Sunday, 30 September 2012

Hot Topic: Casual Clothes in the Classroom

With work casual becoming the norm, we're seeing more and more teachers taking things to the extreme. It's not uncommon to see teachers wearing jeans, tank tops, or trainers to work. While some people don't see anything wrong with this, other people believe that teachers need to dress more professionally.

I believe that jeans are ok in the classroom if they're dark denim or trouser jeans. I don't believe tank tops are appropriate, but have seen women wear sleeveless blouses that look professional, espeically in hot climates without air conditioning. Trainers are a sticky subject; if they're clran and dark, they can often work. Teachers, like nurses, spend a lot of time on their feet and need to be comfortable.


What do you think?
Are casual clothes ok for teachers? What do you typically wear to work?

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.

TEFL Tips recommends:

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Job Site: Learn 4 Good


They've got more than job adverts such as schools, online education, languages, stuff for kids, career training info, hotels, hostels, visa info, and more. Learn 4 Good has heaps of info. I'll admit that the site is a bit too crowded for me, but they have lots of info, so that's good.

If you go to the job search, you can find more than just teaching jobs. They have jobs for all types of careers all over the world. You can search by career, key word, and location. The bad news is that the jobs seem to stay up for a year. While it looks like they have heaps of jobs they simply don't delete the old ones.  


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.

TEFL Tips recommends:

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Cool Link: 123 Child

For those of you who teach preschoolers and young learners, you're going to want to check out 123 Child. They have over 200 lesson plan themes that can help make teaching easier.

They also have lesson plans according to the season and featured lesson plans. Check out their site; you won't be disappointed.


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

TEFL Tips recommends:

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Quick Tip: Use Warmers in Class

If you've taken a TEFL course, chances are you learnt about warmers or warm-ups. Warmers are used to help the students get used to speaking English. It can be hard to switch immediately from their L1 to English, so warmers help students out.

Similar to coolers, warmers are always a review of something. You shouldn't be teaching anything new at this time. Right now you just want to get the students used to speaking English. Games and other fun activities are also used.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it should be simple. If a student comes in late, they should be able to easily grasp what they need to do. Lastly, students need to do the majority of the speaking, not the teacher. 20 Questions, Find Someone Who, and doing a similar activity to last class' lesson are all popular warmers.So try to use a warmer next time in your class. Developing Teachers has a whole bunch of ideas you can use.

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

TEFL Tips recommends:

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Hot Topic: Blacklists

School Blacklists
Teachers often ask about school blacklists and while they certainly exist, they might not be that reliable. They seem to pop up all over the place on the internet. Any teacher that doesn't like something can post, so you don't know about the source. Many times they will be in the local language which will make things harder for you.

The best thing to do is to do a search on forums, such as ESL Cafe, and look for info about schools. You could also PM people and ask questions. You can often tell ahead of time if the school is bad or not. Try reading warning signs of bad schools for more info.

Teacher Blacklists
The same can be said for teacher blacklists. TEFL and international school teaching is a small world, so word gets around fast. Be careful about what you say about your school. And especially be careful about what you post online. Things could easily come back around and bite you in the butt.

Discussions about blacklists


What do you think?
Are blacklists good ideas? Have you ever put a school on a blacklist?

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.

TEFL Tips recommends:

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Job Site: Job Serve

If you're looking for a teaching job in the US, then try Job Serve. The good thing about their site is that all the jobs are recent, so you don't have to sort through old job adverts. They claim that all jobs have been posted within the last 7 days. They also have online jobs, which are great if you want to teach online. You can search by location, industry, or just browse through the jobs they have.


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.

TEFL Tips recommends:

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Cool Link: Chateau Meddy Bumps

If you're teaching children or young learners, then Chateau Meddy Bumps is a great website to check out. It's aimed at children at pre-school and primary level.

They've got different sections, such as fun and games, beantime stories, and guides for parents and teachers.

The basic principle behind this site is to help young children learning skills uniquely. They've been around since 1995 and have won awards, such as Best Websites for Elementary Teachers and Best Sites for Helping Children Learn Phonics.

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

TEFL Tips recommends:

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Quick Tip: Create Material for Substitute Teachers

If you're like me, you do things your own way. You have things organised just the way you like them and you know where everything is and when you're going to teach what. The problem is that if you get sick or there's an emergency and a sub has to take over your classes, they might not understand what they should do.

I suggest making a doc on your computer or printing out info for a sub. You should explain basic things, such as which rooms your classes are in and the levels of your students. You should also consider including your syllabus and any materials that you have. If you don't have your materials, you should at least have a record of what you last did in class.

This will help in two ways. First, it'll force you to be more organised and plan ahead. Secondly, it'll help the sub if they ever have to teach your class.


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

TEFL Tips recommends:

Monday, 17 September 2012

Cool Link: ABC Teach

If you teach K-8 or at an international school, then take a look at ABC Teach. They've got lots of free materials, like subjects, reading comprehension, holidays, ABCs, interactive, as well as sections divided by levels, and even a special needs section. It's easy to navigate, bright, and colourful.

There is also a tools section which allows you to generate all types of worksheets such as games like bingo and sudoku, or activity sheets, spelling, and ABCs.

They also have a paid membership section which costs about $40 a year. They also have discounts for groups, schools, and districts.

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

TEFL Tips recommends:

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Hot Topic: Pulling a Midnight Run

Everyone's heard of them, some people know someone who's done it, and some have pulled a midnight runner themselves.

While it might seem horrible to leave in the middle of the night, some people have no choice. Maybe their boss hasn't paid them, puts hidden cameras in their apartment and refuses to apologise (happened to a friend of mine), or crosses the line somehow. Perhaps the teacher needs to leave because of an emergency or visa problem.

There are lots of reasons why teachers pull midnight runs. Some of them aren't that good though, such as simply not enjoying teaching or not liking where they live.

What do you think?
Is it ok to pull a midnight runner? Would you or have you ever done it?


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.

TEFL Tips recommends:

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Job Site: Serious Teachers

Serious Teachers came out a couple of years ago and has quickly become a success.You can search for jobs via country or situation, such as camps, university jobs, Science, etc.

You can quickly view the job title, location, and salary. By clicking on "view" you can view more details and then you can apply to the jobs that you want. You're allowed to upload a variety of documents, such as a CV, cover letter, your passport, or TEFL cert.

Although I like Serious Teachers, the main disadvantage it has is that you have no idea when the jobs were posted and some postings are rather old. Other than that, it's a pretty good site.


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.

TEFL Tips recommends:

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Quick Tip: Use Coolers in Class

Just like you should use warmers in the beginning of your lessons, you should also use coolers at the end. If you've taken a TEFL course, chances are you learnt about coolers or ending on a high note. You should always try to start and finish on a high note and coolers are the perfect way to end your class. Make sure not to introduce new info at the end of class.

Of course, when students leave they should know about their homework and you should happily tell them goodbye, but you should also try to do a fun activity before that. Games and other fun activities are often used. So try to use a cooler next time in your class. Developing Teachers has a whole bunch of ideas you can use.

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

TEFL Tips recommends:

Monday, 10 September 2012

Cool Link: British Council Learn English Kids

The British Council has long been known for its quality English programme and now they have a website dedicated to children: Learn English Kids. It's simple and colourful with games, multimedia, reading and writing, crafts, and things you can explore.

At the bottom of the page is a list of all the labels they have so you can easily find what you're searching for. I have to say I like this page a lot more than the adult British Council website.

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

TEFL Tips recommends:

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Hot Topic: Posting Your CV Online

Some people advocate posting your CV online so that potential employers can see your experience and qualifications when they search for teachers. While in theory it would be nice to get headhunted for a job the reality is much different. Posting your CV will likely result in lots of job offers from recruiters who send mass emails and don't even bother to read which countries you're interested in teaching in.

Think about it from an employer's point of view. If you were looking for a teacher, would you pay to get access to CVs and have to sort through hundreds of CVs even though most of them probably aren't interested in your job? Or, would you rather pay to place a job advert and have those who are truly interested in working for you send you their CV directly to your inbox?

Most employers choose the latter or hire recruiters who will do the former. If you still want to post your CV online, I suggest you do it on LinkedIn.com where you can network to your heart's content. In addition, apply directly to jobs that interest you rather than waiting for them to come to you. You can find heaps of places to look for jobs at job sites.


What do you think?
Have you gotten a job by posting your CV online? Do you use LinkedIn.com?

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.

TEFL Tips recommends:

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Poll Results August 2012: What helped you get your current job?

August's poll was "What helped you get your current jobs?" Here are the results.
  • Qualifications: 37.5% with 6 votes
  • Experience: 12.5% with 2 votes
  • Networking: 18.75% with 3 votes
  • Luck: 31.5% with 5 votes
  • Other: 0% with 0 votes.
If you're looking for jobs, be sure to check out the Where To Go page. 

TEFL Tips recommends:

What If I Can't Afford to Pay My US Expat Taxes?

The following is a guest post by I.J. Zemelman, EA. Tax Operations Director at Taxes for Expats                                  
If you are in a position in which you owe an excessive amount to the IRS from your US expat tax return there are a number of options that may be able to help.  Expat tax filing requirements are some of the most confusing of all, and quite a few expatriates encounter a tax burden from such confusion that seems insurmountable.  

Most of these situations stem from an expatriate’s lack of knowledge of reporting obligations, available exclusions and deductions, or a failure to file US expat taxes altogether.  Despite the circumstances which have led you to a precarious situation with your tax liability, the IRS understands of the difficulties expats face in filing their taxes, and there are a number of tax payment assistance options available to ensure that all tax obligations are met without bankrupting the taxpayer.

In this article we will take a look at some of the options available to you and how to take advantage of them.

Monthly Installment Plans

If there is no way for you to pay the entire balance of your tax liability to the IRS upon filing your US expat tax return you may be able to set up a monthly installment plan with the IRS.  The important words to recognize here, though, are ‘no way to pay.’  To the IRS, this does not simply mean that you don’t have cash on hand.  Before requesting an installment plan the IRS will want to see that you have sought out other means of coming up with the cash such as applying for a loan, liquidating your assets, applying for credit cards or lines of credit with high availability, or other means. 




If you have exhausted your possibilities and are unable to pay the IRS you may apply for an installment plan by filling out and submitting Form 9465.  If your proposed installment plan will exceed 120 days you will not be charged a fee for establishing such a plan, but there may be a setup fee if you plan to square away your debt in less time.  Note that the IRS will not accept monthly payments lower than $25.




Delayed US Expat Tax Due Date


Tax deadlines don’t always coincide with the most fruitful time of year for expats.  There are many US expat taxpayers who will have no problem meeting their tax obligations in a matter of a few months but are not in a position to pay at the time of filing.  In this case, the IRS may agree to extend the due date on your liability, but it is not free of contingencies.  In an effort to protect its financial interest the IRS will most likely file a Federal Tax Lien Notice against you until you have satisfied your debt.  If your plan of coming up with the money involves assistance or transactions with a financial institution, this lien may cause a number of problems in the execution of your plans.


Offer-in-Compromise
While this may be one of the most desirable tax solutions to expats who can’t afford to pay their total tax liability, the IRS prefers it to be the last resort of a taxpayer.  On offer-in-compromise (also referred to as OIC) is an agreement between the IRS and a qualified taxpayer in which the IRS accepts an amount lower than the actual tax liability due.  In order for an OIC to be approved the IRS must be convinced that the taxpayer will not be able to satisfy his/her debt by any means now or in the future with an extended payment arrangement.  In order to ensure this isn’t the first option sought by taxpayers the IRS assesses a $150 fee for the evaluation of any OIC.  If you feel as though you owe the IRS more than you can possibly ever pay, you may apply for an OIC by filling out and submitting OIC Form 433-1.

Assistance with US Expat Taxes
There are a variety of programs for which expat taxpayers may qualify, and it can be quite exhausting reviewing your options and the qualification criteria.  Every taxpayer’s situation is unique, and identifying the most beneficial option isn’t always an easy task.  You can simplify the process by discussing your situation with an expat tax professional that is equipped with both knowledge and experience in determining the best course of action to take.

The most important thing to remember is that you have options.  If you ignore the problem and simply do not pay without communicating with the IRS you will find yourself in a much worse position with large penalties and a potential prison sentence.

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

TEFL Tips recommends:

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Cool Link: MES English

If you teach kids or young learners and don't know about MES English, you've got to check out their site. It's written by a teacher in Japan and he has other websites as well with lots of other neat things that you can check out in the "about" section.

With heaps of free materials, such as flashcards, worksheets, phonics, games, videos, curriculum, certificates, projects, and more, you could easily spend a couple hours browsing all the material. Most of them are interlinked as well, so if you have flashcards, you can find worksheets and games that go along with it. Whether you have to create your own material or are given books by your school, you're sure to find something at this site that you can use.

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

TEFL Tips recommends:

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Quick Tip: Think of Weekly Topics

While commonly used in preschool classes and in classes with young learners and children, themes aren't used that much in older classes. Classes often revolve around grammar and have a theme or topic on the backburner.

You might want to try using themes in your class. There are lots of topics you could use, such as technology, jobs, or travel. If you have the freedom to plan your own lessons, then topics are a nice change from planning lessons around grammar. You can still teach grammar in your classes, but just don't make grammar the central idea.


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

TEFL Tips recommends:

Monday, 3 September 2012

Cool Link: TESL Jobs

With articles about TEFL and TESL, forums, resources, CVs, jobs, and basic information about teaching in different countries, TESL Jobs offers lots of information for teachers. I honestly think that there are way too many adverts up though and many of the links I clicked on weren't working.

Their discussion forum is pretty good and has useful info about scams, which seem to be popping up all over the place. It's not very active though. They also have a couple of articles about TEFLing, but not that many.

As far as jobs go, employers can post for free. They also have a warning telling teacher to be wary of scams, which is good. They have separate boards for China and Korea. There are a lot of jobs in Asia, as well as all over the world. Jobs expire between 30 and 90 days, but the posts remain up even though the job offer has expired.

Overall, I think their website is nice, but not fantastic.

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

TEFL Tips recommends:

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Medication and Living Abroad

If you take prescription medicine or have a contagious disease, you're going to have to do a bit more research before you teach abroad. Some prescription medicine, such as birth control, is readily available over the counter.

Other medication that is normally available over the counter, such as sleeping pill, may require a prescription in some countries. However, medication, such as diabetes or depression medication will require a prescription. Nonetheless, there are people in similar situations and they've done it.

Medical Exam Needed to Get Visa
Many countries, especially those in Asia, require medical exams in order to get you a work permit or Asia. Some countries will flat out deny you a visa if you have any disease, while others are more flexible.

Korea requires a medical exam, but due to pressure from Amnesty International has said that they won't deny visas based on the outcome of the medical exam. We'll see if that actually happens. Some teachers with Hepatitis C have said that they were able to get work permits. Others have called the Korean embassy and have confirmed that this is true. Keep in mind that while technically they aren't supposed to deny you a visa it could happen, especially if you have a more serious disease such as HIV or AIDS. For more info about blood tests and travel visit HIV Travel, you'll find info there are tourist and work visas.

China has a medical exam, but teachers there have said that only having TB and HIV or AIDS results in denial of a visa.

Japan and Indonesia don't require medical exams, so you could consider teaching there as well.

Before Arriving
There are a couple things that you can do to make the move easier. First, talk to your current doctor. They may be able to recommend a doctor or clinic in the country you're going to. Second, get the generic names of the medication you are currently taking. Lastly, fill your prescription for as many months as you can. Some doctors will give you a longer prescription that you can fill in advance if you prove that you are leaving the country.

You will still have to do research before you arrive in the other country. A good place for information is Dave's ESL Cafe and the Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree Forum. Thanks to the internet, you can connect with other people who are in the same situation as you are. People on these two forums are usually very helpful and may be able to recommend how to get the medication you need.

You should also tell your employer before you arrive in the other country. There are a couple reasons for this. First, some employers will not want to hire you when they find out that you take medication and may end up firing you. I know that this isn't fair. However, this has been known to happen. It's rare, but it still happens, which is why you should be upfront with your employer. In fact, on some visa applications you are asked about prescription medication. Second, on the opposite end of the spectrum, your employer is a great resource of information and can help you get the medication you need.

After Arriving
Ask your employer to help you find a clinic, hospital or doctor. Some doctors will speak English, or at least be able to read and write English, especially medical terms. Others may not, so you will have to bring a translator with you. Often someone from your school will come with you.

Bring any useful information with you, such as the generic name of the medication and the name of your condition in the local language, if possible. Remember to be patient with the doctors and people who are there to help you. If you've gotten information off people from the internet and they live near you, you might want to try to meet up with them and see if they can help you.

Conclusion
In conclusion, there is a lot of information you can get from your doctor and the internet so that you are prepared before you go. While some employers will not be willing to hire you, most will and furthermore, they will be happy to help you out. The best thing you can do is be prepared. Don't be afraid to ask questions and find others who are in the same situation as you are.

TEFL Tips recommends:

Privacy Policy and FTC Disclosure

Please read TEFL Tips' Privacy Policy and FTC Disclosure.
Paperblog
Google Analytics Alternative Google Analytics Alternative