Saturday, 31 March 2012

Hot Topic: Racism and Dancing White Monkeys

White is Best!
Gone are the days where anyone could get a job teaching English. Discrimination is here to stay. There's lookism, ageism (too old or too young), sexual orientation, name discrimination, sexism, and of course, racism.

If you're not white, you might have problems getting a job. Blond haired and blue eyed people have it easy. Even if you're white and have darker skin, don't be surprised if people ask you how you learned English or where your parents are from.

If you have a non-traditional first or last name, you'll probably also have issues with getting a job or during interviews. 

If you're black and trying to teach in Asia, avoid recruiters and hagwons owned by locals. Here's a study about racial bais in Korea, is South Korea really that unfriendly to foreigners?, and is Racism at Epidemic Proportions in Korea?

I've been told I look Indian, Colombian, and Filipina. Even in the US I can pass for Mexican, as long as I don't open my mouth. My family's from Europe (and from countries like Russia and Scotland), but have lived in the US for over 100 years. I married a man from South America and add his last name to mine. Despite the fact that I put being a native speaker, born and raised in the US, I still get people ask me how I learnt English or where my parents are from. I smile and tell them that I learnt English like they learnt their native language and that my family's been in the US practically forever.

Singing and Dancing
The dancing white monkeys often have to sing and dance in order for the school to get more students and keep their employers happy and keep the parents happy.

However, while singing, dancing, and playing have their part in the classroom, learning has to take place. My DOS at one of my jobs did a demo lesson for me to show me how she wanted me to teach. I couldn't help but be shocked when I watched a 20 minute lesson where she taught "come" and "go" while smiling and dancing around the room. I soon realised the students would never learn at this rate because they were only learning 2 words a day while giggling and running around the classroom.

There are probably a couple reasons why the dancing white monkey has come into the EFL classroom. First, employers may not always be educators; instead, they're in the business for the money. Second, teachers aren't as qualified as they should be. Some are only native speakers and may not have a BA or TEFL cert.

What do you think?
How common is the dancing white monkey teacher where you are? What advice do you have for teachers in this situation?

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Thursday, 29 March 2012

Job Site: English First

English First is a franchise that has been part of the TEFL world for quite a long time. One thing they seem to be famous for is moving people up the ladder very quickly. You just need 2 years teaching experience to become a DOS.

This means that if you stay with EF for a couple years, you could easily get a position in management or admin. They have many jobs in China, Russia, and Indonesia, but these aren't the only countries they have centres in. They have job openings all over the world, so be sure to check out their site to find out more.

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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Cool Link: A Game A Day

A Game A Day has Level 1 and Level 2 word games and puzzles for children and teenagers. While not specifically aimed at ESL and EFL learners, they have won many awards for using games, puzzles, and other material to entertain, and stimulate problem solving, learning, and creative thinking.

They can be played individually or as a class. Assign a game for homework and watch your students top complaining about homework and start asking for you to give them homework.  You've got to try a game a day; it's been used all over the US and the world.


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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Quick Tip: Prepare Yourself for Culture Shock

Everything seems neat, cool, and hunky-dory when you first arrive in a foreign country, but reality soons start to set in and culture shock takes over.  Culture shock is totally normal, even when you go to a country where you speak the language.

The best thing to do is read up on culture shock and know what to expect.  There's heaps on info out there, whether online or at your local library. You can start by reading this article on culture shock.


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Monday, 26 March 2012

Cool Link: Brain Pop

With cool videos and interactive quizzes, Brain Pop is perfect for children whether they're learning science, social studies, ESL, math, health, art, or music.

The bad news is that it's not all free. There is a free trial that you can sign up for. At one of the schools (an international one to boot) I worked at they tried to get a different kid to sign up each week for a free trail, but I wouldn't recommend that because that's not very honest.

If you're teaching kids, try to convince your school to purchase a subscription. They have BrainPOP, BrainPOPL Jr (K-3), BrainPOP Espanol, and BrainPOP ESL.  BrainPOP is great because it takes every day subjects and really makes them interesting.


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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Hot Topic: Teacher Evaluations

Updated 13 June 2014

There are probably four main types of teacher evaluations:
Let's look at those done by students. Although I think it's great to get feedback from students it can easily backfire.
  • First, if the students are ESL or EFL students, the evaluation should be written in their native language so that they understand. 
  • Secondly, students may not take them seriously enough and just whip through them. 
  • Third, the admin might put too much emphasis on student evaluations and may use them as a basis to renew a teacher or not. 
  • Fourth, students may use the evaluation to get revenge for a bad grade. 
  • Fifth, it raises a question of ethics and a shifting of power. Now students hold the power in their hands. Teachers are resorting to pizza parties and giving out grades like candy.  
  • Lastly, evaluations are often nothing more than a popularity contest thus really not serving their purpose.

What do you think?
Do you think students evaluate teachers fairly? How important are teacher evaluations where you work?

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Friday, 23 March 2012

F Visa Info on Will Wiggle's Blog

A couple weeks ago I wrote about a new blog for teachers in Korea and linked to the Private School Act (in Korean and English) on Will Wiggle's blog. Will Wiggle contacted me and asked if I knew anything new about the F visas (F2-S /F2-7, F2-99, and F5-A) in Korea.

I had previously been asked by Chris in South Korea (now writing for Travel Wire Asia) to write about F visas for those not married to Koreans, so I updated the info and sent it over to Will Wiggle. You can read more about them at wouldn't you like an F visa?

Once you get your F visa you could check out AFEK (started by Mike Yates aka Scouse Mouse on Dave's ESL Cafe and highly supported by T-J. Though AFEK has gotten a bad rap since they started due to a fight with ATEK. The owner has banned most of the users, threatened several prominent community members, and generally just killed the site.) or Geoju (started by crossmr on Dave's ESL Cafe and seems to be a much better group) or ExpatHell (which has an invitation-only forum).

Your Opinion 
What do you think about TEFLing in Korea?

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Thursday, 22 March 2012

ESL Educators Blog Carnival: March 2012, Open Topic

From site.catholicfavors.com
The topic of March's ESL Educators Blog Carnival was an open topic. People wrote about a variety of topics such as teaching in Latin America and how to study language in the US. You can read people's opinions on Wandering Educators.

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Job Site: Cambridge ESOL

Technically it's not a job site per se, but Cambridge ESOL has lists of teaching centres around the world where you can study teaching certificates such as the CELTA and the DELTA.

Most, if not all of these centres also need teachers to work for them. So here's how you can use this information to your advantage. Go to the site and find the contact information for the centres in the countries where you want to work. Go to their website or email them and enquire about job opportunities.  Good luck!


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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Cool Link: WebQuest

This site hasn't been updated since 2008, but there is still useful info that you can use in your classes. Webquest helps teachers find, create, and share webquests. They also have some useful resources that can help you out even more.


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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Quick Tip: Stay in Control of Your Class

Staying in control doesn't mean that you have to be a dictator in the classroom, but it does mean that students will stop and listen to you when you get their attention.

You can make a game out of playing and then stopping once you give a signal, such as clapping your hands three times, ringing a bell, putting your hand on your head, or something similar. Remember to reward students when they stop and listen to you. Verbally praising them as a class or singling out students as examples helps greatly.

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Monday, 19 March 2012

Cool Link: America's Library

The Library of Congress has put together America's Story which can be found at America's Library. It has information about the US aimed at young learners, children, and teenagers.

There's lots of information which is organised into 5 different sections:
  • meet amazing Americans
  • jump back in time
  • explore the states
  • join America at play
  • see, hear, and sing 
They also have a humour section and a road trip section. The great thing about this site is that it can be applicable to a variety of subjects, such as ESL, EFL, science, math, art, or music. Be sure to check out America's Library.

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Sunday, 18 March 2012

Hot Topic: Money vs a Flight Home

Many contracts stipulate that the employer buys a flight back home for the employee at the end of the contract. The problem is that not all employees go back home. Sometimes they decide to extend their contract, go somewhere else within that country, or go to a completely different country. If they do this, they often lose the flight that was promised to them.

The easy solution is for employers to give employees a set amount of money to help them pay for their flight. This would save the employees the hassle of going through the school to get their flight and it would guarantee them something even if they decided to not go back home. Employers may not like this option since they often work with a travel agent that gives them special deals and they might end up paying more in cash than they would for the flight.

What do you think?
Should teachers get cash in lieu of flights from their employers?  What do you get?

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Thursday, 15 March 2012

Job Site: British Council

I have to admit that I think the regular British Council websites are hard to navigate; however, their job site is simple and it's easy to find what you're looking for. They have a list of current vacancies in BCs around the world as well as information about working for the BS and how to register as a consultant.

Contrary to fact the British Council does hire people that aren't British. If you're interested in working for them, it's a good way to work for a prestigious organisation, add valuable experience to your CV, and have the chance to work in various centres around the world.

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Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Cool Link: Student News Net

From Britanicca Digital Learning comes Student News Net where they encourage people to share knowledge, participate, and learn. Since this site is aimed at students and children, they very concerned with children's privacy and safety while surfing the net.

SNN has weekly news quizzes, current events, in the news, blog about it, my notes, enrichment activities, build vocabulary, next steps, and classroom connections. So whether you're looking for a good website to connect your class with the real world or a good website that students can reference at home, be sure to check out Student News Net.


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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Quick Tip: Save Face

Saving face is an Asian expression, but most people around the world are familiar with the concept. It's similar to not embarrassing the other person you're talking to. In Asia you might have come across it when you ask for directions and rather than tell you they have no idea where something is, they just point you in any direction. While that can be particularly annoying, saving face will help you abroad. It's all part of learning about the culture.

Basically it means to be cool, calm, and collect. Don't confront your boss in a way that will cause them to get upset. Openly questioning them might also be a big no-no. Also, when being asked to do something you don't want to do (like work on a Saturday), rather than saying no outright, try beating around the bush, hemming and hawing and saying something like, "oh, that would be very difficult." Learning about face can be tiring, but it'll save you a lot of grief in the long run.


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Monday, 12 March 2012

Cool Link: Phonics World

Lots of free worksheets and activities can be found at Phonics World. They've got topics such as the alphabet, long vowels, short vowels, consonant blends, consonant digraphs, diphthongs, and a whole bunch more.

They also have useful information about learning disabilities that might help you out if you have students who have trouble learning. They've got tons and tons of information for teaching phonics to kids and young learners, so be sure to check them out.

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Sunday, 11 March 2012

Hot Topic: TEFL Diplomas

While many teachers are opting for masters degrees, teaching diplomas are being put on the backburner.  Masters degrees and diplomas serve very different purposes. It's generally agreed that masters degrees concentrate more on theory while diplomas concentrate more on practice.

While some diplomas, such as PGCEs are for those who want to teach at international schools, others like the Delta (there's now the Distance Delta and the Online Delta.) or Trinity Dip are for those who want to teach EFL and ESL. Both masters degrees and diplomas are useful and will help you continue your professional development and get a good job.


What do you think?
Should teachers get longer or permanent contracts?  What type of contract do you get at your school?

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Friday, 9 March 2012

Poll Results February 2012: How long is your vacation?

February's poll was "How long is your vacation?" Here are the results.
  • 1-2 weeks: 0% with 0 votes
  • 3-4 weeks: 30% with 5 votes
  • 5-8 weeks: 11% with 2 votes
  • 9-12 weeks: 5% with 1 votes
  • 17-20 weeks: 30% with 5 votes
  • more than 20 weeks: 24% with 4 votes
Seems like TEFL jobs are offering more vacation since no one has less than 2 weeks. For those of you who have more than 20 weeks vacation: I want your job! Be sure to vote in March's poll: "How long are you planning on continuing teaching?"

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Thursday, 8 March 2012

Job Site: Berlitz

Admittedly Berlitz isn't as famous as it was years ago, but it still has a reputation as being a good place to learn a language.  Berlitz has language centres all over the world as well, so you could literally work your way around the world with them.

They use their own method, but will train you if you get a job with them. If you want more info, be sure to check out the careers section at their website.


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Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Cool Link: Free Phonics Worksheets

If you teach kids or young learners, you're going to love this site. Free Phonics Worksheets has worksheets, sight word flashcards, lesson extensions, and even math worksheets to help you out.

Although the material is free, they do say that purchasing their audio material, such as CDs and DVDs would help. However, it's not necessary to purchase anything in order to use it.


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Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Quick Tip: Learn the Language

Most people are gung-ho to learn the local language when they move to another country.  Reality, work commitments, and people's personal lives soon take over so few people continue learning the language.

I won't say that I'm completely innocent either having tried to learn Korean for six months, then giving up after starting my second MA. I still try to learn a couple phrases though.

However, the point of the matter is that you should make an effort to learn the language. Learning a few simple phrases will make your life much easier and show the people of that country that you're making an effort to learn about their culture and customs.

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Monday, 5 March 2012

Cool Link: ESL HQ

Free flashcards, games, lesson plans, worksheets, activities, and more. ESL HQ also has a neat Q and A on the front page that should help you out in class as well. Their article section might give you some ideas for your classes and help improve your teachers. If you're feeling especially creative, you can try your hand at creating your own worksheets. Of course, they also have ESL and EFL jobs available around the world.


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Sunday, 4 March 2012

Hot Topic: Job Security for Teachers

In the past people would start a job at one company and end up retiring from that company years later. Those days are long gone, but some people's jobs are more secure than others. Teachers seem to get the short end of the stick.

ESL and EFL teachers sign contracts that might only last 6 or 10 months. The lucky ones get 1 or 2 years. There's no guarantee that teachers will get renewed and because of this, teachers have little incentive to be loyal to the school and help it grow.

What do you think?
Should teachers get longer or permanent contracts?  What type of contract do you get at your school?

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Friday, 2 March 2012

Job Site: Bell Worldwide

Bell Worldwide is a franchise, but they're a small franchise and are known for their quality teachers and lessons. They've got locations all around the world.  As well as teaching positions, they also have academic management and non-teaching positions, such as teacher trainer jobs and consultancy work.


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Thursday, 1 March 2012

Cheap Flights

Last updated 19 February 2016

Try to book your flight about one to three months in advance in order to ensure getting the best deal possible. Check with a few since prices can vary, also check to see whether or not taxes are included and what their refund policy is. Get Rich Slowly and Budget Travel have good tips. Airfare Watchdog has good information about fare classes and how they come into play with frequent flyer miles.


How to Get Low Fares
You can track airfare through sites like yapta and airfare watchdog. Try booking online though: hipmunk, ITA matrix, kayak, mobissimo, momondo,or which budget. You should also take a look at farecompare which has a airfare history chart that could help you decide when to buy and when to travel.

Remember price isn't the only thing that's important, check layover times and the number of flights that you will have to take. Make sure you get a good seat as well: seat guru will show you the best seats. Sometimes it's worth paying 100USD more if it means less time waiting and fewer flights.

Low Cost Carriers / Budget Airlines
LCC means basic. You can find some great deals, but you often have to pay for any little extra, such as meals, blankets, pillows, checked luggage, choosing your seat, etc. That being said, they will save you a lot of money.


Australia / New Zealand

Europe: County by country guide. If you're heading to London, you should look into buying the Oyster transport card.

North and South America
More information can be found at cheap flight to Latin America.


Other


Flight searches




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