Thursday, 31 May 2012

Job Site: Independent Schools of the British Isle

Independent Schools of the British Isle has a free searchable list of over 6000 independent, special, boarding, and international schools.

Whether you're looking at teaching at one of these schools or sending your child there, it's a great website to check out. You can search by postcode, distance, day vs boarding, boy, girl or co-ed, entry age, and school name. The ISBI has been around for over 20 years so you know you can trust the information they provide.

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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Cool Link: School House Tech

There are two different editions available at School House Tech, there's a free version and a paid version. Obviously they want you to purchase their resources, but you can try them before you buy them.

They have worksheet generators for math, vocabulary, tests, and bingo. They also have spell check dictionaries, word lists, as well as free sample worksheets. If you or your school is willing to purchase their materials, all the better, if not, then try to find free resources on other sites.


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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Quick Tip: Do Research

It's all too easy to get into a daily routine of lesson planning, teaching, and grading, however, that's not enough. You owe it to yourself and your students to continue learning.

There are lots of ways to improve your professional development. Attending workshops or conferences, online workshops, studying a short course that leads to a TEFL cert or diploma, doing a masters degree, getting a PhD, doing research, writing articles, getting into teacher training or mentoring, creating material for publishing companies are just a few ideas.

If you're interested in professional development, then take a look at these articles

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Monday, 28 May 2012

Cool Link: English Test dot net

While not the most organised website out there, English Test dot net has free English tests for EFL and ESL students. They say their tests will help students with TOEFL, TOEIC, SAT, GRE, and GMAT.

They've got grammar, synonyms, Business English, common errors, as well as idioms. At the moment they have over 2000 English tests available for your students to take. This website is useful for students who want to practice on their own and get the results then and there.

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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Hot Topic: Making More Than the Locals

Employers will be quick to tell you that as a TEFL teacher you'll be making two or three times what a local teacher makes. While this may be true, they're not giving you all the information they should be.

For example, the average local teacher doesn't have tens of thousands of dollars of student loans to pay back nor do they want to travel halfway across the world to visit their family every year or so. Budgeting is easier for them.

Local teachers often have local connections and knowledge of the local language. This means that they can buy things cheaply, may get benefits that you don't such as bonuses and pension, and may get somethings for free such as housing.

There are other things that you have to consider as well. Their English might be lower than yours, they might have to create fewer lesson plans or teach less.

On the other hand, they might be fluent in English, do more work, and teach more. They also might be certified teacher whereas many language institute teachers are often little more than native English speakers with degrees.

The long and short of it is that it's not fair to pay teachers according to their nationality. They should be paid according to their experience, qualifications, and work that they do.

What do you think?
How differently are local teachers paid than foreign teachers where you work? Who's usually more qualified: the local teachers or the foreign teachers? Why?

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Thursday, 24 May 2012

Job Site: Europa Pages

Not as good as it once was, Europa Pages still has a couple of good language teaching job adverts. They've got two sections for language teachers: English and Other Languages. The problem is that the English section has been taken over by recruiters from China.

If you're looking for a TEFL position, your best bet is to do a search otherwise you'll just end up scroll through tons of job offers for China, which, last time I checked is not in Europe. The Other Languages section has much less spam and is easier to navigate.

Europa Pages has other useful info, such as foreign languages, info for au pairs, free language courses, and useful links.

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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Cool Link: QuizStar

Making quizzes can be boring, but with QuizStar you can make fantastic quizzes easily. It's free and you can organise your classes and quizzes, use multimedia on your quizzes, make quizzes in a variety of languages, access your quizzes from anywhere that has internet, and allow students to review their quizzes afterwards. Best of all? It'll grade your quizzes for you. Try it out. What have you got to lose? It's free.


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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Quick Tip: Teach Your Students Learning Strategies

Everyone is different, so it should come to no surprise that people learn differently and use different learning strategies. Knowing about your students' learning styles can help you teach them some learning strategies.

For example, if one of your students is a musical learner, they would probably learn best if they could hum or create a song rather than just write. Do a bit of research about learning styles and learning strategies and you'll find that not only will your students enjoy your classes more, but they'll learn more as well.

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Sunday, 20 May 2012

Hot Topic: Learn English in 6 Months

I'm sure you've seen promises made to students about learning English in 6 months or come across info online saying that you can learn any language in 6 months if you use their method. So is it true? Can you really learn a language in 6 months? Well, yes and no.

Some people can learn a language in 6 months. Maybe they've got tons of time to dedicate to learning that language, are exceptionally gifted, or are learning a language that's close to their own (for example, a Spanish speaker should be able to learn Italian pretty quickly).

However, does this mean that they can be completely fluent in that language after only 6 months? A few rare people may be able to, but the majority of people won't. In fact, most people who just study a foreign language, but don't use it daily for work may become conversationally fluent, but not fluent-fluent. For example, I've spoken Spanish since I was 12, lived in 2 different Spanish speaking countries and use Spanish daily to communicate with my husband, but wouldn't consider myself fluent. I could write a research paper or give a formal speech in Spanish.

However, for most people, it takes a lot of work, dedication, and many years to learn a language well, especially if it's a vastly different language like Arabic or Chinese. 

So what should you do when you see these adverts referring to the fact that you can learn any language? Just take them with a grain of salt. Consider how difficult the language is, how much time you have to learn it, and under what circumstances you'll use it. You can also find some useful tips in learning the local lingo.


What do you think?
Do you speak another language? How did you learn and how long did it take for you to learn it?

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Thursday, 17 May 2012

Job Site: Dave's ESL Cafe

If you're an ESL or EFL teacher and haven't heard of people talk about Dave's, then you've been living in a bubble. Best known for its forums and job board, Dave's ESL Cafe has been around forever.

There are a couple sections to the job part of Dave's: the Korean Job Board, the China Job Board, the International Job Board, the Job Wanted (Resume) Board, Job Links, Post Your Resume, and Recruit Teachers.

While I wouldn't recommend posting your resume, the rest of the links are great. I don't think you should post your resume/CV because chances are the people who check out resumes are mainly recruiters. Think about it: if you wanted a teacher for your English school would you rather scour the boards looking for teachers or place an advert and have them email you? Recruiters on the other hand, simply email everyone and anyone who posted their resume, even if the job is in a country where they don't want to teach.

The TEFL jobs are pretty good. There are still recruiters, but the jobs, ranging from entry level to more administrative positions. There are even public schools in the US, the British Council, and teacher training positions. So check out Dave's next time you're looking for a job.


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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Cool Link: Puzzle Maker

If you're looking for games, such as word searches, math squares, mazes, cryptograms, hidden messages and more, then take a look at Puzzle Maker, a part of Discovery Education.

Some things are free, but you can get more by purchasing the Puzzle Maker CD-ROM. However, you don't need to purchase it to use the free material they have on their site. So whether you're looking for a filler, a warmer, or a cool down, try using one of their puzzles in your class today.


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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Quick Tips: Teach Your Students Test Taking Tips

Students might know the material, but then have problems on the tests. In order for your students to succeed, you need to teach them both the material and test taking tips. There are lots of test taking tips that you can find online, in your students' book, and in the teacher's book.

Try to organise the tips and teach them to your students over the course of the class. You'll find that they won't be as nervous when they take tests and exams, and they'll be able to use these test taking tips in their other classes as well. If you're looking for places to start, try looking at exam and test taking tips.

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Monday, 14 May 2012

Cool Link: Wilderdom

While not geared towards TEFL or TESL per se, Wilderdom still has some great games that you can use in your classes, whether you're teaching English or at an international school. They've got team building activities and ice breakers, both of which are good for the first day or week of class.

Their wamers and group games can be used throughout the semestre. They have a multicultural, cross-cultural, and intercultural section which is pretty neat as well. You can also check out their recently added games, most popular games, egroup posting games, as well as their links to other game websites.

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Sunday, 13 May 2012

Hot Topic: Life After TEFL

Admittedly TEFL teachers can have a pretty easy life. They can dress casually, classes may not start until the afternoon, and they may only have to prepare a couple lessons a week can be easy to get used to. Not to mention that some employers provide housing, flights, visas, and taxes are pretty minimal. That's not to say that all TEFL teachers have it this easy, but even if they their life is harder, it's often easier than jobs back home.

All good things must come to an end and while there are some lifers, many people get out of TEFL sooner or later. Some are only doing it as a gap year or two, while others might do it for 5, 10, 15 years and then decide to get out. Whatever your case, you're going to need to plan ahead. Think about how you can apply the skills that you're acquiring now to another career. Start your research now and work towards a goal. If you'd like to stay in TEFL and become a lifer, try reading, making a career out of TEFL. If you want out, then try reading transitioning out of TEFL. Remember, one plan is good, but having a backup plan or two, is even better.

What do you think?
Do you have a solid plan for the future? Are you in TEFL for the long run or just a couple of years?

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Friday, 11 May 2012

Cool Link: Handouts Online

If you're looking for professional ESL and EFL handouts, then try Handouts Online. They have a couple of handouts that you can use for free, but it's mainly a subscription based website.

They only charge $22 per year and that allows you access to over 300 handouts about a variety of subjects. They have handouts arranged by level as well as type, such as Business English, flashcards, instant lessons, quick fillers, reading lessons, telephone English, theme lessons, and vocabulary. So take a look at their free sample worksheets and if you like what you see, purchase the one year subscription.


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Thursday, 10 May 2012

Job Site: Wall Street Institute School of English

I first heard about Wall Street when I was taking my TEFL course in early 2003. There was a man who had taught in Mexico for two years at Wall Street and said they had some neat ways of teaching, mainly using technology.

While I'm sure their method has changed a bit since then, they're still a professional business looking for quality English teachers. You can find their jobs on the job seekers tab on their site. They have centres all over the world, so chances are wherever you're looking to go, they'll have a centre in that area.


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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Dos and Don’ts for Using Social Media as a Teacher with Your Students

The following post is from a guest blogger.

In this day and age, it seems that almost everything around us has gone digital. In order to keep up with the ever-changing times and remain current, school systems and classroom teachers are experimenting with ways to incorporate social media platforms into their lesson plans and classrooms. People pursuing teaching degrees these days learn ways to integrate technology into their lessons.

While students are most likely already using many of these platforms outside of school, do social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have a potential educational benefit that can be used in the classroom and implemented into their education?

We’ve devised a helpful list for teachers thinking about using social media as a way of engaging their students.

Research the potential social media platforms you’d like to incorporate into your lesson plans. Depending on the objective of the lesson plan, one platform might be better than another for achieving your goal with the students. Learn about what is out there and what will work best for your purposes. Social media can be broken up into about six different categories.
  • Social Networking – Social networking sites usually involve a profile feature and allow you to connect with others who have similar interests. Examples include Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Blogging – Blogs are ideal for sharing information and allow the user, in many cases, to have creative control. Blogs are useful platforms for holding discussions, as there are typically comment features incorporated into the blog to encourage readers to interact. Examples include Wordpress, Blogspot and Tumblr. 
  • Microblogging – Microblogging is a service like Twitter that allows short updates to be shared with others who are subscribed to receive the update. Another example would be a Facebook status update. 
  • Media Sharing – Media sharing involves any service that allows you to share media such as YouTube, Flickr and Vimeo.
  • Bookmarking Sites – Bookmarking websites help to organize various things found on the Internet, including articles, photographs and videos. Examples of book marking sites include Pinterest and Delicious.
  • Social News – Social news platforms allow users to link to news articles. The more people read or “like” an article result in how the item is displayed, separating more popular items from less popular items. An example of a social news platform is Reddit.
From forbes.com
Know the privacy settings of the platform you decide to use. Don’t risk putting your students in harm's way.

Make sure that whatever platform you decide to use is accessible to all of your students. In order to keep the classroom engaged as a whole and fair, all students should have equal access to the social media platform you choose. Students who may not have access to a computer at home may be at a disadvantage.

Be mindful that using social media platforms can lead to inappropriate content. Social media can be a great way to share information, but be know that some of these websites have no filter of what people can post. This should be a major concern.

Understand that these types of websites can easily be distracting. While these sites could potentially be very useful and beneficial, they could also be very distracting. Have a plan for how to avoid these distractions or how to deal with the distractions when they occur.

Realize that social media operates in real-time. It can be difficult to keep up as these sites are constantly being fed and updated.

Know that these platforms can limit face-to-face communication. Perhaps try to incorporate a balance into the lesson plan. One way to do this could be to assign homework that involves using the social media platform at home. For example, if the students have a reading assignment, perhaps their homework could be to post their thoughts to a class blog. Rather than ending the conversation there, a good idea might be to have a discussion the next day in classroom based off of the blog posts from the night before.

For more information about learning outside of the classroom, please visit www.accredited-online-colleges.org.

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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Quick Tip: Prepare for Reverse Culture Shock

Most people know about culture shock and try to prepare themselves for it, but not as many people seem to know about reverse culture shock, which can often be worse than culture shock. Reverse culture shock happens when you go back home after being abroad.

Some people experience reverse culture shock after a short vacation, but it often hits people hard after living, working, or studying abroad. Sometimes it's so bad that people move back abroad because they don't feel like they could fit it.

While abroad, you change and see the world differently. You might even think differently about your own country. You have new ideas and when you go back you find that people might not share those ideas. You want people to care about things that you've learnt while abroad, but they don't. Or you want to tell people about your experience abroad and they don't want to hear it. Things that are important to you aren't important to people back home and you can feel ostricized.

The best thing to do is to prepare yourself. If you're planning on going back home, have a plan and realise that you'll probably go through reverse culture shock. Try reading TEFL Tips' article on reverse culture shock.


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Monday, 7 May 2012

Cool Link: Great Group Games

This site has games for a variety of activities, may it be an ESL class, a baby shower, a birthday, camp, or anything else. It's free as well, so you've got to check out Great Group Games.

You can sort games by the size of the group, whether it's indoors or outdoors, age, the occasion, holiday, and type, such as ice breakers which are perfect for the first day of class. So whether you're teaching a camp, EFL, or at an international school, remember that games make learning fun.


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Sunday, 6 May 2012

Hot Topic: Negotiating Your Contract

Jobs are scarce nowadays and some people think we should be thankful for any job offer we receive. Others believe that we should wait for a good job and when we get a job offer, we should negotiate.

After all, not everyone is doing poorly; some people are making decent money. These people believe that since the company is charging a lot of money for English classes, they should pay their ESL and EFL teachers accordingly. Those teachers with experience and the proper qualifications should be paid well.

What do you think?
Do you negotiate when you get a job offer? Has an offer ever been reneged after you started negotiating?

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Saturday, 5 May 2012

Poll Results April 2012: What's your highest qualification?

April's poll was "What's your highest qualification?" Here are the results.
  • High school diploma: 20% with 4 votes
  • Bachelor's degree: 25% with 5 votes
  • Postgraduate certificate: 5% with 1 vote
  • Postgraduate diploma: 0% with 0 votes
  • Master's degree: 50% with 10 votes
  • PhD: 0% with 0 votes
It appears that more and more people are going for their master's degree which allows them to get better jobs with higher salaries and more benefits. Be sure to vote in May's poll: "What TEFL certificate do you have?"

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Thursday, 3 May 2012

Job Site: TESOL dot org

TESOL.org is a good website for all things ESL and EFL related. They have publications, conferences, job fairs, grants and scholarships and much more.

They also have a career centre where employers can post their adverts and you can view them for free. The site is a bit confusing to navigate. Once you get to the career centre main page, you'll be taken to "my account". In order to view the jobs, you have to click on the "jobs" tab.  If you want to apply to jobs, you'll have to create an account, but that's free.

The majority of the jobs on TESOL require more qualifications than a simple TEFL cert and a BA. Many of them also require some relevant experience. If you're looking to move up the TEFL ladder, then take a look at TESOL.org

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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Quick Tip: Lesson Plan

I don't have the fondest memories of writing lesson plans when I was studying to become a teacher. Come to think of it, I probably spent more time planning the lesson than teaching it. However, when you're writing a lesson plan for a grade and writing it because you're trying to organise yourself, there's a big difference.

Lesson plans are very useful as they can help keep you on track and know what to do in your class. They don't have to be super elaborate, just a couple of notes or sentences about what page you'll go over or what activities you'll do in class.

I never used to keep my lesson plans. I just started keeping a binder with lesson plans. They've got clear sheets. I put the lesson plan in and then behind it I put the supplementary material. One page is one day. It's great because you can easily modify it and don't have to frantically search for supplementary material at the last minute.


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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Bringing Your Spouse, Partner, Boyfriend, or Girlfriend

Updated 12 November 2014

If you're thinking about teaching abroad and would like to bring your significant other with you, you're going to have to plan a bit more than those who are single. An interesting article to read is how your spouse's personality influences your career. It's very true for those going abroad. There are two main issues that you're going to have to deal with: money and location. If you have children, you might also want to look at teaching with kids in tow.

Men who support their wives or girlfriends often have an easier time doing so than women who support their husbands or boyfriends. Each relationship is different, so make sure you know what you're getting into.

Partners who follow their significant other to another country are commonly referred to as trailing spouses. International Schools Review has written an article and people have shared their experiences in this article. If you’re married things will be a bit easier. Most country allow spousal visas. So if you get a visa you can get one for you spouse. There are some exceptions. For example, in Oman women can't get spousal visas for their husbands. Ironically, they can in Saudi Arabia.

As far as money goes, it is possible to live on one salary; just don't expect it to be easy. You're going to have to do some budgeting. If you have a passive income, such as retirement or rental income, than that will make things easier.

Some countries have restrictions on if and how many hours your spouse can work. Hong Kong allows dependents to work. In Japan your spouse can work part-time on a dependent visa (DV). Singapore as well allows dependent pass (DP) visa holders (except those whose spouse is an EP (employment pass) S pass holder) to work as long as the employer applies for a letter of consent. This takes about 3 weeks and the DP can work as long as the EP's visa is valid.

You will have to check with the immigration officers for the country where you want to go. Keep in mind that in some countries, such as Korea, people on dependent visas (F3s) are legally not allowed to work without permission. Make sure you find out the laws beforehand as fines, imprisonment, and deportation are often consequences. Sometimes they can find casual work or tutoring, other times, they may be able to get a job within their career. If your significant other is also a teacher, try reading teaching as a couple.

If you’re not married, things may get a little more difficult. Countries don’t tend to accept common law marriages, there are exceptions, such as Australia. But the majority of them will not get your partner a visa if you’re not married. That means your partner will have to find or border hop.

If your partner doesn’t want to teach English, than he or she will have to look at other possibilities. The best paying ones are those that will transfer your spouse to the country of your choice. These will often offer expat deals, such as housing, flights, schooling, etc.

Don't forget the internet. In this day and age, many people are able to earn money online doing translation, consulatant work, taking photographs, and even more. With an open mind, you should be able to find a couple ideas that you could try out. Check out earning money online for some ideas. Second, if you're going to be supporting your significant other, you might want to head towards countries where you can make a lot of money. Asian countries, such as Korea, China, Taiwan, and Brunei and the Middle Eastern countries such as Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are good choices.

If working isn’t an option, your partner will have to find something else to do while living abroad. They could try volunteering, studying the language, working online, raising a family, or picking up a couple of private classes, are just a few ideas. The person staying home can feel bored and out of place (especially if they don’t speak the local language), and the person working can be felt taken advantage of for earning all the money. Remember, to plan carefully to make sure that your budget can handle whatever decision you make.

When you go abroad with someone else, you're going to have to make sure that you both agree on a location. Some locations, such as Saudi Arabia, Thailand or Latin American countries, can be challenging for women to live in. Men usually have a easier time, though they may not like the restrictions that Muslim countries can place on them, such not being able to purchase alcohol. Basically, do as much research as you can so that you know what the country is like before you arrive.

All in all, it can be done. Plenty of teachers out there support their significant others and are able to happily get by. Your goals and reasons for living abroad will determine whether or not it can work for you.



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