Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Anybody in Warsaw just now?
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Poland
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9314
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have read from multiple sources that the very rough approximation for attention span is one minute for every year of age.

I guess I could plan extremely short lessons, but what the beep to do in the rest of the time allotted??? Shocked Shocked

That's why I don't personally teach kiddies at all. My lesson plans are never shorter than 20 minutes at the very least, and thank god I'm in a place where I can make a living in that range.


Quote:
Why on earth would I waste my energy and retrieve the horrors from under the table?


Little horrors, indeed. They can stay under the table as long as they like!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
artemisia



Joined: 04 Nov 2008
Posts: 867
Location: the world

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That could mean you shouldn't attend an average length Bus. English class in Europe until you're 90 years old. It might make sense actually. Some people say that's the time of your second childhood.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 917
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That one year/one minute rule only applies to children. And it's for the length of activities, not the length of the lessons.

john123 wrote:
Perhaps I am just too serious to be throwing teddy bears around the classroom and smiling to keep bums on seats for the private school profiteers - so forgive me Iknowwhatiamtalkingabout. I see your point.

To continue the debate, I think that deluded parents need to take a long look at themselves before sending their kids to private school. I was lumped with a group of five year old children a few years ago whose parents knew full well that they were crawling around the classroom. Why on earth would I waste my energy and retrieve the horrors from under the table? This is the problem. Parents seeking to give their kids a head-start with English are damaging their wallets and their kids. They come to class to be entertained 'by a native'. This is not teaching, and the sooner us 'natives' realise this - the better. The same with unfocused primary school kids. Send them to do sport. Not to learn English.
You obviously aren't a trained YL teacher and that is why you have this outlook.

I used to have the same view. After accepting a job in Thailand a few years ago (zero YL training), I was thrown into a classroom with 16 Thai 9-year-olds and it was all I could do to keep them from killing each other - they would literally have Muay Thai fights in the classroom, scream, run on the tables, etc. etc.. It was weeks of hell before I could get them somewhat under control.

Now I'm worlds better at dicipline and classroom management. But the most important thing is that the kids learn mostly by playing enjoyable little 'games' that trick them into learning the language.

So if the kids like the lessons and are having fun what's the harm in them coming?

Of course, the exception to the 'learning through having fun' bit is with teenagers. I could tell my teenage classes we were going on an all-you-can-eat fieldtrip to a chocolate factory and they would still whine about having to sit on a bus.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 917
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What everyone keeps forgetting about teaching kids is that it is not a specialism like teaching exams or business English, it is a completely different job. Even a great teacher of adults is likely to be hopeless with kids.

You need training, practice, and support before you can be a good YL teacher.

The reason kids hide under tables and are scared to death of learning Eng. is the same reason so many teachers hate teaching them: A complete lack of training and support.

As teachers and schools in Poland are plowing into the booming YL market to rake in the cash, this situation is likely to get worse before it gets better.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 501

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

john123 wrote:
Perhaps I am just too serious to be throwing teddy bears around the classroom and smiling to keep bums on seats for the private school profiteers - so forgive me Iknowwhatiamtalkingabout. I see your point.


The thing is - if you throw teddy bears around the room, you need to have a reason for doing it. The parents will be very quick to judge you and your methods - I had a situation this year with my new kids where I totally forgot to explain that for the first two months, it was all rather easy and laid back (to integrate them properly and make them used to the idea that they need to use English, not Polish). All great - until the parents came complaining that it seemed too laid back. My own fault - I should have explained it properly at the start of the year, but I didn't.

And of course - you do have to have that certain mentality. I have a "take no prisoners" approach to them during the serious classes - and they (especially boys) respect it. The test results speak for themselves, but at the same time - I have to be able to change my personality completely in other classes. Trying to be "fun" doesn't work with them - nor does being serious 100% of the time. It all goes back to having "it" - if you can't read their emotions and realise when it's just not worth doing anything, you'll end up having a nightmare of a time.

Quote:
To continue the debate, I think that deluded parents need to take a long look at themselves before sending their kids to private school. I was lumped with a group of five year old children a few years ago whose parents knew full well that they were crawling around the classroom. Why on earth would I waste my energy and retrieve the horrors from under the table?


5 year olds really shouldn't be crawling round the classroom - it's normal for 3/4 year olds, but 5 year olds are perfectly able to sit in a circle and take part in activities. But - I suppose it's also your attitude - as you say, why should you do it? It's not a bad thing - you're not hiding that you don't like it, and whoever put you in that situation should have got a hard slap. No native speaker should ever be left totally alone with young kids unless he/she can really handle it. And yes, there's plenty of days when I've had to send a swift text message to the school director asking her to come and administer a telling off to the class.

Quote:
This is the problem. Parents seeking to give their kids a head-start with English are damaging their wallets and their kids. They come to class to be entertained 'by a native'. This is not teaching, and the sooner us 'natives' realise this - the better. The same with unfocused primary school kids. Send them to do sport. Not to learn English.


I see your point, but the reality is that the Polish school programme moves at an alarmingly fast rate for foreign languages. The expectations, even in the first class (6-7 year olds) are quite high - and any kid struggling will need extra classes just to keep the pace. If they fall behind by the 3rd class, then they're going to struggle with the 4th-6th classes. And by then - if they're struggling - then a good middle school will leave them far, far behind. Smart kids don't need extra classes (they can learn by just listening/wtaching) - but the poorer ones do.

[quote=spiral78]I have read from multiple sources that the very rough approximation for attention span is one minute for every year of age. [/quote]

Curious - I must investigate this. I don't believe it personally - I can do 30-45 minutes with 7/8 year olds upwards easily. Some days less, some days more. But I have the luxury of having 270 minutes a week with each class - with only 90 minutes needed to complete the requirements of the MEN programme. Means that if one day is a write off, they've got plenty of time to catch up.

[quote=MasterShake]Now I'm worlds better at dicipline and classroom management. But the most important thing is that the kids learn mostly by playing enjoyable little 'games' that trick them into learning the language. [/quote]

I learnt this too - my "method" (I hate that word) relies heavily on creating things that reinforce the words, as well as roleplays - they seem to learn very well when they're expected to actually use it in reality. Still experimenting and refining, though.

Quote:
You need training, practice, and support before you can be a good YL teacher.

The reason kids hide under tables and are scared to death of learning Eng. is the same reason so many teachers hate teaching them: A complete lack of training and support.


Absolutely. I have a new teacher this year who has never worked with kids before - I gave him a chance because I like his personality, and he's a calm stable influence on them. I'm giving him an absolutely shedload of support - and I've recently taken one class away from him because he simply isn't coping too well with them. It's no bad thing - he assists me now, and with practice, he'll get better and better at it.

I think even disciplining them effectively is a skill that doesn't come easily - anyone can shout and scream, but to get them to respect you without leaving the class in fear is really a difficult task.

Anyone can be the clown, but to be considered as equal to a properly trained teacher takes a hell of a lot of effort.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
john123



Joined: 29 Jan 2012
Posts: 83

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With reference to what MasterShake has written, I will concede that I have reflected on my own experiences with teaching kids.

Over eight years ago now, I taught English to young teenagers in several Balkan countries, including Serbia. Irrespective of one's ability to handle kids, these young hooligans in Serbia would have ripped most 'natives' to pieces. It's a mentality issue there.

Out of perhaps 250 kids I taught in the Balkans, maybe two showed any desire to improve their English. I refuse to believe that even the greatest teacher in the world could have changed the mindset of these (predominantly Serbian) numbskulls. You don't know until you have been THERE. Several of the local teachers at the school tried to comfort me with the 'language barrier' story. In my view, some of the classes with the local teachers were just as chaotic because I could hear what was going on on the other side of the wall.

While I consider myself to be an established and competent teacher of adults and young professionals, I think I take on board Master Shake's and Ms Domine's comments about teaching kids being a 'completely different job'. Yes, the kids had issues, but I was still quite hopeless with them. The Director at one particular school in Serbia taught me a lot about teaching and methodology. A real hands-on leader who monitors and nurtures the language teaching skills of her teachers ... not many of these about. However, no training, no advice and no support when the discipline issues kicked in. It was all swept under the carpet because the money was coming in ...

And, yes, the moment you shout and scream at the kids is the moment it all goes downhill. I learned that the hard way.

As for these five year olds I had in Poland, indeed delphian, I should not have been left alone with them and neither should any dignified 'native'. But they chucked in a Polish secretary (who was actually a decent practising teacher herself) and it was worse. Then they lobbed in the grandma of the main nuisance, and it made my life ten times easier. But having to resort to that .... come on.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 917
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

john123 wrote:
Over eight years ago now, I taught English to young teenagers in several Balkan countries, including Serbia. Irrespective of one's ability to handle kids, these young hooligans in Serbia would have ripped most 'natives' to pieces. It's a mentality issue there.

Every year I have a one or two hard cases like the kids you describe. Kids who show no desire whatsoever to learn Eng. and make it their mission to disrupt the lesson in any way they can. Rewards, punishments and chats after class have little or no effect on them. Often, even the other kids shout at them and complain about being paired with them. I used to spend almost as much time dealing with them as I did teaching the lesson.

Again, the school has to support the teacher: Contact the parents as soon as necessary (the earlier the better) and, if no improvement, kick the child out of the class for good.

Most of the time, simply informing the parents does wonders. I've never had to actually expel anyone; been close to it once.

But too many schools in Poland try to sweep problem under the rug and only inform parents of behavior problems as a last resort, if ever.

The one thing I hated most about my job in Thailand most was that I couldn't get these few jokers out of the class so the rest of the kids could learn. I wasn't allowed to contact parents. I couldn't even fail them if they refused to take a test.

So compared to that, teaching kids in Poland is often a breeze.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
iknowwhatiamtalkingabout



Joined: 02 Sep 2011
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always worked at places with clear disciplinary procedures for kids. It's essential. It's always one of the first questions I ask in an interview.

If a school has no procedures to help teachers with disruptive students, don't work there. I never will.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dynow



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1022

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Master Shake wrote:


But too many schools in Poland try to sweep problem under the rug and only inform parents of behavior problems as a last resort, if ever.


I've dealt with some tough kids as well. I had a group where pretty much every single child had wealthy parents so trying to tell them that their children were unruly went over like a lead balloon. People that are very successful in so many aspects of their life sometimes have a hard time accepting that they failed in raising well behaved children, especially when the other well-to-do parents with kids in the class have well behaved kids.

"Who, myyyyy kid? Nooooo. He's an aaaaangel."

I tried explaining to the DoS, from a financial standpoint, that it's better to have 9 kids in the class with happy parents than 10 kids in the class, all with unhappy parents because you refuse to kick out that one problem child. The school never did anything about it and it resulted in half the school's instructors refusing to teach the class anymore and the eventual end to the class altogether. But then again, who ever said ESL schools in Poland had any business sense?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 917
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dynow wrote:
I've dealt with some tough kids as well. I had a group where pretty much every single child had wealthy parents so trying to tell them that their children were unruly went over like a lead balloon. People that are very successful in so many aspects of their life sometimes have a hard time accepting that they failed in raising well behaved children, especially when the other well-to-do parents with kids in the class have well behaved kids.

"Who, myyyyy kid? Nooooo. He's an aaaaangel."

I tried explaining to the DoS, from a financial standpoint, that it's better to have 9 kids in the class with happy parents than 10 kids in the class, all with unhappy parents because you refuse to kick out that one problem child. The school never did anything about it and it resulted in half the school's instructors refusing to teach the class anymore and the eventual end to the class altogether. But then again, who ever said ESL schools in Poland had any business sense?
I totally agree with everything except that last negative bit. Some schools do know how to handle YL classes effectively (though they're probably in the mionoity) and these are the ones to work for.

Like 'iknow...' wrote, you've got to be clear from the get go about discipline procedures.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 501

PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iknowwhatiamtalkingabout wrote:
I've always worked at places with clear disciplinary procedures for kids. It's essential. It's always one of the first questions I ask in an interview.

If a school has no procedures to help teachers with disruptive students, don't work there. I never will.


Our system is pretty simple - first offence is a verbal warning, second offence their name gets written on the board, third offence - an x next to the name. If they get to the point of getting an x next to their name, the parents are spoken to at the end of the day - or if they go home by themselves, the parents are called and told about the bad behaviour. If they accumulate multiple x's against their name, then it gets progressively worse for them - no playing at breaktimes, sitting away from the rest of the class, etc etc. The final sanction is being removed from the additional classes that aren't part of the core education - and spending time with their lovely English teacher instead doing exceptionally boring activities.

I will say that 95% of schools putting native speakers into kids classrooms are doing it solely as a gimmick.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dynow



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1022

PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shake wrote:

Quote:
I totally agree with everything except that last negative bit. Some schools do know how to handle YL classes effectively (though they're probably in the mionoity) and these are the ones to work for.


i'm not about to claim that every single school in Poland doesn't handle it well but either way, it's not something you will find out about your school until it happens, even if by some chance you were to actually ask them about it before taking the job. the majority of people that wind up with classes with young kids are just thrown into it by chance, especially the years 1-3 TEFL'er crowd. how many native speakers roll into a school, actively seeking classes with young kids when for the most part, they're dominated by Polish teachers anyhow? in addition, I'd say over 90% of native speakers in Poland are men and how many men want classes with little kids?

when a school agrees to give you the hours you're looking for, location is ideal and pay is high, the avg. TEFL'er is taking the job and chances are, asking how the school deals with Dennis the Menace is low on the priority list, especially in today's economy.

Delphian-domine wrote:

Quote:
Our system is pretty simple - first offence is a verbal warning, second offence their name gets written on the board, third offence - an x next to the name. If they get to the point of getting an x next to their name, the parents are spoken to at the end of the day - or if they go home by themselves, the parents are called and told about the bad behaviour. If they accumulate multiple x's against their name, then it gets progressively worse for them - no playing at breaktimes, sitting away from the rest of the class, etc etc. The final sanction is being removed from the additional classes that aren't part of the core education - and spending time with their lovely English teacher instead doing exceptionally boring activities.


lemme get this straight:

1st offense - verbal warning
2nd offense - name written on board
3rd offense - an "x" next to their name, followed by a formal address to their parents about their behavior
4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, or however many more X's they're allowed: "it gets progressively worse"
At some undetermined number of offenses - removed from additional classes outside the core education + private tutoring

and still no end in sight.

and you call this "pretty simple"? somewhere in your line of disciplining and flurry of X's, do you perform say Chinese water torture, the rack, lashes with a whip.....water boarding seems to be all the rave nowadays, any chance your school has given that a shot? how many X's would a child have to earn before you grab his tongue and stick it to an icy flag pole in winter?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 917
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dynow wrote:
when a school agrees to give you the hours you're looking for, location is ideal and pay is high, the avg. TEFL'er is taking the job and chances are, asking how the school deals with Dennis the Menace is low on the priority list, especially in today's economy.
You're right. 'Discipline policy' should be the first words out every YL teacher's mouth when YL's are mentioned. But many have a 'take the money and ride it out' mentality.

But oh, how long 60 minutes can seem when you've got Dennis the Menace screaming, trying to climb out the 2nd story window and pelting you with bits of paper every time you turn to write on the board.

Delphian-domine wrote:
Quote:
Our system is pretty simple - first offence is a verbal warning, second offence their name gets written on the board, third offence - an x next to the name. If they get to the point of getting an x next to their name, the parents are spoken to at the end of the day - or if they go home by themselves, the parents are called and told about the bad behaviour. If they accumulate multiple x's against their name, then it gets progressively worse for them - no playing at breaktimes, sitting away from the rest of the class, etc etc. The final sanction is being removed from the additional classes that aren't part of the core education - and spending time with their lovely English teacher instead doing exceptionally boring activities.

Fine for most kids, I guess, but I this wouldn't be enough for real hard cases.

Suspension?

Expulsion?

Standing in front of the chalkboard pinning a piece of paper to it with their nose for 15 min? (This was one of my favorites from Thailand, but I'll probably never get to use it here ) Crying or Very sad
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dynow



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1022

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Master Shake wrote:
dynow wrote:
when a school agrees to give you the hours you're looking for, location is ideal and pay is high, the avg. TEFL'er is taking the job and chances are, asking how the school deals with Dennis the Menace is low on the priority list, especially in today's economy.
You're right. 'Discipline policy' should be the first words out every YL teacher's mouth when YL's are mentioned. But many have a 'take the money and ride it out' mentality.


because many of them know that they can eventually snake themselves out of teaching the class, especially if it's a big school. either that or it's only one class a week in their schedule so at that rate, are you going to turn down a job when say 24 lessons in your work week are ideal and 2 are shite when, like I mentioned, the location of the school is great, pay is good, schedule is ideal? logistics say roll the dice with the possible YL class you'll get stuck with. i taught at a school for almost 3 years till they dropped a class of 8-9 year olds in my lap for a while. i taught the class, oblivious to what their "Dennis the Menace" policy was.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Pooledogg



Joined: 04 Aug 2010
Posts: 20
Location: England

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Master shake do you live in Warsaw? The only place that pays the salaries you are talking about is The British Council. Also flats for 1500zl in the centre? Do me a favour? Schools are cutting hours and slaries each year to stay in business. Poland is not a great place to come as the market is saturated. If you've got cash you'll be OK though.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Poland All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Page 2 of 4

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC