Working from home: Yes or No?

Hi everyone!!

As you may (or may not know). I have lost it completely, and have started making YouTube videos :p. Yup. I filmed this very short video a while back and I talked about what I do. I thought I’d share it here.

Oh! Yeah. I know my background sucks. Dunno why I thought hanging pearls (fake ones) on the cupboard would look good. It doesn’t!

Anyhow, this is me, talking briefly about working from home.

 

See ya soon!!

xx

J.

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Websites, videos & random stuff I use in class

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Hi everyone!

Today’s post is all over da place… but goooooooooood (me thinks). I am sharing with you a few things I used in class, plan on using in class, and some things some of my Facebook friends shared with me!! So, let’s share folks!

I was teaching question tags and I came across My English Page website and it is pretty good. You can get the question tag lesson material (theory) here and exercises here. I would not use this for weak students or lower level learners. I’d say it is better for A2+. I usually go to the Grammar Bank website when I am looking for theory + exercises (online), but I thought I’d try this one a try as well.

My learner asked me to find videos/material that would help him familiarise himself with the Aussie accent. I grew up in Sydney but only have an Oz twang as I have been told and my accent is not as Aussie as it used to. So, anyway, I asked my Facebook teacher friends for help and many made suggestions, so I am sharing these suggestions here as well (thanks to everyone!!).

So, Aussie accent lesson plan from ELT stories.

Katherine suggested I checked out Elllo. I had never heard about this website. I just had a quick look and there are various videos with different accents (from all over the world) and listening questions (plus the transcript of whatever the person in the video says). There are even EAP videos (yup) Interesting!!! You should check it out.

I discovered ABC News Australia. Videos that last for 90 secs. You can find them here.

I used this article again in class and had forgotten how good it is to get students talking. I have two words for you. Language Police. You can read the article here and use it in class as you wish.

Harvard Business Review Podcasts: I am going to use this podcast in a lesson later on (if I make a lesson plan, I will share it here). The podcast about productivity is worth listening to though, especially with your Business English students/ higher level learners (lawyers/ CEOs etc.). I love the part about reading and the flashlight/ naps.

Quick fun game (saw this in a planner group).

Tell your students:

So,you have $10.000 but you can only buy things that start with the first letter of your name. What do you get???

My answer: I’d get  jumpers, jugs, jelly beans- jelly babies, juice, Jo Malone perfumes, a jigsaw puzzle (not sure about that one), Japanese beauty products (that’s cheating) : Dunno what else….

But, how can you make this part of a lesson? Well, you can do this when teaching nouns, or as a speaking task before teaching story telling. It could be part of a lesson where you teach reasons or the use of because.

Something random

(coz everything else mentioned so far is connected :p)

Lettering is a ‘thing’ and I am trying to improve my lettering skills. I found some pdf files on some websites and if you want to try lettering with your students or improve your own calligraphy skills, you should check out this website.

So, that’s all for now guys. If you have found anything worth sharing, do let me know in the comments section below. By the way, I often wonder what you think when you read my posts, I mean, I am so informal!! But I am me and I am talking to you guys like I would if we were in the office, sharing ideas. OK. I am off now!!

Till next time……

P.S. EAP pre- sessional tutor posts have  started to get advertised on Baleap and indeed.org.uk. You should check them out and you can also read my tips regarding pre-sessional EAP courses/ interviews and so on.

Hey, I missed you guys. Haven’t written a (kinda) proper post in ages!!!This is actually my 200th post!!! Thanks for being here xx ❤ ❤ ❤ 

Why & How Pre-sessional EAP courses work for me

Hi guys!

This post was prompted by Alex’s question on a post I wrote about EAP presessional courses. His question was simple.

You teach EAP during the summer, so what happens the rest of the year?

Instead of answering in the comments section, I though I’d write a quick post, just to tell you my context which may be similar to yours.

Music Department

Sheffield University ( Department of Music)

I live in Greece and the school year is from September to end of May (private 1-2-1 teaching). I also teach Business English online. There my students are grown ups with kids, so they take summer holidays when schools are shut (same time as I do).

This means that every summer from mid June till mid September, I am free. I do not have that much work and that’s why Pre-sessional EAP courses are great for me. I ❤ them. I get to teach in a different context to what I do in the winter. I work at a university, which is really challenging and stimulating, my learners are from a different country altogether AND I get to be in the UK which I love.

Why don’t I teach EAP all year round? Firstly, I have not pursued it (not that any one has asked me to stay-just to be clear, eh?). Secondly, I have never lived in the UK during the winter, so dunno if I can handle it!! I am from the south people!

You may also ask, do I mind working all year round? Nope. I kinda have to work all year round if I want to do the things I do. I am not complaining, and anyway I am a workaholic, a shopaholic/travelaholic or just a spendaholic. I work, enjoy my job, make money from it, spend my money. Simple stuff.

Of course I miss out on the Greek summer, but if you think about it, the summer in Greece lasts from May till end of October. It’s always warm, especially on my little island.

Beach Kolumpari

So, there you have it. That’s how  and why pre-sessional courses work for me. This summer I will be going back to Sheffield University for their 10 week pre-sessional course. Cannot wait!

Do you teach pre-sessional EAP courses or a summer school course? Tell me your story in the comments below. Don’t forget to follow my blog if you are not already and give my Facebook page a thumbs up so that you do not miss notifications! You can follow me on Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram

Till next time….

Footy ELT Resources

“I want to do a lesson on football” the learner said. ” Ummmm. OK!” The fashionista in me panicked. “So, now what?” Well, I did what every sane  ‘I know nothing about football’ teacher would do. I went to Facebook and asked my PLN. Everyone came to my savior and today I am helping my fellow fashionista and non-fashionista teachers out. So, you want to talk/teach something that is based on the topic of football? Here is what I have.

The results of my search/ my suggestions

The Busy teacher website has 39 free lesson plans on the World Cup.

You can use Wikipedia and find the history of almost every national football team.

Labelled football pitch all the words you need to describe a football field (I think?!?!?).

Videos

TED Ed the Impossible Free Kick

I actually found this video very interesting (physics used to explain a free kick).

Ellen video

I watched this video and found it so funny. It is of a football match in Greece. Dunno how you can use it in the class, but I thought I’d add it to put a smile on your faces :D.

My lovely PLN

Articles

Marc suggested the Mirror Four Four Two

A hot topic, according to Paul, is this one. It’s about Zidane and this dude called Guardiola (?!).

Maria told me to have a look at the Guardian because it is very easy to navigate and has clear tabs (I second that).

Lesson Plans

Christina’s suggestion: LanguageCuster.com: Learn English through football.

Gabriela suggested Premier Skills English

A book

Rachael mentioned this book: Express Series: English for Football: A short, specialist English course which you can get *here

Sue actually sent me a lesson plan ❤ ❤

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So that’s all folks. If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments section below :). Enough with the football talk. I gotta go put on some makeup now 🙂 ❤ ❤

xx

 

*I use amazon affiliate links

The one about the teacher who got cold feet

This is going to be like a journal entry. I am going to talk about something new and how I felt before and after the lesson. So, here goes!

My first medical English class

Before the lesson

I feel nervous and excited.

  • Nervous

I am nervous because this is the first time I have a student who wants to talk about the components of blood, clinical trials and viruses. I also have no ‘real’ idea where I am supposed to look for materials. I have been given a few suggestions, but before the actual lesson, these are unchartered waters.My learner is an advanced level learner which is a bit scary because I am the language expert, not the subject expert. This learner will probably not be making too many language errors, so where will that leave me?

  • Excited

I am excited because I have no idea what I am going to do! This is a new challenge. After 18 years of teaching, something new. This is stimulating. I will have to read up on things, I am going to learn and prepare material from scratch and this is fun. Let’s see how this goes.

My teaching context

This is an online lesson. The learner has already had English lessons with another teacher. This is a B2 level student.

My material for today

I chose to use an article from NPR about Alzheimer’s disease. The good thing about the articles I have seen so far in NPR is that they have videos as well, so your student reads the article and watches a video as well.

During the lesson

First minutes were dedicated to getting to know each other. We then started talking about what she thought the article will be about based on the title. The student then read the article, we chatted a bit about it, like a summary. I did not explain any vocabulary.  We talked about Alzheimer’s, she then wanted me to explain some of the unknown words and I did. After that she watched the video which was in the article and talked to me about it.

This was a get to know you lesson with some speaking which was based on the article/video. No homework was assigned.

Why did I choose this article?

I did not choose a medical journal to start my sessions with this learner because I wanted to get a ‘feel’ of her level. I also thought that it might be a bit hard for me as well to explain terms I did not know and I did not want to make a bad impression (teacher has to know it all syndrome. Yes, I could have prepared and found all my unknown vocabulary had I chosen a medical journal article, but I was too stressed, so I didn’t).

What’s next?

I asked my student what kinds of lessons she wants to do. She said she wants to learn a lot of terminology especially if it has to do with clinical trials and blood. So this weekend I am going to do a lot of research and try to see what I can dig up (if you have any suggestions, please leave a comment in the comments section).

This was a good lesson about a disease. It was not a medical English lesson though. I think my next lesson will be an ESP lesson cause now I know my learner’s general English capability. Time to move on to ESP.

I will share the medical English websites I find in a later post. For the moment, check out NPR if you don’t know what it is cause I like it.

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Till next time….

T+T0=P: Time Management Problems when Teaching Online

Time management when teaching online can be a bit tricky, so I thought I’d write a post about it (after Demmy suggested it of course!). I have a few suggestions to make time management more ‘manageable’. Let’s start by discussing what I mean by ‘time management problems’. As I see it, there are two types of time management problems.

Problem  number one

You cannot manage your time effectively online during the lesson, and you end up not doing what you had planned to teach.

Problem number two

You thought online teaching would ensure a better quality of life, meaning that you would have time to spend at home, and you would be a freer teacher. Instead, you are still working all day. Online or offline, you are struggling to find time, and 24 hours are not enough!

Now, let’s move on. Time to have a look at what kind of issues may affect your time management as an online tutor, and make suggestions on how to alleviate these problems.

Too many Notes and Things to share with the learners

  • Try to make folders of the material you use and try to use your material as often as you can. If, for instance, you teach grammar mostly, make docs for all the grammar points and then keep using over and over (theory docs). I, for example, have conversational lessons that are based on articles. I have a folder with the articles and word docs with tasks which are based on them. It takes time to make this folder and if you are new at online teaching this will take forever, but you can use it over and over after time. In a nutshell, just make folders and save all your stuff. You need to be very organised!!
  • If you have PPT slides, turn them into word documents and type comments under the slides. There is also a note-taking option when you choose to print a PPT. If you want, you can tell your learner to print the slides before the lesson and tell them to make handwritten notes of things you ask them to write down (in this case PPT slides need to be sent prior to the lesson).
  • Have you thought of having a generic lesson note template which you use over and over again? Do you have a doc of general feedback you can copy paste onto different documents to different learners? This generic feedback doc will save you loads of time!Again, you go to your grammar theory doc for example (the one I mentioned earlier) and you copy paste the theory or your notes and then you add more comments.  Be careful though, do not make notes of every single mistake your learner makes.This is very important!  You could say, when you first get a learner, that you will be sending them feedback notes with X number of grammar/vocabulary points and Y number of phonology/pronunciation errors. This learner/ teacher feedback notes agreement will save you time, will keep your feedback shorter, and will make your learner more conscious!! They need to take notes as well!!

Have to send too many documents/upload stuff

  • Get a learner’s management system  or a Wiki where your learner goes and sees everything uploaded. Remember the grammar theory document I mentioned earlier? If you have a website with this info already uploaded, you can direct your learner there.

Tech problems that cause you to be online/offline

  • Have a good internet connection. Nothing else.

Lesson planning problems that are affected by tech problems etc.

  • The solution here is quite easy. Chuck your lesson plan if you were beaten by the ‘tech’ beast, or be more generous with your task timing. The more flexible you are, the easier it will be to cope with your lesson plan going down the drain.

Distractions at home

  • Have a designated area in a room (like a study) where you teach. Door should be closed and don’t have phones next to you unless it is extremely necessary ( I often take the phone off the hook when I am teaching online).

Online distractions

  • This is a no brainer, when you teach online, have everything else, all other websites, closed. Yeap, Facebook is great, but it may distract you when you are teaching and you will forget what you were talking about.

Final tip: Remember to multi-task. If your learner is reading an article or writing a short text online, you can be making lesson notes.

I hope these suggestions help you to save a bit time. Just keep in mind, teachers are all wired in a way that makes them work or think about work 24/7. Happy teaching!!!

Feel free to leave a comment on how you save time when teaching online. Follow this blog via mail, WordPress or Bloglovin if you found it helpful and want to keep reading my posts. There is also a Facebook page on the side bar you could ‘like’. Enough with the self-promo. Thanks for stopping by.

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Till next time……

//

#firsttimeteaching

Theodora Papapanagiotou started a blog challenge called  #firsttimeteaching. When I saw it I thought that was a great idea for a challenge. I was gonna do it. Then I realized I did not remember the first time I walked into a classroom!! Quite worrying, eh? Anyhow, I am going to move from the firsttime I taught in a classroom, to the first time I logged onto my online classroom. Yeap!! I remember that one. The first time I taught online!!

Let me start by saying that I am not the most tech savvy gal in the world, I am actually far from that. My computer skills at that point were more about how to download something, watch a YouTube video and probably blog. I did not know how to make Pdf files, how to make folders that would save Mp3 recordings etc. etc. That was too much for my pretty little brain. So,  boy oh boy was I pushing the envelope (or should I say pushing the email since people don’t send letters anymore?). Teaching online was going to be a tough cookie for me… and it kinda was.

I started working for my company. I had received a lot of training and even had test lessons. Everything trainingwise had gone well. On the day of my first ‘official’   lesson, I turned on the pc, logged onto the internet, then my email, and I sent my student an email with information and links to our ‘virtual classroom’: the platform we were going to use for the lesson. I then called my learner. It was the first time I was using the phone and Adobe to have a lesson. I had never taught using a webcam before either. Both felt strange, especially since I had my webcam on, but my learner was only using a phone. That meant that I couldn’t actually see the student. I could only hear a voice. The lesson started as all lessons do. The only different thing was that I had to ask TRCs. That is what I call technology related checks like, ” Can you see me? Can you hear me? Do you see the slides” etc.

Not using paper and writing/correcting stuff was odd. I did go around that though, and when I wrote on the virtual whiteboard, I told the learner to take screen shots.

I also found myself having difficulty with turn taking, cause I did not know when the learner was going to talk. I could not see the learner! Not being face to face was actually quite stressful in the beginning.

Everything did go smoothly. I think the hardest part of the lesson was the things I had to do after the lesson!! The administrative stuff!!Downloading and uploading files/recordings. The first few online lessons took me hours to prepare and complete. Now, it is a piece of cake! I have gone a far way since my #firsttimeteaching online!

EAP resources

Till next time………