Monday, 30 April 2012

Cool Link: Scholastic

If you're like me you remember getting monthly scholastic brochures at school listing all the neat books and things that you could buy. Now Scholastic has two websites that can help you out. Scholastic's main website has info for teachers, parents, kids, administrators, and librarians.

They also have a teaching resources page with resources such as student activities, books and authors, as well as their products for sale. Since Scholastic is an American company, they have lots of ESL and EFL material that you should check out if you teach children and young learners.  Most of their material is aimed for children ages 3-12 and a lot of it is free.

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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Hot Topic: Quitting Your Job

Teaching contracts are usually for 4, 6, 10, or 12 months, so when a teacher quits, it can reflect badly on them. Some people think that toughing it out is the best thing to do since their contract will soon be over. Others believe that they should quit as soon as possible and move on to a better job.

What do you think?
Have you ever quit? What made you leave your job?

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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Job Site: Saxoncourt

Saxoncourt has jobs as well as TEFL cert courses.  As far as their jobs go, they have openings in China, Italy, Japan, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Taiwan, and Vietnam. They've been in the field since 1989, but you need to understand that they're recruiters. For example, in Asia, they often recruit for Shane English Schools, which doesn't have the best reputation.

Remember that some people hate recruiters and others love them. What I can say is that some of the info on their site seems way too good to be true. For example, pay is Peru is about £1300, which roughly works out to $2000. This is more than I got working for an international school in Peru. With most language institutes in Peru you're going to be making about $600 a month. They also claim that it takes about 6 months to get a working visa, when it usually only takes a month or two.

If you do a search for Saxoncourt on Dave's ESL Cafe you'll see that most people portray Saxoncourt in a negative light. I don't have first hand experience with them, but just reading their information about Peru makes me think that it's too good to be true. In addition, they recruit for countries where it's easy to find a job on your own. With the exception of Italy and Spain (if you don't have an EU passport, but even then the Ministry of Education has programmes for non-EUers) and Peru (you can find free lists of schools at The LA Job List), you can pretty much send out your CV after answering a job advert and get jobs in these countries. If I were you, I'd give them a pass and try to find a job on my own.

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Cool Link: Amored Penguin

If you're looking for fun and games, check out Amored Penguin. You can make wordsearches, crosswords, word match puzzles, word scrambles and more.

They also have a program which helps people use logic, a math page, illusions, paper cuttings, and freshwords. Amored Penguins is great for making puzzles and games to review the concepts you've taught in class.


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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Quick Tip: Plan Ahead

If you've taken a TEFL cert course you'll know that lesson plans are necessary. However, the lesson plans that you have to do in your TEFL cert course often take too much time to make because they're so detailed so teachers often stop making them all together.

While I understand their point, I also think that it's important to plan what you're going to do in the next class as well as know what you're going to do a month or two from now.

Looking over material ahead of time and finding supplementary material as well as planning how long things will take will greatly help you. You might also want to make a simple schedule of what you're going to do for the entire semestre. It will help keep you on track and when you teach the class again, you won't have to start planning from scratch.


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Monday, 23 April 2012

Cool Link: National Geographics for Kids

National Geographics has a long standing reputation for its quality magazines and now they have a website dedicated to children, National Geographics for Kids.

With games, animals, photos, and stories, you're sure to find something you can use in your class. Alternatively, try assigning one of their activities for homework. National Geographics is great and it's wonderful to see kids getting interested in the world at such a young age.


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Sunday, 22 April 2012

Hot Topic: Plagiarism

It has gotten easier for students to plagiarize because of technology and the internet. It's also gotten easier for teachers to detect with programmes such as TurnItIn. The problem is that in some countries plagiarism isn't seen as a big issue.

Sometimes teachers simply overlook it because administrators tell them to turn a blind eye. They don't see plagiarism as stealing, but like borrowing. Teachers often feel like they're fighting an uphill battle since no one will support them.

What do you think?
How is plagiarism viewed where you work? Do your administrators back you up?

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Thursday, 19 April 2012

Job Site: KOE Knowledge of English

KOE Knowledge of English is a franchise based in Latin America. They currently have institutes in Colombia, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela.

Their site is in Spanish, so you might have to use google translate if you don't speak Spanish. While they don't advertise jobs per se, they do have a section called "paises and sedes" which means countries and institutes as well as a "contactenos" contact us section. So if you're looking to work in Latin America, you might want to take a look at KOE. You should also read the FAQ for Latin America if you'd like to teach there.


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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Cool Link: Songs for Teaching

Songs for Teaching have tons and tons of songs, lyrics, and sound clips to help you in the classroom. They have songs about math, science, seasons, songs for young learners and songs for special education. They help your classroom come alive with music.

Everyone learns differently and there are a variety of learning styles out there; music is just one of them. The more learning styles you can integrate into your class the more likely your students are to learn. So be sure to take a look at this website and use some of their songs in your next class.

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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Quick Tip: Take Time to De-Stress

Job burnout can happen to anyone, but the best thing to do is to take time out and de-stress. Technology and the pressures of living in this day and age don't help either.

There are different ways that people can de-stress. Some people read a book, watch a movie, have coffee with friends, or just sleep. Find out more ideas by reading getting over job burnout. Pick something that works for you and remember to de-stress every day.


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Monday, 16 April 2012

Cool Link: NASA Kids' Club

Science can be fun and exciting and NASA Kids' Club has photos, videos and interactive material about the US Space programme.

They've got games such as Elmo visits NASA as well as a What's New section and a section that shows where the space crew is right now. The neat sounds, lights and colours are sure to keep kids interested as they find out more about science. They have tips for teachers and parents as well, so check out their website.


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Sunday, 15 April 2012

Hot Topic: Being Farmed Out to Other Schools

Some employers have no issues in having their teachers work at various schools around the city. They can get away with paying the teacher as little as possible and the other schools end up lining the employer's pockets.

Employers who do this have no conscience and are just in education for the money. Try to avoid these employers; you can often tell if an employer is going to farm you out to other schools from their adverts. Recruiters might also try to farm you out, but that's a whole other discussion. The best thing to do research about an employer before signing on the dotted line.


What do you think?
Have you ever worked for an employer who sent you out to different schools? What was your experience?

Got an idea for a hot topic?
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Thursday, 12 April 2012

Job Site: International House

International House (IH) is well known in the TEFL world as a language institute as well as a TEFL training centre. IH Online Training, has free workshops as well as classes that you can pay for. Other IH centres around the world offer the CELTA and other certs, such as the IHCTL (IH certificate in teaching languages) well.

IH also has a job site if you're interested in working in one of their institutes. They've changed the recruitment process slightly as you can now interview at a number of IH schools worldwide. They have jobs for TEFL teachers, DoS positions, teacher trainers, and teachers who can teach other languages besides English.  The nice thing about working for IH is that like the British Council, you can transfer to another school in a different country, thus allowing you to teach your way around the world.

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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Cool Link: Prongo

Prongo makes learning fun, interactive, and educational with free games, e-cards, jokes, downloads, brain teasers, cool links, and a quiz station. Aimed at children aged 3-12, there's lots of fun activities to use in class or assign as quick homework assignments. So try using Prongo with your young learners or children next class.


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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Quick Tip: Don't Work Illegally

I'll admit that in some countries around the world, it's pretty easy to teach EFL illegally. Border hopping is quite common or you can simply overstay your visa and pay a fine.  While this might be fine and well for some people, if you want to be respected as a teacher and make pave the way for future teachers, you really should be working legally.

Working illegally means that you're at your employer's mercy and you're breaking the law. To make things worse if you get caught there could be serious consequences. Border hopping might work, but what happens if you're not let back into the country? There are just too many issues with working illegally, so do the right thing and get a work visa and work permit.

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Monday, 9 April 2012

Cool Link: How Stuff Works

For curious teenagers and adults, How Stuff Works is great for trivia or science classes.They have lots of topics such as animals, autos, culture, science, and entertainment. You can read and comment on the articles, but that's not all they have available.

They also have shows and videos, such as the Coolest Stuff on the Plaet and Stuff You Should Know. Definitely worth checking out because you'll be sure to learn something new.


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Sunday, 8 April 2012

Hot Topic: Recruiters

Rarely are people on the fence when it comes to recruiters: they either love them or hate them. Those who love them say that recruiters do all the work for them, find them a job and help take care of the paperwork.

Those who hate them say that they're only concerned about themselves and getting paid and couldn't care less about the type of job they place the teacher in.

What do you think?
Have you used a recruiter to get a job? What's your opinion of recruiters?

Got an idea for a hot topic?
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Saturday, 7 April 2012

Poll Results March 2012: How much longer are you planning on teaching abroad?

March's poll was "How much longer are you planning on teaching abroad?" Here are the results.
  • 1 year or less: 33% with 4 votes
  • 2-3 years: 8% with 1 vote
  • 4-5 years 17% with 2 votes
  • 6-9 years: 17% with 2 votes
  • 10 or more years: 25% with 3 votes
It appears that most people are at opposite ends of the spectrum. They either are in TEFL for the short-term or the long haul. Be sure to vote in April's poll: "What's your highest qualification?"

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Thursday, 5 April 2012

Job Site: Inlingua

Another franchise with centres around the world, Inlingua doesn't only teach English, but a variety of languages.  Like Berlitz they have their own method, which you can find out by watching their video online.

If you're interested in teaching English with Inlingua you'll usualy need to have experience or a TEFL cert. They may only accept certain nationalities for some countries (such as those in the European Union) or ask that you already have a work permit.

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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Cool Link: Woodlands Junior

TES has stated that this website is the most visited school website in the UK. Woodlands Junior is a school for children aged 7 to 11 in England.

They have lots of information about a variety of topics such as British life and culture, science, geography, history, the British royal family, games, and other neat things to use in your class. They also have a link to a site for homework help. If you teach primary and middle school children, then you're going to want to take a look at this site.

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Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Quick Tip: Learn How to Budget

It's easy not to do things and budgeting is no exception, but it's necessary unless you want to be living paycheck to paycheck. English teachers often get sucked into thinking that things are so cheap in the country they live in so they don't budget.

However, this is exactly why they should budget. Flights back home are still pretty expensive and in case of an emergency or a late paycheck, you should make sure you have funds available.

There is lots of information available out there on how to budget. The main thing to remember is to create a budget and stick to it. It might be hard at first, but you'll reap the rewards later. Try reading creating a budget to help you get started.


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Monday, 2 April 2012

Cool Link: Eye Witness to History

Watch history through the eyes of people who lived it is what Eye Witness to History is all about. From the Ancient World to the 20th Century, this website makes history come alive.

If you're teaching at an international school or your students' English is advanced, then I highly recommend using this website to teach Social Studies and History. History doesn't have to be boring and with topics such as how to make an ancient Egyptian Mummy to the Return of a Fugitive Slave, your students will be captivated for hours.

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Sunday, 1 April 2012

50 Ways to Get High Evaluations From Your Students

Updated 5 February 2014

Special thanks go to Sherri at ELT World for her help with this article.

Many evaluations aren't written very well, so they're not very accurate. However, that doesn't stop management from using them. Unfortunately student evaluations count for a lot on the job and may even decide whether or not you get re-hired.

Here are some suggestions on how to get better student evaluations, some are great and some are odd. You'll see that some of the advice conflicts. However, all of these are suggestions I've heard from other teachers over the years. 

The basics
  1. Dress nicely when you go to class.
  2. Start class on time.
  3. Give students a five minute break.
  4. End on time or even a couple minutes early.
  5. Return homework promptly.
  6. Learn their names and use them.
  7. Give students your email so they can contact you.
  8. Always be prepared for your class. 
  9. Don't take attendance.
  10. Teach upperclassmen; they usually give higher evals than freshmen.  
  11. Ask your students for high evals. They have no problem grovelling for their grades
  12. Smile!
 
Expectations
  1. Have students write down their goals and review them often. 
  2. Write the class aims and objectives on the board every class.
  3. Give an end of the semester speech on how they're the best students that you've ever had.
  4. Treat all students fairly.
  5. Give students a clear idea of what you expect at the beginning of the semester and don't change it. 
  6. Give clear instructions. 
  7. Make sure that the students always know the purpose of the activity and how it meets your aims.
  8. Praise students when they do something well and explain why.
  9. Lower your expectations and do "I say, you repeat" activities.  
  10. Give students feedback and help them understand how to improve.
  11. Coddle them: let them know exactly what's on tests, quizzes, remind them about homework, etc.

Class activities
  1. Motivate them with food or candy.
  2. Don't play too many games.
  3. Do daily silent reading or journaling. 
  4. Hold class outside
  5. Have students tell each other what they've learnt at the end of class. 
  6. Play a couple of games every once in a while.
  7. Have a movie day.
  8. Have a debate or discussion day.
  9. Don't do role-plays.
  10. Ask students for feedback about your lessons
  11. Make small talk during the lesson so that you show interest in their lives.
  12. Let students use their phones in class.  
  13. Give students choices about what activities they can do.

Grading
  1. Don't tell students their grades before they give you their evaluations.
  2. Offer extra credit points.
  3. Give long, hard exams.
  4. Have students choose their partners for speaking exams. 
  5. Don't take points off for the nitty gritty stuff.
  6. Be strict so that they'll be grateful when they don't get a C.  
  7. Grade fairly
  8. Have students make the questions for the exams and quizzes.
  9. Grade on a curve.
  10. Be transparent with your grading and allow students to see their grade. 
  11. Don't tell students their grades before they give you their evaluations.

Outside of class
  1. Be available and hold regular office hours. 
  2. Don't give too much homework.
  3. Don't give any homework.

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