My first henna tattoo… and other TEFL tales

It’s probably because I’m studying again, desperately trying to get the final module of the Delta completed and off my plate in order to put it behind me and use all my new Super Teacher skills on different challenges, but I’ve noticed that the long-neglected ‘Working’ aspect of this blog’s tagline is creeping back in.

Last autumn, when I set sail for Thailand and the first, intensive part of this Delta journey, I was definitely burnt out. All the joy had disappeared from my classroom. My inventiveness had diminished. I was seriously questioning whether sinking a few thousand dollars into a further qualification and a definite period of unemployment was the best of ideas, or whether I should turn my mind to another career change. More

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“No tengo lapiz.” Linguistic acquisition and the ESL teacher

언필이없서요 (yonpil-ee obsoyo). A recent addition to my catalogue of chunks of Korean, of which I now know a range, none of which are related to each other enough to form sentences let alone serve any useful, communicative purpose. Meaning, “I don’t have a pencil,” this, like the Spanish phrase for the same dilemma in this post’s title, is the extent of my on-the-job language learning.

The situation is reciprocal. I learn phrases like, “I haven’t got a pencil,” “I’ve finished”, and bathroom,” in the language of the country I’m living in. The under-10s I encounter in those countries in turn learn the words, “TEEEEEacherrrrrr” (with bored / outraged / despairing inflection depending on the situation) “No homework pleeeeeeeaaazzzzz,” and, astonishingly, all the words to the latest Disney / One Direction song (depending on grade level). Neither I nor they seem to get much beyond this point. More

Feathered friends

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