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  • timothyhampson 10:45 am on January 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Haters Gonna Hate 

    tattly_these_are_things_haters_web_design_01_grande This week I needed some advice on choosing a training course, I took to twitter to ask for advice, I got a really helpful response from everyone. Teachers are often really really lovely. That said, teachers are also often really horrible to each other and I wanted to write about it a little. This is just a rant, please don’t expect any kind of solutions in here, but with that said here is a sample  of haters you might just find in the ELT community. I wanted to swear a lot as this is a subject that makes me angry, but I probably shouldn’t as a kindergarten teacher. Parts of this post are in italics, these are good places for you to do your own swearing 1. The ‘just quit then!’ Living in a foreign country is difficult sometimes. Working is difficult sometimes. There are lots of  productive ways of coping. Going on internet fora and whinging probably isn’t a productive one. My biggest problem with these people is that it is really off-putting if you’re thinking about going to Korea (or anywhere) and all you read on some websites is that everything is awful, everyone is trying to fleece you and that you’ll be some kind of oppressed minority out here. A good deal of these posts are also borderline racist and very ‘if you’re not doing things my way, it’s wrong’. The thing that gets me about this type of hater is that they’re often abroad complaining for a really long time. Why not just leave? 2. The Belittler There’s an ELT Facebook group where this type of hater thrives. This is a person who for some reason gets a kick out of making others feel bad about their qualifications and/or their job (they also seem to like to hate on job postings) I really don’t need to go that much into why this makes you a not nice person.  I thought this was mostly an activity that was reserved for the Dave’s Waygookin Cafe’s of the world and nasty Facebook groups, but this week I read this on Nicola Prentis’ blog. I ended up reading all the comments of the blog post that I had missed last November, and the blog post that started it all. It turns out that The Belittlers have crept onto the blogosphere too. I don’t really know what business people have telling other people that they don’t deserve to be teachers. Shut up. 3. The fundamentalist It’s fine if you have your ideas about teaching but it’s a pain in the butt when people are too attached. It’s worse when people start telling each other that they’re wrong. There are quite a few people who will say that you can’t be a good teacher if you don’t teach dogme/TBL/extensive reading/only in English/to the test/stuff that isn’t in the test/courses around Western culture/courses that avoid Western culture/phonics/not phonics/etc. I’d really like it if people disagreed on stuff like this, gave their point of view and some persuasive reasons why they believe it. I’m a strong believer that the answer to most questions like these are ‘sometimes, depending on the circumstances’ so teachers should really stop being so nosey and let each other get on with things. Rant over here’s some Swifty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfWlot6h_JM

  • timothyhampson 3:23 am on January 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Very Young Learners   

    Some thoughts on kindergarten. 

    Kinder means child and garten means garden. I think that ‘child gardening’ is a very pretty metaphor for what we do as teachers. Teachers provide the ‘water’ and the ‘nutrients’ (and if you’re feeling cheesy, the sunshine), but the children do all the growing themselves*.

    *If you want to stretch the metaphor, those sticks that support roses and young trees are probably a bit like ‘scaffolding’ too.

    I’ve just finished my second week teaching in a kindergarten. It’s been really fun. I’m not sure how much of that is because it’s a kindergarten and how much is because it’s a good school but I’m loving it so far.

    I’m not sure how much I can blog for a while. I don’t think it’s that useful for anyone else to read my thoughts on teaching when I don’t really fully know what I’m doing yet. That said, here are a few observations on my first weeks that might be useful and/or interesting:

    1) Everything is cute. 

    The kids are cute. The classrooms are cute. The textbooks are cute. Everything is cute.

    2) There is a lot of unconditional love.

    I’ve been late for class a few times because I walked past a classroom and all the kids wanted a hug before I went upstairs. A few people I’ve spoken to said this sounds like their worst nightmare, but it’s okay by me.

    3) Young kids have really low attention spans.

    At my old school I could set activities that would run for 20 minutes with no real problems. I knew younger kids had low attention spans but I didn’t realise how much lower. I’m still getting the hang of things but doing lots of different activities is important.

    4) Young kids find really weird stuff fun. 

    I’m not sure if I’ll ever understand some of the things they get up to. They spent two lunchtimes putting ice in a sled, pulling it across the playground and then tipping it out to start over again.

    5 )Task based learning is easy.

    Task based learning used to be one of those things which I used to be a bit scared of and thought was really hard to plan. My new schedule has classes like English Gym, cooking class and science (we made zoetrope last week). With the younger kids even simple stuff like drawings have a lot of pedagogical value as questions like ‘what is it?’ and ‘what colour is it?’ are around the right level.

    6) Singing and chanting is fun 

    This is another thing that I didn’t use because I was a bit scared of it. Now I have to do it, I really enjoy it.

    7) A nine-till-five is better than a two-till-nine

    Working from 2pm till 9pm sounded great before I started doing it. Now I’m on a more regular shift I can do so much more with my evenings which I’m really happy with.

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