Teacher Experiences and Anecdotes | TEFL Jobs London

Teacher Experiences and Anecdotes

by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

Do you make the same effort with unruly students?

I must say I’ve been fairly spoilt when it comes to students. I started teaching over a year ago now (something I still find a little unbelievable) and ever since, I have had lovely students. If ever there was a bad apple, there was always 5 other lovely ones as well. Some students who I met last year, as I was starting out have left the school recently making me nostalgic, new students who arrived over the summer have been and still are a pleasure to teach. For the most part, there are students who make laugh, those who fascinate me and those I am happy to see upon entering the classroom.

Continue reading »

by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

Recently I returned from a sun-soaked holiday in the Algarve with three of my best girl pals. It was just what I needed after a hectic summer of EFL. However, I don’t know about you but I can’t seem to turn off my English teacher head completely and when travelling abroad, I am always listening out and analysing English ability; not in a scrutinising way but just out of interest. I am always envious of my students who can speak many languages with ease. My friends and I discussed that we feel inferior merely speaking English.

Continue reading »

by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

This week, I have been teaching should have, could have, would have… I always find that this topic makes one reflect on the past. Despite the fact that very often we use these structures  to convey criticism or regret I decided to try and make it a little more positive and introduce the notion of serendipity, fate, destiny… written in the stars. I tend to set a writing task with this topic and usually feel like I’m giving my students a free therapy session. I don’t mind of course but I sometimes feel bad for making them spell it all out in black and white and then have me scribble in red all over it. In any case, it does make me feel as though I’m getting to know a little more about them and who they are. My degree is in psychology and thus I am forever cursed with analysing people, especially those which I care about and/or have to interact with on a regular basis.

Continue reading »

by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

Language under the influence

By Jose L. Marin (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Every Thursday evening at Internexus (where I work) we have Pub Night. This is when two members of staff choose a pub, tell the students a time and from there everyone gets a chance to socialise, relax and utilise language in a much less formalised setting. Last night I did pub night and today, I can tell you, I am very tired but it was, and most often is, worth it.

Last night’s venue was Camden’s Blues Kitchen. Hosting live music and within walking distance of the school gave it many plus points. This was an especially good pub night because we had just received a new intake of students and they had decided to come along and mix with the pub night regulars. I think it’s a good way of easing any nervous students into the school and allowing them to meet other students who they may not have classes with. You can always rely on the regulars to keep up conversation, that’s for sure.

Continue reading »

by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

Last weekend I lost my virginity… My EFL conference virginity, mind! I must admit, it did make me feel more like a proper teacher to be among so many peers. On an early Saturday (yes, Saturday) morning, I convened with a few of my colleagues at Canterbury Christ Church University to attend workshops run by the likes of Nick Bilborough, Tessa Woodward and my headline act, Jeremy Harmer and others.  Each of the workshops I attended were practical, very useful and for me, a very interesting experience. I shan’t be forgetting it any time soon, for a number of reasons…

Upon arrival, I received a free bag containing catalogues, a timetable of the day’s events, etc… I also had to pick up my name badge and certificate which did, however, read ‘Donna Huthinson’ and ‘Donna Hathison’ respectively. This provoked a few laughs when I shared photographic evidence on Facebook.

Continue reading »

by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

Give or take a few students who left or moved up a level, I had had basically the same class for about 3 months and I must say I got really quite attached to them. Last week I switched levels and so am having to leave behind my lovely class. By having a class for that long, you develop your own little world, your own rules and understandings. Everybody in that class gets along, they care about each other, they are genuinely interested in each other and they welcome new students with open arms. I must admit, I’m a little possessive of them and I was somewhat reluctant to let them go. Furthermore, I had moulded a classroom environment that I love and feel as though I will have start from scratch again. However, after voicing this in the staff room I came to realise that I was not alone in this feeling. A number of other teachers were also very reluctant to give up their own little worlds and take on somebody else’s an indication that all the classes must be lovely to work in.

Continue reading »

by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

I have recently moved levels; from high upper intermediate (basically pre-advanced) to high intermediate (just a touch above intermediate). I was nervous about this move because I’d become so used to my high upper ints where I rarely had to grade my language, and was only conscious of it when explaining new vocabulary. More than that though, I was used to not having to explain a task in too much detail, “take a look at exercise one” would generally suffice. Doing the first question as an example wasn’t always necessary and if there were any problems, they would quickly let me know.

Moving down to a lower level, I was conscious of the changes. I wouldn’t be able to stack my instructions quite so much and I probably would have to do the first task as an example together as a class. I was also aware that I may have to speak slower, enunciate a little more and be more conscious of those pesky phrasal verbs. All of these I was aware of but the problem lies in how far to take it. Grade too much and I come off patronising but don’t grade enough and I’m a bad teacher. It’s a tricky one, I tell you.

Continue reading »

by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

Spring has sprung! Sunshine and showers!

Christine Matthews [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Regardless of my main topic plans for the week, something else has taken over my lessons recently and that is spring and the weather it has brought along with it. I have had students thanking me personally for the great British weather I have provided for them. I told them that I just want them to have an authentic experience while they’re here. Merely looking out of the window has been the inspiration for hours of English work and I revel in it, I think it’s amazing how much language can arise out of such a seemingly simple thing.

Continue reading »