Category Archives: TESOL

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

School and Subway Rushes

I survived the first week of school! It was a bit touch and go at the start, but thanks be to God for helping me through it. I have four 6th grade ESL students (though one is on a family trip and won’t be in class until the 6th or so… >.> ) and nine seniors for a senior seminar that is attempting to get them ready for American universities.  [Before I posted this, another week of school had passed – the school open house and lesson planning took a lot more time than I thought they would.]

The ESL kids are fun – though when I give them a quiz or homework they don’t like, at least one of them says, “Teacher, no.” And I had to make all of the extra thumbtacks disappear because one of the two boys was poking the bulletin board repeatedly with them. That student also likes to lean back in his chair, though after he fell over backwards while doing so, he’s more open to my reminders to keep the chair on the floor! Devotions in the morning are hard – even with my adapting the text for their level, they still look like deer in the headlights. They’re good at math – the first four chapters of their math book breezed by this week (in part because they knew it and also because they didn’t have their matchbooks yet) – their only trouble is the English math vocabulary. I’ve been having them writing every day and on Friday we had a debate on “Are girls better than boys?” – this topic got them talking a lot in English, which was a blessing.

The seniors have been working on resumes – their final draft is due on Tuesday. And once that is done, we’ll do a reflective essay and hopefully I’ll have more to ramble about for them. It is and isn’t a blessing to not have a textbook.
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Main Quest: Figure out Classes; Sidequest: Save the World

I’ve almost been in Korea for a week now and I’m still not one hundred percent sure of what exactly I’m going to be teaching.  I’m getting closer to knowing, but it’s hard to say without having the textbooks in my paws.  I do know that four of the classes will involve TESOL and the fifth will most likely be a senior seminar geared towards preparing them for American universities.  At least I now have a room.  There was only so much I could do during the prep. parts of orientation without a room to prepare or textbooks to lesson plan from.  Lord willing, the textbooks will be there tomorrow.  With school starting on the 29th, I sort of need the textbooks to plan.  So that is my current main quest.

As for my sidequest…  While in Seoul on Saturday I encountered many groups of police officers in riot gear and surreptitiously snapped the following photo.
One of my fellow teachers tried to get some officers to explain what was going on, but they didn’t really speak English and eventually one of them made an “x” with his arms and said, “Secret.”  We happened to be in view of a platoon of officers and all of them turned their heads and looked right at us.  Then one of them came over and asked us if we needed any help.  We explained that, no, we didn’t need help, but we were curious as to what was going on.  The officer tried to explain, but repeatedly said, “It’s hard to explain” and mentioned something about it being cultural.  My fellow teacher guesses it is probably some sort of training or drill. Continue reading

Safe Arrival

I’ve been rather busy, which is no real excuse, but it’s the one I have to use.  Packing to come to Korea took a lot of time as did saying goodbye to friends and family.

But I’m now safely in Yongin, Korea.  Yay! (^^)  Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to talk, since I’m using the school at which I’m teaching’s internet (won’t get personal internet until Saturday or Sunday), so I can’t really say more at this time.

I look forward to rambling more soon – and I’ll try to make up for it with some poetry or something…


Where’d I Put my Adventurer’s Kit…?

The random piles of belongings spread out before me hide the various components and tools I need to succeed and thrive on my latest adventure.  It doesn’t feel that strange, though, that in a little more than a week I will be living in another country.  What does feel strange is that I will finally have a standard long-term job.  I’ve taught before – archery to Cub Scouts and creative writing to the homeless – and I am certified in TESOL, but it just feels weird that I will be teaching English to Koreans as my job.

This is the start of this part of my adventure and I hope to share it with you.  I’m still working out how often I’ll ramble (though I’m leaning toward once a week with exceptions for special occurrences) and on what day (probably around the weekend).  But since my den is still being reconstructed after Derrida passed through (always a danger for storytellers, those literary critics…), you might catch glimpses of this elusive fox digging out tunnels to new locations and might overhear me rambling more than I will in the future.

So go about your merry way for now.  Just be sure to visit and perhaps sit back to hear a tale or two.