Thursday 30 April 2015

Teachers Should Evaluate the Admin

From Advance at Brown
Teachers evaluate their students and in turn their students evaluate them. Yet admin also evaluates teachers, but teachers never evaluate them in return. Teachers may also be evaluated by their peers and do self-evaluations. Admin will say this is because they want to help teachers become better teachers. It seems unfair for admin to dish it out but not be able to take it.

Many teachers have a problem with student evals since their job often hinges upon them.  Even though students aren't customers, they are being treated like they are. Some teachers are so afraid of student evals that they don't want to tell their students their grades for fear that their students will retaliate and give them a lower mark if they get a low grade.

I really think that if the admin believes evaluating teachers will help them become better teachers, then they should also ask the teachers to evaluate them in order to help them become better admin. It should be a two way street after all.


Thursday 23 April 2015

Giveaway Grammarly Premium Test Account

Last updated: 8 May 2015

Yesterday's guest post about 3 reasons for learning English was written by Nickola Baron at Grammarly.

The people at Grammarly have sponsored a giveaway for a premium test account. There will be a raffle to choose the winner. The raffle will end at midnight GMT+9 on Thursday, May 7th. A winner will be chosen randomly on Friday, May 8th.

Click here to enter the giveaway.

Edited to add: the winner is John. Congrats!


Wednesday 22 April 2015

A Feather in the Hat for English Teachers

The following post is from a guest blogger from Grammarly. They have sponsored a giveaway for a premium test account. There will be a raffle to choose the winner. The raffle will end at midnight GMT+9 on Thursday, May 7th. A winner will be chosen randomly on Friday, May 8th.

A Feather in the Hat for English Teachers
Have you heard students complaining that they will never use what they are learning in class? Regardless of the subject matter, it seems that the future engineers and pastry chefs of America think that they do not need a well-rounded education. Would students be better off restricting their studies to subjects directly related to their future careers? If you teach English, here are three reasons why your curriculum should be a part of every student’s plan of study.

What Would Human Resources Say? 
Often, professionals responsible for hiring evaluate grammar to narrow down the pool of applicants. If they have several candidates that seem equally qualified, they will eliminate the candidates who have glaring grammar mistakes in their cover letters or applications. In a Harvard Business Review article, Kyle Wiens states this about applicants who use bad grammar: “I just think they deserve to be passed over for a job — even if they are otherwise qualified for the position.” If you apply for a sales or operations position at one of his two companies, you will take a mandatory grammar test. If you fail, your application will be discarded.

Grammarly’s Research on Elance Profiles
Do you remember learning about indirect object pronouns and subordinate clauses? Did you take notes in English class? If so, you may earn more than your peers! In a recent poll, a writing software company named Grammarly discovered that good grammar significantly influences the likelihood that you will be hired, as well as how much you earn and how highly you are ranked on Elance. Elance is a staffing platform for online freelance work. Contractors are rated using a system of stars. Grammarly examined the profiles of about 450 professional freelancers working in various categories and found that the highest scorers also had the fewest errors in their profiles.

More Time for Lunch 
According to the article, “The Advantages of Good Grammar in the Workplace”, writing accurately is practical for a number of reasons. First, it saves time. If you communicate well, you will spend less time answering questions from your colleagues. You also avoid giving misleading information that could result in costly mistakes. People perceive you as caring and professional if you communicate well. This may translate to promotions and positive evaluations later in your career. The research speaks volumes about the importance of communication and writing. Students belong in English class so they can learn how to express themselves to others. Even after graduating from high school or university, they need to continue to develop their writing skills. Applicants for jobs or professionals in their careers should make it a regular practice to use an automated grammar checker on their emails, memos, reports, and other communication. Doing so will save you time and effort. It may also affect how much you earn and how people view you. With this information in mind, is it not a good time to thank your English teacher for introducing you to commas?

By Nikolas Baron ------------------------------------------------------//------------------------------------------------------------- Bio: Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in elementary school, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at Internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, traveling, and reading.


Monday 20 April 2015

Better to Stay With the Devil You Know

From Tiger Tribe
I recently wrote about how some people may think that TEFL is a dead-end job and since the grass is always greener they might try to get another job. After sending out endless CVs and going to interviews and doing demo lessons you might finally realise that it's not worth it.

The unknown is scary. Even if you have issues with your job, or your boss, or your co-workers, you know how everything works. That's why some people stay so long at one job or in one country: it's the easy way out. There's nothing wrong with that. People like to stay within their comfort zone.

Other people would disagree and say that if you want to move on, you have to move on. In order to get that fantastic job you have to move outside of your comfort zone. 


Wednesday 15 April 2015

Stuck in TEFL: Is it a Dead-End Job?

From Simon Free
Although some people make a career out of TEFLing, many people only teach for a year or two and then move on. For those who do stay in TEFL, it can be hard to move up the TEFL ladder. Many people just teach. Salaries aren't getting better and the bubble has burst in places like Korea.

People continue to teach English abroad for many reasons. For some it's because of the lifestyle. You may only have to teach 15 hours a week and get 20 weeks vacation if you get a university job in Korea.

For those teachers who marry locals and have kids it can get harder and harder to leave, especially due to visa restrictions on bringing your family back home. People say they'll stay for a year or two and that can quickly become five or ten. The prospect of moving back home with a spouse and kids in tow can be extremely daunting. Middle Kingdom Life has an article about a man who has been teaching in China since 1999. It's an interesting read, especially for those who have lived abroad for a while.

All I know is that it's good to have a back-up plan. Nowadays it's easy to supplement your teaching salary or even make money online. There are a number of good books out there about saving money and retirement.


Friday 10 April 2015

Same Event, Different Versions: Teachers vs Admin

Have 100 people watch the same event and you'll have 100 different versions of what happened. It's no secret that people change events in order to make themselves look good. Nor is it a secret that admin will not hesitate to skew events in order to get rid of teachers they don't like. Opinions vary greatly as you might notice in 50 ways to get high student evaluations. Below are 15 examples.


Admin: The teacher accepted bribes.
Teacher: My students gave me a coffee cup for Teachers' Day.

Admin: The teacher endagered students' lives.
Teacher: I moved the podium and it was blocking part of one of the doors.

Admin: The teacher let students leave early.
Teacher: Students had speaking exams in pairs. They were scheduled for 10 minute slots. Once they finished their exams they could leave.

Admin: The teacher was using the school's secretary as their personal secretary.
Teacher: I live in the school's housing. The heater didn't work so I asked the secretary to please contact the person who could fix it. It's their housing, so they're the landlord.

Admin: The teacher socialises with students outside of class.
Teacher: I went to the school festival to see what my students were doing. I didn't cancel class, but went during my free time.

Admin: The teacher changed a student's grade.
Teacher: I have dsylexia. I gave one of my students an 18 instead of an 81.

Admin: The teacher touched a student.
Teacher: One of my students tripped in the hallway. I helped her up.

Admin: The teacher took extra vacation time.
Teacher: My mom passed away. I let my school know and went home for the funeral.

Admin: The teacher lied on their CV.
Teacher: I didn't put all my certifications on my CV.

Admin: The teacher was stealing students and teaching them privately.
Teacher: The students had taken the highest classes available at the school and graduated. I started teaching them after that.

Admin: The teacher allowed students to use their phones in class.
Teacher: Yes, I did, but they were doing research and using their dictionaries.

Admin: The teacher skipped class.
Teacher: I got the flu and told the students we'd reschedule next week.

Admin: The teacher stole the school's books.
Teacher: I took books home in order to work at home. I always brought them back.

Admin: The teacher was sleeping with one of the school's students.
Teacher: We're married and she's a PhD student. I teach freshmen.

Admin: The teacher was drinking during school hours.
Teacher: The dean took all of out to lunch. We all had a glass of wine.


Sunday 5 April 2015

Sexism and TEFL

From World is Female and Male
I've previously written about different types of discrimination in TEFL. There's lookism, ageism (too old or too young), sexual orientation, name discrimination, and of course, racism. Sexism works both ways. Some places prefer male teachers, others prefer female teachers. I'm not talking about places like those in the Middle East that require the sexes to be segregated, that's totally different.

I can't speak for all of Asia, but in Korea it seems like schools that teach young children prefer young female teachers and universities prefer male teachers. I understand that traditionally kids have been taught by women, but there's also a lot to be said for having positive male role models. Academia has also been traditionally dominated by men and some universities are afraid to hire women because of maternity leave, but this has to stop. 

Many questions that would be illegal to ask back home at an interview are fair game here. A friend of mine knew someone who was asked point blank who would take care of her kids while she was at work. She didn't bat an eye as she responded by asking them if they would ask a male candidate the same question. Needless to say, she didn't get the job, but I admire her for saying that.


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