Spring has sprung! Sunshine and showers! | TEFL Jobs London

Spring has sprung! Sunshine and showers!

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.

Spring Animals

I am lucky enough to work in beautiful Regent’s Park. On my daily walk to school I get to see a variety of waterfowl as well as many squirrels scurrying about the place and now that spring has arrived, there are adorable ducklings and cygnets and goslings to behold. This prompted one of my students to ask ‘what is the name for the children of the duck?’, because she wanted to tell her son. This spawned a good hour of going through different animals, the names of their offspring and furthermore, the sounds that they make. This last point was fascinating because we got to discuss the different sounds of the same animal around the world. Just because the dogs here go woof doesn’t mean they do everywhere else! The next day, I came armed with a list of animal vocabulary which then developed into animal idioms such as, a bull in a china shop, doe eyes, puppy dog eyes, Italian stallion, the list goes on and it could go further. It was quite something to have a classroom of adults saying quack, oink and rrrrrrribbit!

Weather as Inspiration

The other source of inspiration has been the wet weather we’ve been experiencing of late. When I asked my students whether they’d brought a brolly with them to school they looked at me like I was crazy. So from there sprung more and more vocabulary. How to describe the different kinds of rain we get in Blighty as students tried to express how much they hate that rain that ‘isn’t big but gets you so wet’…. To which I replied, “fine rain, soaks you through” (Peter Kay). We went from brollies, to wellies, to rainbows, to outright stating, “look, it’s pissing it down… AGAIN.”

So of course I am glad to have a textbook I can rely on for topics but I do so love it when something comes up organically like that and we can work through it so thoroughly but at the same time know that it is something that my students find valid and useful. Thank goodness for our weather and wildlife!

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