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  • timothyhampson 1:05 pm on April 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blogging   

    A letter to my younger teacher self 

    Tomorrow there’s a KELTchat about advice to a younger teacher self which was inspired by  Joanna Malefaki’s blog. It feels a bit weird to write a letter to myself circa December 2013 as it doesn’t feel like that long ago. There are quite a few things to tell myself; either this means I’ve made lots of progress or that I was really clueless when I first got here.

    Dear Tim of 15 months ago,

    Well, here you are stepping off the plane. If you were less exhausted from the eighteen hour flight you’d be pretty nervous right now. It is a little awkward because you don’t know much about teaching EFL but you’re going to have a great time. Everything is going to be fine but I’d still like to give you some advice to help things go better.

    First up, you might not have thought of this, but you’ve gotten your job based only on where you were born. That’s based on a lot of colonial history and horrible stuff. You can’t do much about that but you’ve got a responsibility to become someone who’s worthy of teaching these kids. You’ve got to be as giving as you can be of yourself and swot up! Review your grammar as early as possible and do it often. Read as much as you can about teaching and experiment. If you don’t have any money read blogs. Be confident about developing yourself as a teacher. Don’t wait to start that blog and to do conference presentations. You’ll meet some great people and learn a lot.

    In terms of pedagogy don’t be afraid of looking silly or childish stuff. One day you’re going to find out that singing songs and being silly is really easy, fun and effective. There are two key skills you should try and pick up as soon as possible. Talk less in class! You’re very interesting but your students don’t know what you’re talking about and your chat will go down much better in the hof. You should also get better at knowing what you can expect students to do. Don’t expect too much of them or dumb things down too much.

    You should be more confident about demanding what you’ve been promised. You deserve to have healthcare and get paid the full amount you’re supposed to. Don’t think that because you’ve got a job from someone, that you should do whatever they ask. When the time comes to apply for a job, be fussy it’s going to work out well for you.

    Finally, when you get to your new apartment from the airport and then head out for a snack, check the ramyeon you’re buying. The black one with the flames on it is painfully hot and will make your face go red and swell up. Don’t eat it!

    Have fun with it


  • timothyhampson 1:07 am on March 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blogging   

    TEFL blog prompts 

    As part of the workshop on TEFL blogging I gave in Gwangju we came up with a communal list of blogging prompts. I’m going to post my favourite of the blogging prompts below. They’re divided up into four sections: pedagogy, lesson ideas, experiences and career. I’ve edited some of them to help bring the ideas out


    1. My values.
    2. How does teaching theory learned in another country apply in Korea?
    3. My teaching philosophy?
    4. How can I use newspapers, poems and magazines in the classroom?
    5. What have I learned recently about how to teach English?

    Lesson ideas

    1. An lesson I planned based around my hobby.
    2. Summer/Winter camp lesson plans.
    3. A lesson plan I used this week. (It doesn’t have to be anything special)
    4. Making videos in class.
    5. Pronunciation activities.


    1. Funny things students have said.
    2. Awkward moments with students and coworkers.
    3. Experiences having a co teacher.
    4. About a conference I attended
    5. Write about a good/bad day and how it affected me. How did I deal with it?


    1. How is a career teaching in Korea different to elsewhere?
    2. Pay in ESL (am I getting paid enough?)
    3. Non-Naitive English teachers in Korea.
    4. How to develop yourself as a teacher (How can I find resources to develop myself as a teacher?)
    5. How has teaching changed in the time I’ve been doing it?
  • timothyhampson 1:00 pm on March 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blogging   

    So you wanna be a TEFL blogger? 

    On Saturday I spoke about tefl blogging at the Gwangju KOTESOL conference. I wanted to make a post for anyone who wanted to start blogging, or anyone who has stumbled across this post and wants to start blogging. Here are a list of steps that someone might take to get more involved with TEFL blogging and or Tweeting. There’s no one way to blog so feel free to ignore some of this or change the order.

    1) Make a twitter account. 

    2) Look for local EFL hashtags. If you’re in Korea, you’re looking for #KELTchat. If you’re not sure try #ELTchat. Once you’ve found one or more, look at the people tweeting. Do some of them seem intelligent and interesting? Follow them on twitter.

    3) Post about interesting things that happen to you in the classroom (and in the rest of your life if you want). It’s always a good time to reply to other people’s tweets, but if you can’t think of anything interesting that’s happened, then it’s an extra good time.

    4) Time to set up a blog. I’d suggest not even considering anything that isn’t wordpress.

    5) You can start blogging straight away if you want but you might be nervous. You can use your WordPress account to follow other bloggers. Try looking to see if people from part 2 have blogs. You might also wants to follow Scott Thornbury, Mike Griffin, Nicola Prentis, Geoff Jordan and The Secret DOS: some of my favourite blogs that were helpful when I was starting out.

    6) When you’re reading these blogs start trying to comment as much as possible. even if it’s just to say thanks.

    7) Time for you to share some of your thoughts. Blog about anything that you find interesting and that you think others might be interested in reading. Don’t worry about if it’s any good or not, just concentrate on getting your ideas out there. Your blogging will naturally get better as time goes on anyway.

    8) If you’ve got time, reply to comments.

    9) Eventually you’re going to want to mess around with themes and make your blog pretty (click on dashboard). You might also want to spend some money and have your website hosted so you can have a pretty web address. As your blog is growing try not to worry too much about how many views you’re getting. Just try to keep posting good content.

    10) Leverage the critical skills and network you’ve gained to achieve any/all of:

    • Personal enjoyment.
    • Being a better teacher.
    • New friends and professional relationships.
    • Untold TEFL fame and riches.
    • teachingbattleground 6:47 pm on March 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.


    • BerLingo 8:54 pm on March 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I am going to follow one of your tips, which I would like to think I have been trying to do for a while, and comment on your post 🙂 I found this post in a tweet by Mike Griffin and I’m very grateful, because it reassured me that I’m sort of on the right lines as I dip my toe in the exciting waters of ELT, blogging and online PLNs.
      I haven’t even done my CELTA yet (starting in April in Berlin) but I am leaving academic publishing to move into ELT so I naturally have something of a penchant for writing, and wanted my own humble little space to witter away about my experiences in Berlin.
      And so was born my Berlingo blog… I’m really enjoying it so far, and you’re right, it does mean a lot when people comment on your musings 🙂 As my experience grows, I hope to actually start writing about things others might find useful, rather than just passively entertaining, but we’ll see!
      Thanks again,

      Liked by 1 person

      • timothyhampson 1:23 pm on March 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Rachel, thanks for the comment! Your blog already looks really informative and your writing style is much better than mine too. I’m possibly planning to go to Europe and do my CELTA next year (it’s not such a big qualification out East) so I’ll be looking forwards to reading about it.


        Liked by 1 person

        • BerLingo 3:23 pm on March 19, 2015 Permalink

          Well, likewise 🙂 I’m always amazed anyone actually stays on my blog long enough to write something, and I’m even more touched when they write something so nice!
          My writing style is far too waffly, as my academic publishing colleagues tell me, but I’m enjoying the process so I suppose that’s the main thing 🙂
          I am hoping to blog about the CELTA, so hopefully that’ll help inform you – and I’m doing it in Berlin if that inspires you as well 🙂 But if you don’t hear from me, that means it’s so intense and I’m asleep 😉
          Thanks again for stopping by, and for the compliment!


    • aiyshah2014 5:57 am on March 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I think the best points are number 3 and 7. And I would say you must ALWAYS rely to comments, even if it is just a thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • timothyhampson 1:25 pm on March 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        I’m a big fan of three too. Commenting lots is a great thing to do. Saying thank you is also good practice. I kinda get that sometimes people are busy so don’t mind if I don’t get a personal thank you though.

        Liked by 1 person

        • timothyhampson 1:26 pm on March 19, 2015 Permalink

          All that and I didn’t even say ‘thank you for the comment’.

          Thank you for the comment!


        • aiyshah2014 1:30 pm on March 19, 2015 Permalink

          Yes. However coming from someone who likes to comment a lot on other people’s blogs, I always get disappointed if there is no response at all (even if only a ‘like’ is fine), and eventually stop commenting on that site. Most bloggers do respond however which is great because I do believe blogging is about engaging not just talking.


        • timothyhampson 12:29 pm on March 28, 2015 Permalink

          I guess it depends on who it is, some of the bigger bloggers might be to busy. I always like the ‘you have a comment reply’ email. Usually a few exciting seconds waiting for it to open. I hope I can always answer comments here, it’s a nice thing to do.


    • Martin Sketchley 9:04 pm on March 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      A very useful blog post and something that I shall redirect a colleague to as he has just joined the blogging sphere for those ELT’ers that are reaching for the web-based skies! Perhaps this is something that I should consider doing a talk on in the UK.

      On a side note, I have just found your blog and just clicked the ‘Follow’ button.

      Liked by 1 person

  • timothyhampson 11:47 am on March 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blogging   

    A questionnaire on TEFL blogging – the results 

    Last month I asked TEFL bloggers to complete a survey about their experiences TEFL blogging. I wanted to share some of my favourite answers from the questionnaire. There’s lots of encouragement and good advice. I’m going to post them unedited and anonymously.  In the interests of space I’m only going to post a few responses to each question. Sorry if yours didn’t get included.

    Thanks again to everyone who completed the questionnaire.

    (More …)

  • timothyhampson 12:57 pm on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blogging   

    Tweeting and blogging towards professional development 

    Today I had the pleasure of giving a workshop at KOTESOL Gwangju‘s annual conference. I was talking about blogging and tweeting. Gwangju is a great city full of great people who are very welcoming (The LG twins thrashed the KIA tigers today so they might have been different if I’d let on that I’m a Twins fan.)

    This is just the ‘waiting for my bus back to Seoul’ blog write up. I’m going to do a more complete one soon. The people at the workshop came up a communal list of blog prompts that I’m going to type up soon. I also want to share more of the feedback I got from the blogging questionnaire I put up here.

    Honestly I don’t think I did that good a job today. I’ve been pretty sick all week and I took a day off work yesterday (for the first time in ages). I was feeling better today but I still wasn’t able to inject as much energy as I’d have liked. I was supposed to be inspiring people to blog, but that’s really hard when you’ve not got much energy yourself. I hope that even if my enthusiasm didn’t show much in my delivery that people still left wanting to blog and tweet. Sorry if anyone was let down.

    If anyone did come to the workshop today and wanted to blog/tweet after please let me know if you need any help. I’ll also gladly post your blog links up here so that people can find your blogs easily. There are some useful links below as well as the conference slides.

    Gwangju presentation PPT

    How to set up Twitter

    Getting started with WordPress

    • David Harbinson 4:44 pm on March 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I think judging by the questions people were asking throughout and still at the end, it certainly got some people interested.


      • timothyhampson 10:56 am on March 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        I hope so David, thanks for the kind words. It was nice seeing you and your presentation. Hope to catch you again soon.


    • Anthony Ash 11:25 am on March 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The attached presentation is great!

      I’m working at IH Buenos Aires at the moment and some of the teaching staff there have been talking about getting into blogging and I was thinking about doing a session on it but this presentation covers it all. I’ll be emailing them the presentation later 🙂

      Thank you for this – excellent stuff!

      Anthony Ash


      • timothyhampson 1:30 pm on March 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Anthony, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m by no means an expert but I hope they find it of some use. Get them to drop me a tweet if they need anything and also if they get their blogs up and running; I want to read them!


        Liked by 1 person

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