Dear Students – don’t expect your teacher to be available for you to make up your cancellations any day or time. As you well know time is money. IF you want a 24/7 teacher try AI and be disappointed. #Teaching
We live in times when it’s almost a status symbol to say we don’t have time. We’re constantly in a rush. Sometimes it feels we’re running like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland: “I’m late. I’m late. I’m late for a very important date”!
This week, a student of mine, Rodrigo, was saying that to his defense he hadn’t had time to do his homework. He has 2 young daughters and a wife to care for at home. And his work is very demanding.
It sounded as if I gave him homework as a form of punishment. Actually, I couldn’t care less about it. Do it. Don’t do it. I won’t be any wiser because of that.
The only reasons I give students homework is to give them direction to review what was seen in class, to practice reading and writing and to expand vocabulary.
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Yes, yes, I know… I could say that again… Waiting is HARD. “We twiddle our thumbs, we shuffle our feet, we stifle our yawns, we heave long sighs, we fret inwardly in frustration”.
That’s how a language learner feels… progress is slow. So instead of just moaning, we teachers must encourage our students to actively be in charge of their linguistic progress.
Are they on social media? Great. Encourage them to access accounts on Twitter, or instagram or Facebook …. using the language they’re learning.
As a teacher I know I must help my students develop a positive relationship with the language they’re learning. I must show them the value of that language, increase their interest in the learning process. Stress the relevance of they’re doing and failure is not an option. Signify to them what is done in the language they pursue and what they can do if they commit themselves to learning.
My students are my greatest asset, so I won’t treat them as morons (isn’t it a great new year’s resolution?) They’re my partners not only by paying for their lessons but also by allowing me my professional and personal development with and through them.
May the new year help us all take off to new heights.
“Last night as I was sleeping I had a dream so fair…” – wait a minute, those are the words to a New Jerusalem hymn… but seriously, last night I dreamed that I was a teacher/ coordinator (already promoting myself) at a large language center in São Paulo.
The school was having problems in particular with a student, Joelson (I asked his name in the dream) who had finished the last stage and in order to receive his course completion certificate he would have to take an exam. The problem was that although Joelson had reached an advanced English level he got very nervous with tests and he refused to take the test but he still demanded his certificate. The school director asked me to talk to him and try to convince him to take the test.
Joelson said: “Every time I take a test I get too nervous and I get everything wrong and fail.” “You’re talking to me, you can see my English is good now, why can’t the school just give me a certificate? I paid all the fees and did all the tasks in and outside of class”. “My teachers can certify that my English is excellent.”
Then I went to talk to the headmaster and told him what Joelson had said, and that I agreed with him. I added: “In my 30 plus years teaching experience I’ve never seen a person get a job because they handed in an English Language proficiency certificate – first, they will be interviewed or tested in the language. If they have a paper certificate is immaterial. And I’m talking about both national and multinational corporations. So give him the certificate without him taking the test. It has no legal value anyway”.
I know… each country’s culture and policies will vary, but to get a job in Brazil, employers are more interested in real-life skills from their candidates than their English certificate. Listen, I’m not talking about University degrees.
Of course, international universities require a TOEFL or IELTS certificate to get the process going and sieve through the numbers of applicants but it is well known that many certificate holders were well-groomed at taking tests and evading tricky questions, but when they start their university courses abroad they need to be enrolled in ESL classes (even before the lectures begin).
So my dream is that people may actually learn English in the coming year, not just for a paper certificate, but to be ready to skydive into new adventures in the world.
As the days of 2018 run to a close, you can hear some people saying that it’s just another date. It means nothing. My mother used to say that too. As a housewife her whole life she’d say yesterday, today, tomorrow have their same lot of cleaning, washing and cooking.
The Chinese have a different new year date. The Jews too. Islam also follows a different calendar. Googling it up, even the Native indigenous people in South America follow a calendar year which starts on June 21 – the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Ok. I didn’t find anything about Brazilian indigenous tribes but I’m pretty sure if they have a New Year Date it won’t be January 01.
Richard Vaughan, an American teacher in Spain, loves to say that the year would make much better sense if it really started somewhere in September.
In Brazil the year ending in December coincides with the ending of the school year and the beginning of summer so gives a good closure to the cycle of life (at least academically speaking).
Other people decide to fight all resolutions – they’re pointless. So their resolution is to make no resolutions.
I’ll go against the flow and encourage you to make small, feasible resolutions. There is a psychological factor in taking out the old calendar and putting up a new calendar. Get rid of the old, and put on the new.
We all had small victories in 2018. Maybe small and big losses, but it is all in the past now. No, no, they won’t fade away as a dream, but they will hurt less in 2019… allow yourself to heal, give yourself time to lick your wounds, to dust off your pride … decide that you will be a better teacher, a better spouse, a better human being… . Yes, I know it won’t happen as magic but you have made up the decision which shows you are willing to grow.
So, child, go forth, slip, trip over, fall, roll back, love and allow yourself to be loved… but keep moving forward.
A. Before you watch the video:
1. Can you remember any Christmas commercial? What made it special or memorable?
BBC One Christmas ad: heartwarming tale or lousy depiction of working mothers?
B. AFTER YOU WATCH THE VIDEO:
1. What was/were the objective(s) of this commercial?
2. who did you see in the opening scene? What time of the day do you think it is?
3. What is the woman doing? Who is she?
4. What is the teenager doing?
5. Who did he text to? What did he write?
6. What is the key message of the tv commercial?
7. What positive and/or negative aspects could you identifica from the story?
A funfair / a fairground / an amusement park
Candy floss / cotton candy
EMOTIONAL BBC CHRISTMAS ADVERT FREEZES TIME SO MOTHER AND SON CAN BE TOGETHER
There are three hard truths in this advert:
Families need money
Women need recognizing as reliable workers
Vulnerability of boys
C. Fill in the blanks with words from the vocabulary:
1. Go on the rides you haven’t gone on yet and you have spent your time wisely at the ________________.
2. At $199.99 I wouldn’t ____________________ and buy one, however.
3. That species of bird usually flies back home at _______________
4. We could not see an end and it was so ______________________.
5. Life is like ______________, spun of hopes and dreams
“You still coming tonight, Mum?” She says, “Don’t know love. If I’ve got time,”
Fill in the blanks with words from the vocabulary:
1. Go on the rides you haven’t gone on yet and you have spent your time wisely at thefunfair!
2. At $199.99 I wouldn’t rush out and buy one, however.
3. That species of bird usually flies back home at dusk.
4. We could not see an end and it was so disconsolate.
5. Life is like candyfloss, spun of hopes and dreams