a nightmare quite fast. Making sure you pick the right job is make or break for any teacher and sometimes the adverts, and what you get when you arrive in your destination, can be vastly different. All jobs come with a danger of not meeting expectations but having some knowledge of what to look for and what to avoid may just be the difference between walking into a disaster and walking into a damn good time.

My most obvious piece of advice is don’t let where you want to go cloud your judgement. I’ve heard it so many times: Continue reading “5 things to watch out for when looking at EFL job advertisements.”

Conversation classes 101

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Before I came to Spain I only had a vague knowledge of conversation classes and it was not a point that was really focussed on during my CELTA. However after arriving in Spain i soon realised how popular they were and all the problems that can come with this interesting concept of solely speaking for an entire lesson.

I’m not entirely sure where this idea of everyone must have a conversation class comes from , as improvement in all areas of language is valuable and as the skills are interlinked it seems in my opinion quite strange to focus and be obsessed only with one. I can’t see a conversation class being effective for anyone under B2 level (free to disagree). Below this level, speaking can be incorporated into any lesson and specific focus on pronunciation and fluency can also be done here. For higher levels a conversation has the benefit of focussing purely on speaking for the whole class time and within that you can focus on very specific student speaking problem1s or the more wider overall fluency and it gives students enough time to switch their minds into English mode and really test what they know and how they can express themselves.

Either way, in Spain (and most of Europe) you will be asked to do them so here are some pointers that might help you. Some are common sense and some might just make the difference between a successful class and unsuccessful one. Continue reading “Conversation classes 101”

5 things pupils ask that you wish they wouldn’t

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Welcome to students say the darndest things or should I say any EFL class anywhere. It can be a hoot and a holler teaching them to an outright existential crisis causing nightmare. Here are some of the more humorous episodes that we’ve experienced, perhaps you can relate and add some more in the comments. Continue reading “5 things pupils ask that you wish they wouldn’t”

5 things not to ask an EFL teacher

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Strange questions are abound in our field so we thought we’d add to the list of peculiar inquisitions we put up with in our most humble of fields.

1.Are you a native?/ You speak very well for a non-native.

Guess what people, not everyone is a native speaker, judge me on my qualifications and experience not my passport. Yes yes ‘student preference’… ‘ EU discrimination’ and so the wheel turns but it is infuriating and inevitability followed with “wow your English is good for a non-native”. Well no shit Sherlock I’ve been studying it for 20 years.

Continue reading “5 things not to ask an EFL teacher”