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PanamaTeacher



Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 278
Location: Panama

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2003 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DeBalky--amigo

You may see her post in a different way, but here is why I interpret it to be deperate:

Gina said:

Quote:
Hi everybody. I just quit my job ( project manager/management assistant) to go traveling and to teach children. I will be heading towards Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand around December....I am thinking of taking an on-line TEFL course. Is this a good idea and can anybody recommend one?....I don't have a uni degree.


Why would she quit in July to go somewhere in December and after start asking questions about what to do next? Is this the approach of a project manager? I suspect that this posting is a hoax or she is confused about life. Do you see what I mean?

As for the right teacher in the right job question, here are some things to look at:

1. The levels to be taught, including the subject, objectives, and methods to be used.
2. The instructor's teaching as it related to content mastery, breadth, and depth.
3. How well organized and clear is the teacher?
4. How appropriate are the teaching techniques in relation to the instructor's goals for the class?
5. What is the level of student interest and participation, and is the instructor doing enough to motivate the students.
6. What are the instructor's major strengths? Weaknesses?
7. What can the instructor do to improve his/her classroom teaching?

I don't want to go on and on about it, but, yes, there is a lot of teaching that can be done without training or experience. I think most humans are natural teachers, we like to share our knowledge. There is a line that is not always clear between the teaching anyone can do and the teaching that should be limited to people with either experience or education in the field or both.

What happens is that it is kind of like the military; you have a bunch of raw recruits in the front line charging at the enemy. They don't see any science to war just brute strength mano-a-mano. That's how I see new teachers with no experience: cannon-fodder. The survivors move up or out.

The losers in this war, however, are the students who get stuck with the bad teacher. That teacher may destroy the hopes of the students, and like a hit and run driver leave the carnage behind. Teachers should care about their students; if a teacher gets involved in the profession solely to finance his or her wanderlust and knows that they won't be around for long, they will not do a good job, because an income is their primary goal, not teaching. All of this is just my opinion, I really don't know and I'm not a crusader. I just hope that the new teachers are doing more good than harm.

Hey I'm tired, C ya later.
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Debalky



Joined: 28 May 2003
Posts: 79
Location: hell on earth

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2003 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool,
Different points of view are expected and healthy. People don't agree on everything. All good...
later
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C76



Joined: 13 Jun 2003
Posts: 113
Location: somewhere between beauty and truth...in Toronto. ;)

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2003 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Debalky!

Debalky wrote:
The degree and ESL CERT, have had ZERO impact on (my) teaching. No degree or Cert can prepare you to step into a classroom with 50 students who have little or no knowledge of English whatsoever. You have to rely on common sense and be able to adapt.


I disagree. A good course that offers you practicum classes will allow you the opportunity to practice adapting. Practice teaching can help you considerably before you start doing any "real" teaching. As a newbie, I think the whole "comfort zone" thing is quite...comforting.

Quote:
I don't understand why some people on this forum discourage people like you. They make teaching ESL sound like brain surgery, it is not!!!


Oh brother. Rolling Eyes

I don't believe our posts were meant to be discouraging. They were meant to be PRACTICAL. Gina's initial post sounded very happy, and breezy. I don't knock her for that. I'm a pretty happy, breezy chick myself.

Yet her post's general happy vibe left me wondering: How seriously is she taking her decision to teach?

ESL teaching is fun! I imagine that I'm going to have a great time. But you have to be serious about wanting to do a good job.

Quote:
If you were looking to teach in a University with more advanced students, maybe some grammar training would be a help, but your not so it's a non-issue.


Again, I disagree. I'm willing to bet that knowing how to explain different grammar points IS important. I know, I know, it depends on where Gina ends up. Some places have EVERYTHING planned for you. She might have to repeat lines from a course "script" word for word. But what if she winds up working somewhere where she is put on a looser leash...And her grammatical prowess is either expected or assumed?

What then, Debalky? Hmmmmm? Wink I have the feeling that certain places are very serious about what is taught to their youngsters. Like Korea, for instance.
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PanamaTeacher



Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 278
Location: Panama

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2003 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

C--When you get out in el mundo verdadero u will find that there are many variations of teaching, of students and of teachers. I think De Balky is wrong about the importance of grammar and the level at which it becomes important, but it may be cause he hasn't had much need for it. Yet, being able to deal with grammar isn't essential in a let's say purely conversational class for beginners. At that level grammar is instinctive both to the student and the teacher (what I am doing=verb; who I am=subject). You can use it, but it could even be counter-productive.

I will say this to encourage you C: my income as a teacher is 5-10 higher than 7 years ago solely because I understand grammar (didn't have a clue when I started and didn't try to learn it for months). That, my amiga, is the bottom-line. The rest is internet chatter. Tune it out. Smile
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8982
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if you want to teach kids, Asia is the place to be. I would come in the summer or fall when all the classes are starting. But at least read up on teaching, don't just come here without any knowlegde of TEFL at all. Find a good intensive course and take it.
I know that in china you need either a TEFL Cert OR a BA degree to teach.
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Debalky



Joined: 28 May 2003
Posts: 79
Location: hell on earth

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok,
Right off the start i want to make sure you know that i'm not being disrespectful to either PT or Lauren Hill (I Love). Please don't be mad Sad
I can only speak of teaching life in China. I have not taught anywhere else. However, i believe that many Asian countries function in a similar way to China. Kids from 4 to 7 don't learn grammar here. I don't think I even learned Grammar at that age back home. Point 2, Middle school students always (in my experience) have Chinese English teachers whose purpose is to teach spelling, grammar, and all that other jazz. Your job here is to GET THE STUDENTS TO SPEAK. To correct their mistakes, help with pronunciation, and to expose them to your style of speech. Does this sound easy??? It's not! C76, are you coming to Asia (i'm not sure). I can assure you that Grammar is the least of a ESL teachers worries here. Did your CERT course tell you what to do when out of a class of 50 students, 10 speak English probably as good as you or I, 20 can put simple CHINGLISH sentences together (eg. I go to store for the buy the milks), and the other 20 cannot answer a question like "what's your name"? I know that my CERT course really didn't go over this tiny little problem. How can ESL teacher conduct a class that is interesting enough for the great students, but not too hard for the sad suckers at the back of class? Want the simple answer??? You can't. And don't worry too badly, because the school won't care. They will tell you to only teach the "smart ones" (which i refused to do).
The fact is that PT and you (C76) have never taught in Asia. I'm not trying to sound snotty. Maybe things are different in Panama, i don't know anything about the place. So, I'm saying this to you C76, the problems you will run into here in Asia (if this is where you are coming) will have no semblance to the 'fun fun' atmosphere of the cert classroom, and grammar will be a non-issue if you stay away from the University scene. I advise you to keep your great attitude about teaching, it is nice to see and it reminds me that mine should be the same. BUT, remember that in most classes the majority of your time will be trying to teach the students how to properly say their names in English, and other simple conversations. ESL can be a fun job, but it is also a frustrating one for people who really want to teach everyone in the class.
Again to the original poster. Get on the plane!!!
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
if you want to teach kids, Asia is the place to be. I would come in the summer or fall when all the classes are starting.


I can't speak for any other Asian countries, but in Japan the school year for high schools, elementary schools, and universities/colleges begins in April, not summer or fall.

I wish people who post here would also make a distinction between teaching at such schools versus conversation (language) schools. Answers to those questions often differ.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The degree and ESL CERT, have had ZERO impact on (my) teaching. No degree or Cert can prepare you to step into a classroom with 50 students who have little or no knowledge of English whatsoever. You have to rely on common sense and be able to adapt.
And so what if you're main reason is to travel? If you're stay is short it does not make you a bad teacher. I don't understand why some people on this forum discourage people like you. They make teaching ESL sound like brain surgery, it is not!!! If you were looking to teach in a University with more advanced students, maybe some grammar training would be a help, but your not so it's a non-issue.


Come on, Debalky! Not everyone has the "common sense" needed to survive in a classroom. Moreover, a lot depends on where you teach (read my previous message).

And, it would pay to know how to teach to SOME degree. Your own post mixed the proper use of "your" and "you're" in the above quote. Kind of hard to believe they were both typos.
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Debalky



Joined: 28 May 2003
Posts: 79
Location: hell on earth

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey YOUR two post don't really apply to this thread. Go pick on someone else for spilen mastakes, kause its nat so impotent to me. later hero
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C76



Joined: 13 Jun 2003
Posts: 113
Location: somewhere between beauty and truth...in Toronto. ;)

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Debalky,

I see the point that you and the others are making. I shouldn't stress too much about going grammar crazy. But I wanted to mention a few things.

The "fun" wasn't my point. Perhaps I should have used a different word. I refer to teaching as "fun" because I enjoy it. I have a bad/juvenile habit of calling nearly EVERYTHING that I enjoy "fun". I do this in spite of the fact that my favorite activities may involve things that are mundane or painful. I think teaching is intellectually challenging and frustrating and edifying all at once. Plus, I get to help people learn...

Who could ask for more? Razz

Let's look at the other side of the equation. I know it isn't all a bed of roses. Some of my classmates went to teach a class of (semi-)beginners. They found it quite challenging. The students were not easily stimulated, it was difficult for them to "get" certain concepts, etc., etc.

After teaching advanced students, I know that my colleagues were greatful for their experience with ESL newbies. They learned that their approach to various issues had to be adjusted, etc.

Currently I wonder how I'm going to handle a "mixed-level" class like yours. I'm not scared. Much.

My point remains. I still see the merits in practice teaching, versus going on the road without any experience. Some people are into the latter. I would've been one of those who didn't think it mattered...However, because of my experience, I think that if a person can afford (financially and in terms of time) to have unofficial teaching experience, they should do it. It can't hurt.
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Gina



Joined: 01 Jul 2003
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well; I am still here. For a moment I thought I had joined the wrong forum. I was expecting to get some advise from people who actualy have teaching experience themselves. Silly me... Wrong idea. I had fun reading the replies though Laughing Laughing Poor Capergirl! I think she must be having a hard time.. I do want to thank Debalky & khmerhit though. It sounds like you guys know what you're talking about and get my point. I lived in India for about 7 months (working with kids) and I think I had 3 hot showers and sat on 1 'western toilet' Smile so I will cope with Asia.
Will be starting a CELTA course in Tailand around November and then I'm off to Cambodia. Cheers you guys Exclamation
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PanamaTeacher



Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 278
Location: Panama

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good Luck, keep in touch Smile
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Capergirl



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 1232
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gina wrote:
Poor Capergirl! I think she must be having a hard time..


There is no need to patronize nor pity me, Gina. Wink I have a wonderful job teaching ESL in a university here in Canada and I am good at what I do. I have wonderful students and a fabulous boss who loves my work. As for my comments earlier, I've done the EFL thing in Asia with both a university degree and some teaching/volunteer experience under my belt prior to hopping on that plane, and it was still very challenging. I merely think that anyone who believes EFL is the answer to boredom is kidding him/herself. It takes a lot more than a desire to travel to be able to live and work in another culture, far from everything that you've ever known. That said, if teaching children in Cambodia is what you really want to do and something that you feel you will be good at, then by all means go get a TESL or CELTA certificate and give it a try. I am not telling you not to go, just to be realistic in your expectations. Follow the Girl Guides' motto: be prepared.

Good luck to you. Cool
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PanamaTeacher



Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 278
Location: Panama

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Caper--Gina sure is rowdy. Too bad she didn't mention the 7 months in India before, would've saved a lot of typing at least by me.
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Lucy Snow



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 218
Location: US

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, Gina, the purpose of this Newbies forum is not just to tell you that whatever you want to do is ok. Many of the experienced teachers on this forum (like Capergirl) feel an obligation to point out any potential problems and pitfalls. Just because they disagree with you doesn't mean that they're wrong.
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