This post is part of the Reach To Teach Teach Abroad Blog Carnival. The host for January is Carissa Peck over at mELTing Activities, so be sure to check out her blog January 7th to see everyone’s great resolutions! As for me, I’ll post a new ESL related article to this blog around the start of every month. Check back for more articles, and if you’d like to contribute to next month’s Blog Carnival, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how start participating!
Hello, 2015, and hello, readers! I hope your New Years celebrations were enjoyable and festive, however you chose to commemorate the moment. As we welcome a new year, many of us reflect inwards, considering how we might attempt to improve our minds, bodies and lives in the next 365 days.
This year, I want to focus on realistic goals. After all, it’s not like lofty New Years goals have a good track record of success- not for myself, and not for most people. I have goals and ambitions, sure. But rather than attempt a gigantic overhaul in one fell swoop, I’d rather learn to implement small changes with time.
Drink more water. Eat more veggies every day. Meditate for five, ten, fifteen minutes. Take more time for reflection, to try to get closer to discovering what I truly want to achieve in this limited lifetime. Not on my list? Giving up coffee. Nope, I’ll have one, maybe two, delicious cups of java per day and enjoy it, guilt-free 😉
Seeing as I spent 40+ hours each week at my hagwon, I want to devote some of my energies to improving as a teacher. How do I hope to achieve this?
Get more creative. Luckily, most of my students are quite well-behaved and engaged this semester. I don’t have to prod them too much to get through the lesson material. Still, what’s the harm in jazzing up my lessons? I want to foster more healthy competition, idea-sharing, and an environment where kids feel safe being silly within reason. Not to mention, my students can be downright hilarious when given the chance to have fun.
Consider my lesson material more critically. Workbooks and lesson books were created with a purpose, and each lesson has a particular topic or grammar point the students are meant to learn thoroughly. I will consider these aims more critically, so that my students are getting greater benefits from my classes (bonus: better job security if the kids are learning well!)
Have a better appreciation for what I do. Working at a hagwon is often stressful, unpredictable or downright annoying. I’ve discovered that I have a new student as I walk into the classroom, prepared to teach a lesson to eight students, not nine. We’ll learn about a change to the day’s plans with five minutes before classes start to absorb that information. Luckily, my abilities to improvise have increased substantially. Still, there are days and moments when I feel downright frustrated.
This year, I will remember to focus on what really matters- doing my best to increase my students’ confidence and English speaking ability, while making the process as fun and useful as I can.
I’m feeling positive about what’s to come in 2015. I still feel blessed when I think about my life here- while working the same 40-hour workweek as friends back home, I’m able to squirrel away travel funds and savings while still being able to explore Korea from tip to toe. It’s not a perfect life by any means, but it’s a life of my own creation, and I’m grateful to be here.
Any advice from fellow teachers? What are your goals for the new year? Do you have any exciting travel plans set in stone yet?