Finally got around to really unpacking and sat down to read the letters my students wrote me. I tried to at my desk at school but I started tearing up and figured I should save them for another time. No one needed to see (more) ugly crying from me. One letter that really got to me went like this:
“Sensei, thank you for the last 3 years. I was absent from school a lot so I couldn’t take many of your classes. Sometimes I’d sit in the back room though, do you remember? But whenever I’d pass you in the hall or in the bathroom, you always said hello and talk to me like a friend. Whenever I’d pass you and said hello, you’d always respond. It made me so happy. When I was in the back room, you’d come over quietly to explain things. You were always so kind to me and made me feel welcome. Thank you”
Like every subject, not everyone is going to like English. But my goal was that even if I couldn’t get some kids to like English, I could at least try and make them feel confident enough to give it a shot, to feel noticed and included, and to be kind to them.
For ALTs just starting, you’re going to get a lot of advice but no matter what, definitely do your best to get to know your students.
・Learn their names as best as possible. If you have multiple schools or large classes, name cards that they can put on their desk during English class help.
・Talk to them outside of class. More often than not, students that aren’t chatty in class will be more than happy to chat with you about music or celebrities or sports.
・Keep a notebook to jot down what works/what doesn’t work with each class. You’d think a game that works with one class will work with all of them, but that’s not always the case.
・Get to know what they like and incorporate it into classes if you can.
・Take a step back when things go off plan in class, don’t panic, and don’t take things personally. Sometimes kids are going to act up or cry because something is wrong. Or maybe nothing big is wrong. You may never know. We’re not their homeroom teachers. We don’t always know who has a behavior issue that isn’t being addressed, who isn’t always able to handle being in school, what’s going on at home or with their friends, etc. Just keep going, let the homeroom teacher take care of it, and don’t take it to heart. (Though address serious student issues with higher ups that affect your ability to work. There are several posts on this subject throughout the JET tag)
You may not like your placement or some of your coworkers or a lot of things about your situation. But your students are going to make the experience for you. I feel like this is the one aspect of JET that isn’t ESID.
File this under “tools that everyone already probably knows about, but I didn’t.” The Differentiator can help you come up with differentiated objectives for your students and make sure you’ve covered your bases from task, to goals, to product. It’s very easy to use and, while it might not solve every lesson planning conundrum, it could help shake some ideas loose.
I see this being handy in creating Language Objectives for students (see: WIDA Standards)
Don’t worry if your pronunciation isn’t perfect. People will still understand you, even if your words aren’t pronounced “correctly”. This week, I found out that I have been pronouncing a slew of English words non-standardly (”incorrectly”) my entire life, despite English being my native language. These words included derisive and analogous, among others.
But even though I don’t pronounce these words the “correct” way, my Classics teacher was still 100% able to understand exactly what I was saying! That’s the beauty of it :)
I’m volunteering at an English as a Second Language summer camp this month, and it’s been super interesting to observe the kids when I’m taking care of them and playing with them.
Most of them can communicate to some degree in English, even if they’re more comfortable in another language, but when they don’t know how to say something, they usually end up translating word for word, with some very interesting results.
We were cleaning up after camp today, and one of the eight-year-old Chinese girls saw us using a combination lock. She asked us, “It’s how much?” and I didn’t quite understand what she was asking until I translated it word for word back to Chinese – 是多少？meaning, What’s the combination?
These kids are making me consider language through another point of view and making me consciously realize aspects of languages that normally I would’ve just taken for granted, and I absolutely love that.
Hey! Do you have any tips to improve my English? I have a B2-C1 level but I feel stuck and idk what to do to improve it. I really need to get a C2 level. Thanks
English is my native language and the only language I speak at that level so I’m probably not the best person to ask. Haha, but I’ll try:
Read! My (English) language skills were really good by the time I was 12 and I attribute that to how much I read. I read at least an hour and a half a day when I was younger and was at a “college level” in 5th grade.
Write! Write essays, poems, or short stories. This will help you improve your production. Find a topic you like and write about it in whatever format is the most enjoyable for you.
Try to engage with the language on a deeper level. Read classical literature or academic journals. (again it doesn’t have to be boring! Read stuff you like) Watch documentaries. A lot of the time they’ll use a lot of specialized vocabulary whereas a lot of fiction is the same stuff recycled over and over.
When talking with natives try to discuss a variety of topics. You might have superficial, everyday things down, but try to explore different areas of the language you never have before.
Have native speakers ruthlessly correct you (in a nice way) This is super important. Once you get to a certain level a lot of the times native speakers will let little mistakes slide and you can develop bad habits. If you want to perfect it ask them to correct you as much as possible. Even if your grammar is perfect it could sound unnatural. Ask them to correct this too.
Ask non-natives who’ve achieved a C2 level how they got there. They can probably give you better advice than I can. I’ve seen a few Youtube videos and I’m sure there are a ton more.
I hope this is helpful. I think it just comes down to getting out of your comfort zone with the language. If there’s something that’s difficult for you, then you should be practicing and engaging with it. Dig deep and good luck! :)
Advanced English Vocabulary #3 with parts of speech and standard pronunciations in IPA as usual.
Abstemious (adj.) -
æbˈstimiəs (US); æbˈstiːmɪəs (UK) - marked by restraint especially in the consumption of food or alcohol
(UK) - to travel all the way around (something) in a ship, airplane, etc.
(adj.) - ˈfɛklɪs - having or resulting from a weak character or nature
(n.) - ˈlɛksɪˌkɑn (US);
ˈlɛksɪkən (UK) - the words used in a language or by a person or group of people
(adj.) - pɛˈkjuniˌɛri (US);
pɪˈkjuːnjəri (UK) -
relating to or in the form of money
tɛmˈpɛstjʊəs (UK) -
affected by a tempest; full of strong emotions (such as anger or excitement)
(n. or v.) -
ˈrævəl - verb: to become divided into separate threads ; noun:
an act or result of raveling
ˌkɑməˈrɑdəri (US); ˌkæməˈrɑːdəri (UK) - a feeling of good friendship among the people in a group
serving to make a fault, offense, etc., appear less serious
(adj.) - ˈhɔti -
having or showing the insulting attitude of people who think that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people
pɑrʧt (US); pɑːʧt (UK) -
very dry especially because of hot weather and no rain ; very thirsty
təˈneɪʃəs - not easily stopped or pulled apart : firm or strong ; continuing for a long time ; very determined to do something
Definitions were taken from Merriam-Webster (except
for the definition of extenuating, which is from dictionary.com); I picked what I thought was most useful. Let me know if there are any mistakes and enjoy! :)
Are you tired of just saying “I’m tired” every time you’re tired? Well, there are some options you have beside this phrase—and interestingly, they all convey different degrees of tiredness. I’ll give you some that I often use myself.
This is a good phrase for when you are really tired from any kind of activity. It’s pretty strong, too. In regular words, it’s like “really-really tired.”
This is very strong, probably “really-really-really tired.” If you say this, basically you can’t do anything at this point—your body is too tired.
“I’m so out of it.”
This one is a bit indirect. It means that you cannot focus or concentrate on something, most likely because you are very tired.
You can say this in various ways: “I’m done [for the day/the night/the week]. If you say it with a sigh, it implies your tiredness. You can also say “I’m so done” for greater emphasis.
“I’ve had enough [of this/that].”
This doesn’t literally mean that you are tired; instead, it means that you don’t want to do something anymore. You are tired of/fed up with something that you no longer enjoy.
Of course, you can always say that you’re sleepy or want to rest. Plus, there are many more different phrases that vary by region/country. But at least this list provides some options to English learners besides just saying “I’m tired.”
If you are an English-speaker and have any other phrases that you often use, please share them in the comments!
С нами снова разбор песен! Для позитивного месяца мы разбираем позитивную песню “Хакуна Матата” :)
Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase Hakuna Matata! Ain’t no passing craze It means no worriesfor the rest of your days It’s our problem-free philosophy Hakuna Matata!
Hakuna Matata? Yeah. It’s our motto! What’s a motto? Nothing. What’s a-motto with you? Those two words will solve all your problems (That’s right)
Take Pumbaa here Why, when he was a young warthog… When I was a young wart hog Very nice Thanks
He found his aroma lacked a certain appeal He could clear the savannah after every meal
I’m a sensitive soul though I seem thick-skinned And it hurt that my friends never stood downwind And oh, the shame He was ashamed Thought of changin’ my name What’s in a name? And I got downhearted How did ya feel? Everytime that I… Hey! Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids! Oh. Sorry
Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase Hakuna Matata! Ain’t no passing craze It means no worries for the rest of your days It’s our problem-free philosophy
motto: ˈmɒtəʊ: девиз warthog: ˈwɔːthɒɡ: бородавочник aroma: əˈrəʊmə: аромат, запах appeal: əˈpiːl привлекательность savannah: səˈvænə саванна thick-skinned: ˈθɪk skɪnd: невосприимчивый к критике, бесчувственный ashamed: əˈʃeɪmd совестно, стыдно to be downhearted: tə bi ˌdaʊnˈhɑːtɪd унывать, падать духом
ain’t no passing craze:
ain’t: неформальное выражение “is not/am not/are not”.
craze: мания, повальное увлечение
passing: проходящий, мимолетный
В сумме это дает выражение “это не просто мимолетная мания”.
no worries: никаких проблем/беспокойств
for the rest of your days: до конца ваших/твоих дней, всю оставшуюся жизнь.
problem-free: конструкцию -free можно использовать при указании на отсутствие чего-либо. Например, в этом контексте, problem-free можно перевести как “без проблем”. Эту фразу можно часто встретить в пище: например, gluten-free (без глютена). Другие слова - pain-free (без боли, не причиняющий боль), accident-free (безаварийный)…
My school has created this poster campaign about how important it is to maintain one’s native language and culture. These posters were made in various languages with various visuals to represent a variety of cultures. Then they were sent home to families in their native languages and put up all around the school and in every classroom in the school.
As soon as they upload the various languages I will add those to my ELL page on this blog for people to enjoy as well.
I asked the creators of this poster if they would mind if people mass produced it in their schools and they said, GO FOR IT!
Please download these posters and share them with your school.