Thursday, November 26, 2009

Things I've Learned About Teaching EFL

  1. I am far too much of a pushover for my own good. Back at home, Tesia likes to call me "Dante," as a reference to the character from Kevin Smith's Clerks. I am really bad at being assertive. I guess the underlying reason for that is I hate for other people to feel bad or uncomfortable, especially because of me. Suppose it's because I've got that "extraverted Feeling" function going on, in terms of MBTI. Net result being that my classroom management is, well, awful. Classes where I've come down a bit harder on the rules might mean an increase in temporary discomfort from time to time, but overall a net decrease in frustration and chaos.
  2. Preemptive strikes work: I've started taking kids' cellphones away at the beginning of some classes, and the difference is palpable. Though the kids then all tell me that they're angry when I ask how they're doing, heh.
  3. Little kids love running around.
  4. Teachers may not have eyes in the back of their head, but the white board makes a great mirror.
  5. Just about any sentiment can be expressed in Engrishee if you slow down and use illustrations and hand gestures.
  6. Kids also love throwing stuff.
  7. South Korean kids in particular have a very casual attitude about death and dying. Strange in a country with one of the highest suicide rates in the developed world. If a student is absent, the standard reason is "______ die. Go to sky." Another girl threatens suicide with her scissors or x-acto (yeah, they carry x-actos!) every time I deduct a point from her team. Kids pretend to shoot each other (and me) in the head regularly. One of my classes constantly asks me to play hangman. How I usually play hangman is with multiple words, for points instead of drawing the gallows and stick figure, etc. But this class couldn't give two shits about points. They proceed to guess every crap letter in the alphabet, in hopes of condemning some poor stick figure to die. I, on the other hand, try to pick words to outsmart them, with surprise Ys and Ws and Qs.
  8. If it's not working, stop doing it, but if it IS working, keep doing it.


  1. Your comment about hangman reminded me of this:

    1. OMG that is perfect. I might have to show my kids. Thanks!