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Posts from the ‘TESOL’ Category

“Being Teacher.”

The other night I commented to my friend Sam, who is about to graduate with a degree in teaching, that I had papers to grade and a lesson to plan- I had to go home to “play teacher.” He immediately responded, “I have to tell you something: that’s not ‘playing’ teacher; that’s ‘being’ teacher.”

And he’s right. It’s funny because even though I have been a teacher for over two months now, I still feel kind of like this isn’t really my job and I’m not really a teacher. I feel like I’m just temporarily subbing for someone, or maybe I’m here at an English school in Seattle just like I’ve been at English camps in Slovakia; it’s a lot of fun, but in a few more weeks I’ll be going home. That being said, however, I’m glad that this isn’t just a temporary job; I really enjoy teaching!

I enjoy planning lessons and looking through books trying to decide which activities are most helpful- and most interesting for my students. I enjoy getting to know my students and seeing their English improve over the course of time they spend in my class. I think the thing I enjoy most about the job is that even if I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, can’t find anything to wear, miss my bus, and arrive at work half a sleep, in need of coffee, and in a very bad mood (this doesn’t actually happen that often), I am always in a better mood when I leave work than I when I came (even when I came in a good mood).

Of course, that isn’t to say that it’s easy. Teaching is more of a challenge than I expected, even with all of my experiences at the English camps in Slovakia, working as a conversation partner and tutor with the international students at USC, and all of the time that I have spent communicating with people who speak other languages. There is a big difference in knowing what to say and knowing why it should be said.

For example, did you know that, in English, you don’t use the progressive aspect with non-action verbs or that two-syllable adjectives that end in an “ee” sound end in -er or -est when being used as comparatives or superlatives, and that two-syllable adjectives that don’t end in “ee” have to use “more” or “most” instead? I would never say “I have been having a car for a long time now” or “He is the handsomest man in the world,” but before a few weeks ago, I could not have told you the rule that dictated why.

Grammar is not the only challenge. My class roster has the potential to change every two weeks, and it generally does. I started with nine students from six different countries; I now have 14 students, 11 of which are from Korea. The fact that most of my students are from Korea isn’t a challenge; they’re great students. So the other challenge? Four of my students are girls; the other ten are guys, all between the ages of 18 and 26. Haha, you can probably imagine the challenge there! (Notice I didn’t say a problem). Incredibly, they all listen to me, respect me, and stay on task. They also somehow manage to turn any grammatical concept we study into an opportunity for asking their teacher for her phone number, address, marital status, and different ways to express having a broken heart as a result of not receiving the aforementioned information!

Tomorrow we’re going on a fieldtrip to the original Starbuck’s and Pike Place Market. Yep, I’m in charge of taking ten 18-26 year old males to a fieldtrip at the local market- I’ll let you know how that goes, I’m expecting that it will be quite an experience!



Last Thursday I wrote that I had been offered a job as a sub that would become a full teaching job as soon as a new teacher was needed. Last Wednesday and Thursday I observed two Level 2 (low intermediate) classes and then subbed for one of them on Friday. That was my first official time teaching in a classroom with full responsibility. The class lasted for three hours but I felt like it went really well.

Monday afternoon, only 3 days after I subbed, my substituting job became a full teaching job (didn’t take long)! The program director called and asked if I would like to begin teaching a Level 3 class (intermediate English) ASAP. He combined my class with another Level 3 class on Tuesday and Wednesday and I observed the teacher. Today was my first day teaching my class and I loved it! I have a small class that is very multi-cultural. (Because of Seattle’s West Coast location, many of the classes are made up almost entirely of students from Korea, China, Taiwan, and Japan). I have nine students; three from Korea, one from Japan, one from Taiwan, two from Colombia, one from Turkey, and one from Slovakia. Six of the students had just moved up to level 3 from level 2 and were students from the classes I observed last week, so I was already a little familiar with their names and faces.

I’m also really enjoying having a job that is located in an exciting part of town and that has coworkers close to my own age. Last night I ran into one of my coworkers while studying at my favorite Tully’s. Today I had lunch with a friend after work and ran into several students while walking down the street. I even ride the same bus as several of the students at the school.

I’m really excited about how well everything seems to be going so far; I definitely have a lot to learn, but I think this is going to be a lot of fun too 🙂 I’ll keep you updated.

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!


Employed Again :)

Just before Christmas I took my resume by a school that I knew offered ESL classes and was told that I didn’t have the required experience, but they would keep my resume on file anyway. I was surprised to be invited to an interview several weeks later, but not surprised when I never heard back from them. Then, however, I got an email about a week and a half ago inviting me in for a second interview. I went back last Friday for the interview, and earlier this week they offered me a job as a substitute teacher, which will turn into a regular teaching position as soon as there was an opening. (New students arrive every two weeks, so additional teachers are often needed).

The school is not far from my apartment and is located in one of my favorite areas of Seattle. There isn’t any parking nearby, however, so this week I have been taking the bus to go and observe classes.


Tomorrow I will be substituting for the first time, teaching a 3-hour low-intermediate level class. The class has 12 students, mostly from Asian countries. There are 8 students from Korea, 1 from Japan, 1 from China, 1 from Taiwan… and 1 from Slovakia! I’m really excited about this job; I think it will give me great experience and also be a lot of fun.

*Picture from Google Images.