Monthly Archives: March 2014

Recollecting

back to the future

Image courtesy of Mooshuu

Yesterday, I saw a tweet along the lines of, “If you could go back in time to your first year as a teacher, what would you say?” Good question. At first I wasn’t entirely sure what I would say, but the more I thought about it, the more it kept coming back to one thing: it’s not about me. Well, if that was all I would say, the younger me would probably say thanks and then move on. Also, if that is all I wrote today, you would be fairly disappointed in this blog post and might never return. For the sake of the skinnier Nathan and all those who dare enter this blog, here is what I could say in more detail. [Note: this was also sort of covered by Mike Griffin, although his was primarily about conferences.]  Continue reading Recollecting

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Motivating

reward merits

Image courtesy of Marion Doss

This is one of those posts which started off with one idea and then ended up following the rabbit down the hole. Welcome to my Wonderland (it isn’t actually that wonderful, except in my mind).

Yesterday, ClassDojo announced the addition of messaging to their service. Being that I am not a K-12 teacher, I haven’t really looked at ClassDojo that much since I am not in their target market. After saying that, I decided to take a closer look at ClassDojo, not because I am interested in using it, but because something about the concept doesn’t sit right with me. Instead of me making a rash judgement based on a few morsels of information, I decided to dig a little deeper. That led to me to something else, which led to something else, and eventually to this blog post. I hope this make more sense once I have finished writing this. Stick with me. Either this will be something interesting to read based on the brilliant things I come up with, or it will be a train wreck where no one gets injured (except for my pride, but that happens often enough that I am used to it). Continue reading Motivating

Exploring

Trench sign

Image courtesy of  Danie van der Merwe

Teaching is a strange career choice. Think about it. For almost the entirety of your young life, your goal is to get out of school. You finally graduate from high school and you willingly choose to endure anywhere from 2-8 more years of formal education just so you can go back to the classroom. Why? What drives a person to return when they have the opportunity to run away and be free? I was never the best student and I certainly had my fair share of difficulties with bullies (I was almost always one of the smallest students and I certainly wasn’t one of the “cool kids”). My parents were both teachers and I swore I would never become a teacher. I saw the amount of extra time they had to put into their job at home and on holidays (anyone who says teachers have a free ride during the summer needs to have their head examined) and I thought, “Who would want to do this job?”

Well, here I am in my ninth consecutive year as an English language instructor and I still love my job. I love the fact that I get to meet so many amazing people, students and colleagues, and I selfishly enjoy it when someone leaves my class feeling they have grown in their language ability. Was it only because of me? Of course not, but I do hope that I was able to help in some way.

Continue reading Exploring

Considering

thinker

Image courtesy of Keith Kissel

I have a feeling this is going to be a rather short post, but this thought has been taking up space in my brain for too long and needs to get out. I also have a feeling that this isn’t going to be as clear as it seems to be in my head at the moment. Here goes nothing.

I think we have become lazy when it comes to preparing lessons. Okay, that is a bit harsh, but I think there is at least an element of truth to that. When I became an English language instructor back in [date as been removed to protect the age of the writer], we didn’t have the internet; we had to make our lessons from scratch! Actually, that isn’t entirely true, we did have a shelf full of books with some lesson ideas and photocopiable activities (thanks, Jill Hadfield!). I remember spending hours planning, prepping, cutting, glueing, copying, stapling, etc., just to get ready for the next day (I even used stencils and clipart!). I wouldn’t say that my lessons were anything fabulous (actually, I shudder in horror at some of the things that I did), but I did attempt to tailor my lessons to the group I was teaching.

My fear at the moment is that we have become so reliant on the what and not on the why. Continue reading Considering