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What exactly do I do?

This post was inspired by something that happened to me last week. Let me tell you a quick story. I had sent an email to a prestigious international school in my area, asking if they would be interested in me coming to run one of my workshops for their students, who, for the most part speak English as a second language. I've got a friend who works there, and she said that many students who join the school in 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade often have more difficulty with English than the students who start there when they are 3. That's logical of course, so I thought, hey, maybe some parents are looking for someone to help their children get a bit of extra confidence in English! I got a response that went something along these lines - thank you for your offer, but our students already study in English, so your services are probably a better fit for students who are learning English as a second language.


I thought to myself...well...yes, of course...but aren't the students at your school also learning English as they grow and study?


I felt like I had been labelled, "just another ESL teacher trying to survive by teaching after school lessons". Then it occurred to me that perhaps what I think I do and what other people think I do may actually be two very different things! So if you're curious to know a little bit more about what I actually do with your children (or what I could do with your children), here's all the juicy details!

 

Hi, I'm Claire and I...

DO

DON'T

dedicate all my time to helping kids and teens improve their English.

teach as a side-gig, just to get some extra cash.

help children and young teens develop confidence in their English skills by talking to them, and allowing them to talk to me.

stress my students out by giving them grades and tests.

help children and young teens develop a positive attitude towards learning English so that when they get older and need to improve their skills for school or work, they won't have negative mental blocks towards learning.

make my students memorize endless vocabulary lists or grammar charts, or have them write lists of 20 sentences using the verb "to be".

show children and young teens that perfection isn't everything, the ability to communicate is.

get angry when my students are tired, distracted or forgetful. I do change activities and bring them back on board with me. We all have "off days".

show children and young teens that English has tons of every day practical and useful applications to their lives.

teach unilaterally (one way teaching). I teach by involving my students in their learning.


So, yes, I am, by definition, an ESL teacher. But I'm an ESL teacher with a big, big dream, and it's not finishing my work day at 16:30, or having 2 months of holidays in the summer. It's to help as many children as possible see the value of being able to communicate in a second language. I left traditional school contexts because I was tired of seeing children forced to study English in a way that just doesn't make sense. A language is not learned from a book. A language is learned by interacting with other learners, talking to native speakers, playing games, watching videos, singing songs, cooking and all the other millions of things we do in our day to day lives. And that's what I do in my lessons and courses. Teach IN English, not just teach English.

 

If you're curious to find out more, or you just like my subtle rebellious nature and want to hear from me every few weeks in your inbox, sign up for my newsletter. It's short, concise, and fun!



Just a glimpse of all the fun we had in the Colors Scavenger Hunt on Saturday. There were 7 kids, ranging from 5 to 10 years old, and despite their age and level difference, they all had so much fun together!


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