Once upon an English adventure

It’s hard to believe that it was nearly 15 years ago that I first decided to move abroad to teach English as a second language.  Now, as I sit here in my English for Academic Purposes class at the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta, I think back to those first classes and how much I have improved as an English teacher.

“Free talking!” Mr. Jung would say when I asked him what I was expected to teach my Korean students.

“What’s free talking?” I asked.

“You know. Free talking!” He said with even more excitement.

I didn’t want to look like I didn’t know what I was doing, so I decided I would ask the other teachers about these “free talking” classes.  I would learn that the school generally had very little in the way of curriculum and I would be expected to design the course any way I saw fit.  I would try out many terrible lessons, including Tongue Twister Tuesdays where we would recite a grouping of tongue twisters for 50 minutes every Tuesday, musical Fridays where my students were expected to sing along with me as I struggled with learning guitar, and games day where we would play Monopoly or Scrabble for the allotted time.  I would have a one-on-one class for 3 hours a day for 3 weeks in order to prepare a vice-president in LG for his upcoming move to Toronto.  We both fell asleep in class one day!

All this trial and error has refined my teaching style and ability.  I now spend time crafting assignments aimed at fulfilling specific learning objectives and I try to integrate multiple ways that students can engage with the English language.  I hope that my students in EAP 140 can read this post and consider themselves lucky that they are taking class from me now, and can be thankful for all those students who suffered for so long in my classes!




20 Responses to “Once upon an English adventure”

  1. It is really worth to read !

  2. It is really worth to read!

  3. It is really worth to read !

  4. why don’t we have game days anymore

  5. The picture is so cute!

  6. I can feel I am lucky right now.

  7. Give me five……
    – The cute woodchuck.

  8. Nice blog! i has been moved.

  9. Can’t believe! It’s better than my blog!

  10. Your teaching experience in other country remind me of my high school teachers, most of them are from Canada and one of them is from England. They told me it is hard to live in a country when you don’t understand the first language in that country. Also, one of my principal said to us,” teachers always come and go in an international school”, which made me feel sad when I knew that my English teacher was leaving. I’m lucky to be here, at least I can speak English, and I admire those teachers who teach in a foreign country.

    • onepercentyellow Says:

      Eden. Thank you for your thoughtful response! I felt that tension when I worked abroad as well. I wanted to be there when my students graduated or completed their language study, but I taught in many different schools and would only see some students for a short time. I’m happy to be at Augustana where I will be able to watch all of you get into your programs and walk across the stage and get your degrees!

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