Summer Plans: Transitioning from work to a vacation mindset

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With summer school wrapping up, I am having a difficult time transitioning from a work to a vacation mindset. Some people might not have a problem with this, but I do.

When the semester is finished, it is hard for me to stop thinking about my work and students. I am driven to come up with new teaching strategies, check my emails, and worry about my students’ continued learning. Continue reading

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A Year in the Life

Laptop computer with boxes of students in an online classroom on the screen
Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

It’s been a little over a year since ESL campuses shut their doors. I can’t decide whether it has gone by slowly or quickly. In my personal life, the pandemic has lurched along, one depressing headline after another; endless days without family and friends. However, as a teacher I have been flying through the days by the seat of my pants!

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#CDNELTCHAT: JOIN THE CHAT ON TUESDAY!

Image Source: #CdnELTChat Team

If you’re a Twitter user, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, March 30, when our topic will be: Teaching and Learning Vocabulary.  Below is a recap of the March 16 chat written by #CdnELTchat moderator Bonnie Nicholson.

A little over a year ago, on March 11, 2020, our lives were upended when the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Most schools and learning institutions in Canada closed to in-person learning soon afterwards, and many of us found ourselves teaching online classes for the first time. As we left our workplaces, I suspect few of us thought that we would still be in the midst of the pandemic a year later.

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Tools and Resources for Online Teaching (Part 1)

In this article, I am going to share some of my ideas about how to keep Google Classroom neat and organized, as well as how to use Jamboard as an effective whiteboard.

Tools and Tips

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Google Classroom

Google Classroom (GC) has become the primary instructional platform for most teachers in Ontario since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I like it and I hate it. I like it because it is such a powerful platform for teachers to deliver content to students. I hate it because it can sometimes be messy and challenging when it comes to organizing content. It took me a while, but I found a way to organize it.

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I Speak, Therefore… I Teach?

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I have been an English Language Teacher for 20 years. When I started my career, I didn’t think it would take much effort to teach others something I had learnt during my childhood and teenage years. I could even make some “easy” money while I was at it!  “How hard could it be?” I thought to myself.

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Looking at 2020 through Rose-Coloured Glasses

image source: John Allan

In spite of all of the negative effects of the COVID-19 crisis, do you think you could find some positive events that you experienced in 2020?   It is difficult to imagine, as we are still in the eye of this storm.  Over the winter break, however, I started a brainstorm sketch about the positive effects that have come during the pandemic in order to reframe my focus for 2021. This is my list below; possibly you might try the same exercise to reset your expectations for your teaching and personal life in 2021. 

Teaching

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#CDNELTCHAT: JOIN THE CHAT ON TUESDAY!

If you’re a Twitter user, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, December 8 with Tanya Cowie co-moderating a chat on intersectionality.   Below is a recap of the November 10 chat written by #CdnELTchat moderator Jennifer Chow.

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Online Teaching Reflections

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Some of my primary concerns about this current online world of teaching are the creation of community and how to effectively engage learners.

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Teach As If You Are Your Own Student

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A common expression I often heard when I first started teaching was “Teacher, I don’t understand.” I would, of course, ask them which part they didn’t understand, and then give them further explanation. However, I would still see confusion on their faces. It was my turn to be confused. I had done what I was supposed to do, explain, but still they repeated “Teacher, I don’t understand.”

I didn’t find the answer until I had the chance to observe a student teacher. I had my ‘aha’ moment. The teacher was explaining vocabulary and expressions perfectly. However, she had barely considered her students’ levels and their level of understanding for the “perfect” explanations. At that moment, I realized my mistakes: 1) I treated them like their English was at my level; 2) I taught English like I was an ESL teacher.

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