Thursday, 30 August 2012

Job Site: Higher Ed Jobs

This site is fantastic if you're looking to work in higher education. Whether you're looking for an admin, faculty, or executive position, Higher Ed Jobs has tons of them. You can search by job type, state, region, dual career, or country.

The nice thing about searching by country is that they have a list of all the countries that have job adverts and the number of adverts for each country. The dual career search option is also very cool. It's made for couples in academia so you can search for higher education positions in the same area. Make sure you take a look at this site if you're trying to get a job in academia.

Got an idea for a job site?
Email me with your job site, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Cool Link: Kid Zone

Made for kids preschool to grade 5, Kid Zone has worksheets for a variety of different subjects. They have their resources arranged by grade as well as topic. Their topics are animals, geography, language arts, lesson plans, magic tricks, math, science, and thematic units.

The magic tricks are especially cool because kids love amazing their friends and family. At the bottom they have recent updates to the site, so you can always see what's new. Kid Zone is part of a dozen other sites run by the same family. You can see their complete list of sister sites on the bottom right. All their sites are simple, have lots of info and are basically advert free. So be sure to check out this site and their sister sites as well.

Got an idea for a cool link?
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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Quick Tip: Hold English Corners

I know that many teachers complain about having to do English corners but they are useful if used correctly. Popular in Asia, English corners are informal chat sessions that help students become more confident in speaking English.

The difficulty lies with having students with mixed levels or one student who dominates the conversation while the others sit silently or them expecting you to tell them your life story.

The best way to avoid these problems if by being prepared. Have a variety of questions suitable to different levels. You could try pairing the students off or putting them in small groups. They can talk about the topics for a given amount of time and then come together and share their ideas. It helps if you remind students that they're supposed to have a conversation. This means asking and answering questions. You don't want them to give monologues.

Other people have talked about books, movies, and tv shows. It depends on you and your students. You might have the same group show up week after week or you might get new students every time. It's really not that bad if you're prepared. You'll find that your students have interesting ideas as well.

Got an idea for a quick tip?
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Monday, 27 August 2012

Cool Link: Teach-nology

Technology is all over the place and Teach-nology caters to that. Their resources are free and easy to use. They have over 46,000 lesson plans, nearly 10,000 worksheets, not to mention rubrics, tips for teachers, worksheet generators, web quests and lots more.

It's aimed at students in grades K-12, so if you teach that age group, you're going to want to check out this site. It's nice and easy to use and there's even a newsletter that you can sign up for. While a lot of their resources are free, they also have a paid membership section, which varies from $30 to $50 a year.


Got an idea for a cool link?
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Sunday, 26 August 2012

Hot Topic: Socialising with Students Outside of Class

I'm not talking about dating students, which is a whole other can of worms, but of dinner or drinks with a group of them. Having taught in two Asian countries, I know that Asian students like to get to know their teachers outside of class, bombard them with questions or try to pick up as much free English as possible.

Having gone to dinner a couple times with university students and adult students I can say that I have mixed feelings about socialising with students outside of class. On the one hand it's good, because you can see each other as regular people instead of students and teachers. You can also learn about each others' culture. Yet on the other hand, it can be awkward and stressful, especially if students start taking notes on English vocabulary.


What do you think?
Do you spend time with students outside of class? What's your opinion of meeting students for dinner or drinks in a group?

Got an idea for a hot topic?
Email me with your hot topic, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

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Saturday, 25 August 2012

Teaching in Japan is not what it used to be

I stumbled upon an article about teaching English in Japan in the Japan Times. Long gone are the easy days of saving money in Japan. The situation is pretty similar to Korea. There are just too many teachers. I hope the economy gets better back home soon.

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Friday, 24 August 2012

Basic Overview of US Expatriate Tax Requirements

The following is a guest post.by I.J. Zemelman, EA. Tax Operations Director at Taxes for Expats              
                                                                             
Bottom Line:  File Your Taxes Every Year
As a US expatriate working overseas you must file your US federal taxes annually just as you would if you were living in the United States. Why? Because your total world income determines your tax liability – not simply the income you receive in the states. As an American expatriate, though, you have more tax saving options than those with a stateside residence such as housing and subsistence allowance, income exclusions, foreign tax credits, and more. Savvy taxpayers who’ve taken the time to research additional deductions and savings opportunities or who work with a tax professional may have access to even more options. Let’s refer back to the bottom line, though: If you don’t file your taxes you don’t qualify for such deductions and exclusions.

How to qualify for FEIE (Foreign Earned Income Exclusion)?
In order to qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion on Form 2225 or Form 2555-EZ you only have to be a resident of another country and file your taxes in said country. Married couples who both live overseas may file jointly.

A number of taxpayers are unclear as to what income qualifies for exclusion, and the answer is simple: Only income earned as an employee or contractor. Any monetary gain from dividends, interest, rental income, and other types of investment returns are not excludable from your US tax liability. The last update to the amount US expats were able to claim as exclusion is $92,900 for 2011 and $95,100 for 2012.

Another definition it’s important to take a look at is exactly what constitutes foreign. For IRS taxation purposes, foreign income is viewed as any income received outside of the United States or any US Territory, which include American Samoa, Guam, Micronesia, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Republic of Marshall Islands.

Before you can claim FEIE there are certain additional requirements you must meet; you will be required to have lived in a foreign country for a full year, or at least a minimum of 330 days out of a 12 month period.

Information on Foreign Tax Credits?
Tax treaties with the United States ensure that you will be not taxed twice by 2 countries for the same income. In order to ensure you receive your foreign tax credits you must file Form 1116 if you are an individual and Form 1118 if you are a corporation. If you still owe anything to the United States after having applied your credits, the total amount you owe should be very low.

While tax treaties are great for saving international taxpayers money, there are a few important rules and exceptions of which you should be aware:
  • Travelling Restrictions: Some treaties become ineffective if the taxpayer travelled to a country with restrictions such as Cuba. It is important for you to check with the State Department before travelling.
  • Tax Home: If you are involved in a civil unrest you may qualify for an exception which allows you to claim your overseas residence as a tax home.
Note: There are a variety of other rules included in international tax treaties such as those regarding the IRS auditing process: Filing any return begins the 3 year backtracking period to which an IRS agent can perform an audit – including international returns or returns with no taxable income.

Keep in mind that it will not behoove you to try to give false information to the IRS, as quite a few countries including Barbados, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Jamaica, México, Trinidad, and many more have active information exchange agreements in place with the US.

If you are living overseas and you are self-employed you will be subject to all US income and SE taxes just as you would if you were living stateside. It is important to be aware that foreign income credits CAN NOT be used to decrease your SE tax liability. 

You will be protected, however, along the lines of Medicare and Social Security contributions. The US has what is known as Totalization Agreements with multiple countries which prevent a taxpayer from having to pay into 2 social insurance systems.

Timing is Critical
American expats who are known to be working overseas or who can prove their income originated overseas will be automatically granted a filing extension to June 15th instead of April 15th.  Both military members and civilians working on overseas assignments qualify for this automatic extension. See our complete list of US Tax Deadlines for expats for more information.

Expats are also able to request a further extension and not be required to file taxes until October 15th.  This extension, however, is only for filing.  If you are an American expatriate and you owe taxes which aren’t paid by June 15th you will most likely be subject to penalties and interest. If you are unable to pay before October you may be able to minimize your penalties by filing Form 2210.

The article is merely an overview of an overwhelming amount of US expat tax information. For additional help, please contact the experts at Taxes for Expats today!

*
I.J. Zemelman, EA is the founder of Taxes for Expats
She may be reached at: +1-646-397-2887
Email: questions@taxesforexpats.com

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Thursday, 23 August 2012

Job Site: Get ESL Jobs

With job adverts from all over the world, you're going to want to take a look at Get ESL Jobs. While most of the jobs are in China, Taiwan, and Korea, they also have jobs in other parts of Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

These were the jobs that they had available at the time of writing, new jobs are added every day, so be sure to check back often. You can post your CV or just apply for a job.

Got an idea for a job site?
Email me with your job site, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Cool Link: Kiz Club

Here's some neat stuff for young learners and children: Kiz Club has ABCs, phonics, topics, crafts, stories, nursery rhymes, flashcards, and more. It's also got information in Korean if you go to the about section.

It's simple and easy to navigate and each section is broken down into smaller sections. For example, the phonics section has vowels, consonants, blends / diagraphs, rhymes, and word study.

Got an idea for a cool link?
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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Quick Tip: Keypals

Penpals are no more, now students can have keypals. You can set your students up with native and non-native speakers. They could write to Spanish speakers in the US who are learning English, native English speakers in Australia, or students in Turkey who are learning English.

There are sites available to help you arrange keypals for your students or you could try doing it on your own. Forums, like Dave's ESL Cafe are great for finding teachers who are also interested in keypals. It's a great chance for your students to talk to other people their same age, but who could tell them new things about a different culture.

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Monday, 20 August 2012

Cool Link: 1-Language

Although it looks like a site that you have to pay for in order to access, 1-Language actually has a lot of info available for free.

There's a free English course which mostly contains grammar, they also have ESL flash games, quizzes, essay writing, a reading library, and more. If you're teaching beginners, try scrolling down a bit and you'll see flashcards, alphabet, and phonics worksheets. They have writing sheets for more advanced levels as well as articles about learning English, proverbs, English dialects, and methods for learning English. You can use the material in class or have your students work on their own.


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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Hot Topic: Sending Your Passport to Apply for a Job

With identity theft becoming more common, it's no wonder that people are wary about sending their passport when they apply for a job. The problem is that most employers aren't going to steal your identity.

The sole purpose of them asking for your passport is to make sure that you have a passport from an English speaking country. By doing this you can prove two things. First that you won't have issues getting a work visa as an English teacher since your passport is from an English speaking country. Second, that you have a valid passport and are ready to travel.

Some teachers blacken out important information on their passport and just leave their name. Others have criticised them for this saying that it looks like they're trying to hide something. Whether you leave everything on your passport or blacken things out, be aware that many employers will ask for your passport when you apply for a job.

What do you think?
Do you send your passport when you apply for jobs? Do you blacken any information out?

Got an idea for a hot topic?
Email me with your hot topic, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

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Thursday, 16 August 2012

Job Site: Shell Schools and Fieldwork Education Services

With 10 schools in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, Shell as part of Fieldwork Education Services offers you the chance to work in various parts of the world.

While they only have 10 schools, they also work with the British Schools of America, Compass International School in Doha, and a variety of international schools all over the world. They have a vacancy page as well as information about recruitment. So if you're a licensed teacher, take a look at their site.

Got an idea for a job site?
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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Cool Link: Kid Sparkz

They have free worksheets and activities such as ABCs, 123s, colours, shapes, connect the dots, and other material. Kids Sparkz has lots of material for the preschool teachers. They also have material you can purchase, which is worth it if you teach young learners.

From complete curricula to themes, the alphabet, numbers, skill building, reading and more. It's a pretty cool site and has free material as well as stuff you can buy.

Got an idea for a cool link?
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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Quick Tip: Have a Talent Show

If you're working with young learners, talent shows are great. Even if you work with older students, talent shows can work. Whether your students are beginners or advanced, talent shows are perfect for showcasing their abilities.

While it would be great for students to use English and sing English songs, recite English poetry, tell an English story, or put on an English skit, it's not necessary for all students to use English.

Talent shows do many good things such as provide students with the chance to show off what they've learnt, shows parents their children's progress, helps administrators prove that their school is teaching well, and also allows you as a teacher to show off your students.They may take a bit of organisation and can be stressful, but they're well worth it.

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Sunday, 12 August 2012

Hot Topic: Putting Your Photo on Your CV

In some places, like the US, you'd never put your photo on your CV. However, in other places, like China, if you didn't put your photo on your CV you wouldn't be considered for a job or employers might ask you to send your photo if you didn't. It's no secret that discrimination exists in the hiring process. Ageism (too old or too young), sexism, lookism, sexual orientation, and racism are all part of the process.

In the US they try to stop this by limiting what an employer can ask you, but it doesn't matter, since your name is on your name is on your CV. If it sounds too foreign, too black, too Jewish, etc, Mary Smith or John Smith will probably get hired over you if you're both equally qualified. In TEFL, lookism is rampant. Blond haired, blue eyed teachers often have an easier time getting a job because they look more "foreign".

Some people like me have given in and put their photo at the top of their CV. I've even got other personal info such as my DOB, marital status, and visa status. Other people fight tooth and nail and refuse to put their photo on their CV.

What do you think?
Do you put your photo on your CV? Have you ever been turned down for a job due to your looks?

Got an idea for a hot topic?
Email me with your hot topic, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

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Friday, 10 August 2012

Poll Results July 2012: What's your average monthly salary?

July's poll was "What's your average monthly salary?" Here are the results
  • less than $500: 14% with 1 vote
  • $501-$1000: 14% with 1 vote
  • $1001-$1500: 0% with 0 votes
  • $1501-$2000: 14% with 1 vote
  • $2001-$2500: 14% with 1 vote
  • $2501-$3000: 0% with 0 votes
  • $3001-$3500: 14% with 1 vote
  • $3501-$4000: 14% with 1 vote
  • $4001-$4500: 0% with 0 votes
  • $4501-$5000: 0% with 0 votes
  • more than $5000: 14% with 1 vote
There's a big difference in TEFL salaries. I'd love to know where to go to make $5000! Check out what's the best country to teach English in? to find out where you should go. 

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Thursday, 9 August 2012

Job Site: ESL Teachers Board

They have lots of ESL resources, lists of ESL schools, travel resources, articles about self growth, and jobs for teachers. They also have useful info for students and teachers. ESL Teachers Board is a good site to visit.

As far as looking for jobs go, they have a place where you can post your CV, search for jobs, talk about them on their discussion forums, look at school reviews, find out about scams, learn about being a tutor, get info about starting your own school, become a recruiter, offer your place as a homestay, language exchanges, and more.

My only complaint is the organisation. For example, on the discussion forums, you have to scroll down and look at everyone's response to each and every question. Other than that, it's a great website.

Got an idea for a job site?
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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Cool Link: PBS Kids

Colourful with their favourite tv characters, PBS Kids is eye catching and educational. They've got videos, games, music, and colouring pages.

Not specifially for ESL and EFL teachers, with the high influx of foreigners moving to the US, some shows are catering to the need to learn English as a Second Language. Seasame Street is just one example.

So take a look at their site and see if you can find something to use in your classes this week. 

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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Quick Tip: Reward Your Students

Positive reinforcement has been proven to work, so you should use it in your classroom. Rewards are often used with children and young learners. However, they can also be used with older students. A friend of mine teaches music and gives stickers to her students when they complete a piece. She says the adults also ask for stickers. They want to be rewarded. Rewards aren't just for children.

Students can be rewarded individually or as a class. They can be given daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semestrely, or yearly. They can be big or small, expensive or cheap. It doesn't matter; what matters is that you're acknowledging the students' good behaviour and effort. You can find some ideas for rewards in the article about discipline or try looking online for more ideas.

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Sunday, 5 August 2012

Hot Topic: Teaching Illegally

There are many reasons why teachers choose to teach elsewhere besides their primary place of employment. Money's probably the main reason, extra time, looking for more teaching experience, or looking to change jobs might be other reasons. No matter what the reason, many teachers decide to teach a couple hours somewhere else each week.

While sometimes they can get permission from their employer, more often than not they end up doing it illegally. Maybe immigration only allows teachers to have one job and doesn't even allow teachers to teach privately. Or maybe the employer won't let the teacher teach anywhere else. They might be afraid that the teacher will steal students, or not have enough time to do their work.

So what do teachers do? They end up teaching illegally. Obviously this is not an ideal situation, but some teachers feel that they have no choice. They need more money or immigration allows them to have a second job, but their employer doesn't. It's a dangerous situation because if it goes against immigration laws and someone turns them in, they could lose their visa and get deported. Or if their employer finds out, they could get fired. Yet people still continue to teach illegally.

What do you think?
Have you held another teaching job on the side? Were you able to do so legally?

Got an idea for a hot topic?
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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Plagiarism

Any teacher would agree that plagiarism is a big problem and only getting more and more common with the internet. There are lots of websites out there with information on how to catch and stop immigration. Rather than write another article on it, I've decided to give a few quick tips and links to other comprehensive websites on plagiarism.

The first tip to remember when discussing plagiarism is that while in some countries, like the UK and the USA, plagiarism is a horrible crime, in other countries like those in Asia or South America, plagiarism is not seen as something that bad. Some professors may indirectly encourage it. Professors that publish their own books may require students to memorize and regurgitate their information word by word, without teaching them how to use quotes properly. Students who are not able to directly quote professors may have points taken off. So when you're teaching about plagiarism, put yourself in their shoes.

The second thing you should do is teach them that stealing word or ideas is the same as stealing money.

Third, you need to teach your students how to create a bibliography. There are lots of sources out there about bibliographies, but perhaps OWL Purdue is the best.

Fourth, it you suspect a student of plagiarism, then you should calmly confront them. There are three good ways to check and see if a student has plagiarised. The first thing you can do is sit the student down and ask them simple questions about their paper. Usually a student will copy vocabulary words without even knowing what they mean. Pick the hardest words and ask them to define them. Another thing you can do is to tell them to give you a verbal summary of what they've written. Lastly, try asking for a written summary. That way you can compare what they handed in before and what they're doing at the moment in front of you.

Fantastic Websites for Plagiarism

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