Sunday, 1 May 2016

3 Reasons Why I Closed My LinkedIn Account

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I closed LinkedIn in September 2014 wary of what would happen when I deleted over 2,000 contacts and 3 dozen recommendations. Now nine months later, I have no regrets and feel less stressed thanks to backing away from social media. There were 3 reasons why I decided to close my LinkedIn account.
  1. Spam: It came in many different forms. There were people selling gold, asking for dates, and just random "just my business" spam. I didn't want to deal with any of it.
  2. Privacy: Lack of privacy was a big issue. Although I was partly to blame since I had so many contacts and had added my information, I wanted to get away from it and protect myself. I don't think everyone needed to know where I went to school, where I had worked, or what conferences I had been to.
  3. No leads: I had originally joined LI in order to network and learn about jobs. The only job offers I had were from pyramid scheme or multi-level marketing.
LinkedIn Isn't the End All
Some people never had a LI account. Others have decided that they'd had enough and closed theirs.
  • Chris Brogan closed his in 2012.
  • Doug Belshaw closed and then re-opened his account.
  • Finding the Forest listed a number of issues leading to why they closed their account. 
  • Heather Bussing from HR Examiner closed her account.
  • Simply Zesty closed theirs in 2011.
There are plenty of ways to network and get good jobs without using LinkedIn.

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Saturday, 2 April 2016

Allow Your Students to Give Themselves Participation Points

In 2012, I wrote a post about having students grade themselves and I still stand by that post today. I don't think it's fair for a teacher to judge how much effort a student puts forth. After all, you could get a student who's lived abroad and speaks English fluently, so English is easy for them. Or you could have a shy student who isn't comfortable talking in front of the class.

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I used to have students grade themselves at the end of the semester, but found that it was hard for them to remember what they did on a daily basis. Now I have them grade themselves at the end of each class. Below you can find what I do. Here's another rubric a teacher uses. It discusses participation, collegiality, and conduct. Some teachers downright refuse to grade participation. Here are their reasons why.

The first day of class I give them all a note card. They write their name, school ID, and class ID at the top. On the front there are two sections: Active and L1. On the back there are also two sections: Phone and Materials.

The first section is worth 3 points each. If they're active in class they can get up to 3 points. If they use their L1, they can lose up to 3 points. The back is worth 1 point each. If they didn't use their phone for texting or social media they can get 1 point. If they didn't bring their materials (pen, book, A4 paper), then they can lose 1 point. If they're absent, even if their absence is excused, they get no points for that day.

At the end of the semester, they add up all the points and subtract the points they lost. I then grade them on a curve and give participation points out in increments of 5. The top people get 25%. The bottom people get 5%. I don't usually give 0% for participation unless they never showed up or slept in every class. I've found this works as you have proof of their participation, makes grading easier, and students are becoming responsible for their grades. It's also much better to do this daily as they are more likely to tell the truth.

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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Is Not Getting Renewed the Same as Getting Fired?

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The short answer is no. There are many reasons teachers don't get renewed ,such as . . .
If you truly did something bad, a school wouldn't keep you on their staff and wait for your contract to run out. Don't take it personally. The bubble burst long ago and it's an employers' market.

Pick yourself, dust yourself, and move on. There are better jobs out there (the best TEFL jobs in the world is a good place to start looking) and you might as well get one of them. 

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Monday, 1 February 2016

Retroactive Job Requirements

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About a year ago I wrote about whether Korea was still a good place to teach in. There is an oversupply of teachers and it is definitely an employers' market. Many universities are taking advantage of this and some have decided to initiate retroactive requirements.

Take Sungshin University in Seoul, for example. Many people were hired there with only a BA. However, last year Korea decided to start requiring university teachers to have a BA + 4 or an MA + 2. This meant that they had to have at least that many years teaching at a university or equivalent and preferably this experience was in Korea.

What Sungshin University did was look at what teachers had when they were hired, not what they had then. That meant that even if you had an MA + 2 now, but only had a BA and no university experience when you were hired you weren't allowed to renew.

Having spoken to teachers who worked there it seems like they wanted to clean house. No notice was given and it's simply not logic. Yes, I understand that that's the requirement now, for new teachers. However, you should implement a current rule to teachers that have already been hired.

I'd love to hear your opinion. What do you think about retroactive requirements?

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Monday, 30 November 2015

Korea Teachers Pension Fund Guide (Private Pension)

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The KTPF (Korea Teachers' Pension Fund) has published a useful guide for foreigners in English about the pension scheme. There's info about retirement, taking a loan out against your pension, switching to the public pension, and more. Here's the link to PDF guide.

NB: I won't be blogging at TEFL Tips during December or January. While I'm on break you can read posts by other TEFL Tips authors as well as my other blogs. I will start blogging again at TEFL Tips in February.

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