Boredom in the ESL classroom

What every teacher, student and administrator should know

When I hear of students complaining that they're bored, my first response, at least to myself is, "So?" My next response is, "I really don't care." Which is true. I can't see why I should. I can't see why anybody should care. Education is the solution to boredom. Education offers opportunities for the student that staying ignorant doesn't. It's that simple.


Sweet spastic, silly swarms

Back in Korea again

Korea was the same as when I left it. New swarms of hagwons proliferated like rabbits on viagra and cheap wine. Every street twinkled with the latest corporate offspring – doe-eyed upstarts of whatever educational franchise chain. Small, independent, family owned schools struggled to compete; while saturating the nation themselves oblivious to supply and demand.


We work for the room

ESL ghosts of the past

There's been so many bad experiences, I don't know where to start. Forget the times I was ripped off hundreds of dollars from unscrupulous Korean hagwon owners and Taiwanese recruiters. That might take too long and it's another column entirely. I'm still trying to forget the time when one of the nine million Mr. Kims barged into my class and, in front of the students, told me in Korean what a horrible teacher I was.


Same game

Generalisations and stereotypes

Six months of hindsight have brought about a small epiphany on teaching English as a foreign language – it’s the same game wherever you go. The most striking differences in teaching come with a change in age group or class size, not nationality.


We're not just another brick in the wall

Hey teacher, leave those kids alone

I'm learning that ESL teaching is a useless endeavor unless there's a special student in your class. Someone who makes you care and feel. I'm learning that a wall around you, although useful at strategic times, is dangerous when students are relying on you to connect with them and deliver "the goods."


The school song

Homage to a cheerful tune

Covering classes was not a stretch, it allowed me to walk over to the ‘teen’ division of the campus. Being the other farang female the ‘high school’ kids always were attentive when either of us had to fill in.


Ajarn robot

Conquering the classroom dynamics

Who actually thought that the word robot would be an imperative word for a second language student to master?A leader of a robot worshiping cult who freelanced in the publishing world, maybe?


The staff room

Inside a Korean hogwan

A total of seven teachers work at my school. All of them are Korean except for myself. Three of these teachers can speak English with me, but the others are too shy to do so. Staff meetings are held in the Korean language. I seldom understand what is discussed, but that is my fault for not learning to speak Korean fluently. If I want to learn about the meetings I will talk to the director afterward.


Classroom discipline

How to keep students in check

The first step in maintaining classroom discipline is to find out exactly what the overall school disciplinary procedure is. Somewhere, a school should have a published discipline policy and you need to obtain it.


The basics of lesson planning

Something every teacher should know

The first step in planning a lesson is to have an overview of exactly what will be learned in that lesson (or group of lessons). For example, if you are teaching verb use, you need to determine what you want students to learn.


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