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ESL Teacher Blog
The teacher's point of view: thoughts, observations and ideas about ESL teaching.

Monday, June 16, 2008

ESL Teacher Blog: Don't Take It Personally

One of the classes I teach is made up of students who are living in Canada because of their family members.  The students themselves don’t need to be here, but have accompanied their family members who have been transferred to Canada.  These students realize that their day-to-day life in Canada would be much easier if they were able to speak English.  They know that they’re in Canada for a temporary period of time, and consider it a great opportunity for them to learn and/or improve their English.  So, on the whole, I think that they’re quite motivated, especially for a non-credit class.
That is until golf season starts.  Every year as the weather gets better, attendance in this class gets worse.  This year the weather hasn’t been good.  So even though spring’s here, attendance has been great. 
Then last week we suddenly got some good weather, attendance was down.  This week attendance was even worse.  I went from having 18 students to 9.  A 50% drop!!
Each year it’s the same, and each year I take it personally at first.  I get upset that the students stop coming, and imagine that they hate the class, the lessons I choose and my teaching methods. 
Then I come to my senses.  The students have faithfully attended my class for 8 or 9 months, they’re tired of being inside studying.  They want to get out and enjoy the very short golf season.  Really I don’t blame them. 
POSTED BY Cecelia Sumi AT 11:30 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment

Sunday, June 01, 2008

ESL Teacher Blog: Under Pressure

For students studying in academic classes June can be a very stressful and nerve racking time of year.  There are many assignments, projects and exams that must be completed before the end of the school year.  When faced with daunting workloads students may feel overwhelmed. 
Although everyone reacts differently to stress, I’ve found that students are able to cope with heavy workloads more efficiently if they feel that they are part of a learning environment.  It’s helpful for students to remember that their classmates are also in the same boat.  This is best done by reviewing, as a class, all assignment deadlines and exam dates.  I post schedules in the classroom, and make a deadline calendar for the class with all the important dates on it.  I also include any end of the year socials that the class may have planned on the calendar.  Everyday before leaving, I review the following day’s schedule with the class.  I remind and encourage students to make study groups, or to study with a partner. 
I also listen to the class.  Sometimes they just want to unload, they want to talk about how difficult, or how easy a certain exam was, or discuss the challenges or rewards of an assignment.  I let them get things off their chests without being judgemental.  I sometimes will clarify a point that is unclear, but for the most part I just let them talk. 
After allowing them to unwind it’s back to business as usual….coping with a busy and demanding time of year.
POSTED BY Cecelia Sumi AT 5:02 AM   0 Comments  Add Comment


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