“The Student in All of Us”

Today’s article is written for the Reach To Teach Teach Abroad Blog Carnival, a monthly series that focuses on providing helpful tips and advice to ESL teachers around the globe. I’ll be posting a new ESL related article on my blog on the 4th of every month. Check back for more articles, and if you’d like to contribute to next month’s Blog Carnival, please get in touch with Dean at dean@reachtoteachrecruiting.com, and he’ll let you know how you can start participating!

Over the last four months, I believe our outlook toward teaching has changed a bit. When we first came to Korea, we were fresh out of college. We recently received our PA teaching licenses, and with them, our heads were filled with the different pedagogical practices and techniques we learned along the way. Teaching in Korea became a place where we could put all these practices to good use. We were in for a big surprise. Teaching in Korea, as well as any foreign country for that matter, is different than teaching in the States. It comes with its own set of challenges and rewards that are not mentioned to you while preparing for your adventure. Both Jenni and I have learned a great deal about teaching since arriving in Korea, and I believe that a large portion of our enlightenment has come from our students.

                As teachers, we sometime have to reverse roles with our students. Whether this is by accident, or in order to help connect with our students better, it definitely happens to all of us at some point or another. Whether we do something useful with the information we acquire is completely up to us. This month’s blog carnival topic is asking us to talk about what we have learned in the ESL classroom. Today we would like to share two things that we have learned in our classrooms. 1) Patience truly is a virtue. Each day is a new day, and every day each student comes to class with his/her own set of challenges. Students can be difficult sometimes, but it is our job to get the best out of them every day. It is our job to evaluate how far we can push our students based on the circumstances of the day. 2) Games in the classroom can have educational value. For us, our students are always asking to play games and for good reason. Our students spend a lot of time learning English. I am sure when they come to us they are exhausted from studying English grammar and cramming new vocabulary into their heads. All they want to do when they come to class is relax, talk with friends, and play games. While I do believe that the material I am responsible for teaching my students is very important, I also believe the only way my students are going to remember the information is if they are prepared to remember it. Games do have their place in the classroom. Sometimes students are simply not prepared to study English. I think the most valuable thing I have learned from my students is that sometimes we have to step away from our lesson plan and do something fun. There is certainly a need to cover the material in the lesson plan, but sometimes the students need a little break from the grind. I believe our students respect us more when we are willing to cater to their needs every once in a while.

                As always, if you have any questions for us, feel free to leave a comment on our blog: www.chrisandjenniseetheworld.wordpress.com



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