4 TEFL Letdowns

Teaching Children

Expectation:
We’ll sit in a circle, sing The Wheels On The Bus, play Pass the Parcel and do endless rounds of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes…

Reality:
Kids. Running. Everywhere.

too much

 
The Work Week

Expectation:
The hours are kind of crazy but at least I’ll have the whole weekend to recuperate.

Reality:
yeah-Im-gonna-7vl74t

 
Pay Day

Expectation:
Yeah, baby! It’s pay day! I could use a lavish night out on the town.

Reality:

paid late

 
Communication between school administration and teachers

Expectation:
If my private class, all the way across town, gets cancelled, the school will notify me immediately so I won’t have to waste my time travelling there.

Reality:
I spend 40 minutes on a cramped bus, hike up an incredibly steep hill and my student never shows up. I call the school – they apologize for not letting me know.

Tom-Hiddleston

This post started off somewhat light-hearted but the more I wrote, the more bitter I got so uh, sorry about that. Just letting you know how it is.

Were you, in any way, disappointed by TEFL? Share your thoughts with the class.

Flaming Bob Marleys

Flaming Bob Marley Shots

Flaming Bob Marley shots at the Leprechaun Bar in Banos, Ecuador

I had the pleasure of downing one of these little babies when I was in Ecuador.

They’re made from rum, grenadine, mint and banana liqueurs and they don’t taste too bad either, so if you’re ever in Banos, make sure to stop by the Leprechaun Bar.

An Odd Border Crossing

This was by far the oddest border crossing I’ve ever done. And I’ve experienced a few in my day. Flashback to February 2013 – I had just begun a tour with G Adventures. Little did I know what I’d got myself into.

Costa Rica

We left Costa Rica’s hippy, beach town of Puerto Viejo and made our way to the border at Sixaola.  It took us about 1 hour. When we got to the government office, we signed immigration forms and lined up to get our passports stamped for departure. Then, our guide ushered us to the perilous bridge of doom.

Dun, dun, DUN!!!
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Triangular Oblong Robot Knobocop

That’s the name of the formula I was learning in my Monkey Mathematics class a few weeks ago. I wish I could tell you what made up the equation but I woke up before it was revealed to me.

My brain does some crazy things when it’s on autopilot.

I’m having a hard time interpreting this one – any thoughts would be welcome!

For other responses to today’s Daily Post, click here.

 

CELTA: Observations and Feedback

Photo Credit: @Doug88888 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: @Doug88888 via Compfight cc

The idea of observations and feedback is to target the areas you and your peers need to improve on so that you can teach better lessons as the course progresses.

What happens when I’m observing?
You observe your peers’ lessons and hopefully you’ll be able to pick up on things the students really enjoy so you use them in your own lessons. It does get boring at times but you can tune out for the tedious moments. Make sure you look like you’re paying attention, though. Nod your head every now and then – that should do the trick.

What happens when it’s my turn?
While you’re up there playing teacher, your peers and your trainer watch and take notes. Your trainer also reads through your plan and evaluates your performance. It’s odd to look back and have 6 pairs of beady eyes staring at your every move in silence, but once you get past your third lesson, you won’t even notice them anymore. Don’t panic (like I did), focus on your lesson and most of all, focus on your students’ reactions and respond to them naturally.

When you’re done, you’ll write a short statement about your performance. Then, your trainer writes their comments alongside yours, but doesn’t show it to you until after feedback, where the group goes over what went well with your lesson and the areas that could be improved i.e. what you screwed up. Dealing with criticism is difficult no matter how constructive it is. Try not to take it personally, but look at it as a way to ace your next lesson. Dwelling on the negative will only set you back, and there’s very little time to waste on this course.

Here are a few things you’ll be evaluated on:

  • Classroom management – How do you deal with troublemakers? How do you group your students? How do you stage fluency activities to maximise student participation?
  • Rapport – Do your students seem comfortable with you and do you get along with them well?
  • Teacher talk – Do you ramble on unnecessarily? Can you give great instructions? Can you grade your language to suit your students’ level?
  • Teacher voice – Do you speak audibly and clearly?
  • Effectiveness of activities – Do your activities help your students learn the target language?
  • Learner engagement – Are your students engrossed in your activities or are they bored and waiting for your lesson to end?
  • Conveying and checking meaning- How do you present new language? Do you ask good CCQs?
  • Modelling – Are you good at demonstrating intonation and pronunciation?
  • Correcting learner language – Do you correct on-the-spot or do you wait until the end of the lesson to bring it up?

In your day-to-day TEFL life, you’ll only be observed sporadically and the feedback you receive may not be as thorough as it is on the CELTA so make the most of it while you can!

8 Ways to Be Happy on a Long-Haul Flight

flight clouds

Peering out the window at 33,000 feet…

Over the years, I’ve grown to hate tolerate long-haul flights. Between 2003 and 2012, I travelled home for almost all Easter, summer and Christmas holidays. International flights became a regular part of my life. I’m fortunate to have been able to make these journeys, however, I’d be lying if I said the experience was always a relaxing one. I’ve put together a list things you should think about to make sure you’ll feel as comfortable as possible in economy class.

It all comes down to the seat. I usually go for a window seat. Partly for the view, and partly because it’s nice to have something to lean against when you’re sleepy. Also, unlike some passengers I’ve had the misfortune of sitting next to, I don’t tend to get up 50+ times to go to the bathroom. If you’ve got a dodgy bladder, do us all a favor and opt for an aisle seat.

Next, I look at the location of the seat. Try and pick a seat far from the lavatory. I was once stuck in a seat nearby, and the smell was awful for the entire flight – never again! Unless you want to sit up stiffly for the entire flight, avoid the last row of the cabin – they have limited seat recline. Seats in the exit rows have the advantage of providing that extra bit of leg room but they do come with a level of responsibility. If something goes wrong, you’ll have to step up and help the crew. If you’re anything like this guy,* then avoid these seats, too. Continue reading

9 Things To Do in Ecuador Besides the Galapagos

Ecuador is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and it’s jam-packed with things to see and do. What with the highlands, the coast, the avenue of volcanos, and the jungle – you’re spoiled for choice! Here are my top 9:

Explore the Amazon jungle. Learn about the Quechua traditions, make chocolate from scratch, see exotic wildlife, dig for gold, go canyoning, and swim in the Rio Napo.

Rio Napo in the Amazon

Rio Napo in the Amazon

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The Day I Jumped Out Of A Plane

Skydiving

It was January 1st, 2013 and I decided to tackle an item on my life list.I made a reservation with a skydiving company in San Diego, CA.

ON THE GROUND
When I got there, I filled out some paperwork stating that if I died, they weren’t responsible. Fair enough. I was introduced to my instructor, who showed me what positions I should take for jumping, free-falling and landing. I paid extra for a video so I could share the experience with my friends and family and boy, was it worth it!

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CELTA: The Application

A typical application starts with questions on your personal and contact details, your education history and recent professional experience. Then, you’re asked to write a statement about your motivations and what you intend to do with your certification.

Next, is where the real fun starts – the application task itself.

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