Tag Archives: ESL teacher

How to Talk to Preschoolers?

For the last year, I have been teaching a class of two and three-year-olds at an international kindergarten in Bangkok. The students in my class come from a variety of backgrounds: Korean, Japanese, Nepalese, Thai, British, Vietnamese, Chinese, German, American, and Indian. I feel that the best thing I did to help my students develop was to TALK!

It can be challenging to keep their attention at times, so here are a few ways to talk to your preschoolers in school so that they will listen.

Teach in an International kindergarten in Bangkok

Make Eye Contact

When disciplining your children, get down to their level, look them in the eyes (not too intensely!), and say what you need to say (you can even get them to repeat it). I find that yelling, especially from afar, is very ineffective and can become a bad habit because your students might also model this behavior.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Use positive reinforcement rather than just saying “No, no, no.” First of all, saying “no” all the time is just exhausting! I found that giving praise and small rewards such as stickers or being first in line for snack are much better motivators. Using positive reinforcement for good behavior will encourage them to do more of the good behavior and less of the bad. You could also say things like “We use our walking feet inside. You can use your running feet outside, okay?”

Keep Instructions Short, Simple, and Direct

To help your students follow directions, keep it short, simple, and direct. Children are more likely to follow instructions if they have a sense of control. Try using one or two-step directions such as “First take off your shoes then go wash your hands.”

Use an Appropriate Tone of Voice

My verbal tone was key when teaching the two and three-year-olds in my class. Whenever I welcomed a new student, I found that a calm, soft, gentle, and affectionate tone to be most effective in helping the child feel comfortable. However, it did NOT work when trying to guide or discipline my students—Instead, a firm tone worked much better. Try to match your facial expressions to your tone- children are more sensitive to nonverbal cues than you think!

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!

Did you know it takes 21 days to create a habit? Repetition is key for learning and mastery of new skills to take place. I like to repeat explanations so that my students know what will happen next. For example, I say “In 10 minutes, we are going to tidy up for lunch!” then “5 minutes until clean up!” This also provides them with a sense of time. As well, I’m a strong believer in kids having manners so I get my students to repeat words such as “please,” “thank you,” “sorry,” and “excuse me.” The more you repeat instructions or general rules of behavior, the more your children will accept them. Don’t give up!

While it is challenging to teach a bunch of 1 to 3 year old kids, it is very rewarding and such a learning experience for me as a nursery teaching in an international kindergarten in Bangkok.

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Hear from Our Teacher in Shanghai – Miss Thompson

Before Coming to China

Why did you want to teach in China?
I had just finished a teaching contract in Vietnam. Having been there for 2 years I decided I wanted a change of scene. I knew I enjoyed living in Asia, and China seemed like a good next step so I choose Shanghai city.

How was your experience finding a job through On the Mark Education Consulting?
Finding a job with On the Mark was very easy. Within days of sending my CV and paperwork over, I had an interview set up with the company I ultimately signed a contract with. I had a few interviews with different companies so I could really weigh out my options and decide what would be best for me.

How long did it take to get your visa? How was the communication with the school during the visa process?
It took a couple of months to get my visa. There are a lot of steps and loops to jump through, not from the schools side, but from the government departments I was dealing with. However the school were very helpful and I was kept updated and informed, so even though it took a while it always felt under control.

What website did you use to book your ticket to Thailand?
I used skyscanner to book my flight.

Teach in Shanghai

Teaching Life in China

What was your first impression of Shanghai upon arrival?
My first impression of Shanghai was busy, but exciting. There is always something interesting to see, smell, buy or do. The rush hour crowds are pretty intense but you do get used to being crammed in on the metro!

What was the biggest culture shock about China and/or in your current city?
The not queuing. Chinese people don’t queue for things. It seems quite acceptable to barge people out of the way to get on the metro. I was standing waiting to pay at a supermarket and an old lady just stepped in front of me and put her stuff in front of mine. It funny getting your head round how people’s minds work so differently!

What’s your favorite memory of life in China?
My favorite memory so far of living in China happened over the mid Autumn festival. My elderly Chinese neighbors insisted that myself and my boyfriend join them for their Mid Autumn festival meal. They speak a very small amount of English and we have only a small amount of beginners Chinese, but we sat and ate homemade dumplings and sipped vodka from eggcups for a few hours together. The vodka definitely helped the language barrier and the food was delicious. It made us feel like we had come a long way since we had first arrived in China.

What do you like most about working for your school?
I really like the hours I work. 5pm – 8pm weekdays and then all day on the weekends. It gives me a lot of free time to explore Shanghai and visit other places.

What three things do you wish you would have known or brought with you before you arrived?

1. I wish I had bought more blonde hair dye with me! Not easy to find.
2. Buying simple medicines, like painkillers, is difficult. I wish I had bought more with me.
3. Download a VPN before arriving! I know I would need one, but for some reason didn’t do it beforehand. It took me a while going through the back routes to download and set up a VPN on all my devices. It’s a hassle that can and should be avoided!

Did you have the opportunity to save any money? What percentage of your salary were you able to save each month?
I am able to save money every month teaching in China. It would be easy to spend your whole salary in Shanghai, but if you want to save money then it is very possible to set a budget and still enjoy yourself.

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Hear from Our Teacher in Thailand – Miss Alison

Before Coming to Thailand

Why did you want to teach in Thailand?
I wanted to teach English in Thailand to learn more about myself, the country, and the world. Teaching in Thailand would allow me to experience a new school system, delicious, food, and a beautiful country.

How was your experience finding a job through On the Mark Education Consulting?
On the Mark Education Consulting made it very easy for me to apply for a teaching position and quick to help me connect with my school in Thailand.

What website did you use to book your ticket to Thailand?
I booked through Expedia to find the cheapest flight.

Meeting new friends in Thailand
Meeting new friends in Thailand

Teaching Life in Thailand

What was your first impression of Thailand upon arrival?
Colorful! All of the temples are so beautiful. I love how even alleyways and buses are painted vibrant shades.

What was the biggest culture shock about Thailand and/or in your current city?
The biggest culture shock for me has been the slower pace of life and flexibility of schedules. I am still adjusting to having class cancelled as I walk through the classroom door or waking up early on a weekend to catch a bus that is an hour late.

What’s your favorite memory of life in Thailand?
I’ve only been teaching in Thailand for a little over a month, but my favorite experience thus far has been becoming friends with a Thai man who took my friends and I to the Phi Ta Khon festival in Loei, Thailand. We had lunch on a floating raft in the middle of a lake and finished the day with our first Thai BBQ dinner.

What do you like most about working for your school?
I love the energy of the students and the support and friendships I have with the other teachers.

My wonderful students in Thailand
My wonderful students in Thailand

What three things do you wish you would have known or brought with you before you arrived?
I wish I would’ve known to bring less clothes- I brought way too much and now feel guilty when I want to buy some of the super cute (and cheap) Thai clothing. Instead, I would’ve packed a few boxes of mac and cheese, more bug spray, and more things to decorate my apartment with to make it feel homey.

Did you have the opportunity to save any money? What percentage of your salary were you able to save each month?
I have student loans to pay each month back in America. This costs me half of my salary. Luckily, I am easily able to live off the remainder salary, although there is not much room for luxuries like travelling or splurging on expensive meals very often.

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The Power of being a New Teacher

The Power of being a New Teacher
It’s certainly one of the most intimidating things crossing paths with teachers who have been at your institution for a few years and who seem to know everything and have it all under control. They know the ins and outs of the system and if you ever feel lost, then you most probably are. So why is it a good thing?

If you are still unable to fully grasp the basics of the system your school/institute has in place, then obviously something needs to be addressed or changed. Whether it is the training manual you received, the mentor and his/her guidance (or lack thereof), the resources, the admin, etc., you have the power as a new teacher to see things with a fresh mind and see it in an objective manner. If you can bring it under the attention of your senior management or Director of Studies, your input will be incredibly valuable. Never forget it.

Power in Progress
What do I mean with your input being incredibly valuable? It’s quite simple – It helps contribute to the continuation of progress. If your management is open to listening to you, you will most likely find your opinions and input appreciated and taken at full value. You can see what is working and what isn’t. You bring new and fresh ideas to the table as a new teacher. If you struggle adjusting and understanding any of the systems, it could mean that there needs to be a closer inspection of the mentors and programs they have in place. Do not be afraid to voice your concerns. Without it, there will not be any advancement in the school or institution’s system. This ultimately leads to stagnation and that is something you do not want happening! A happy teacher makes for happy children and satisfied parents. If the parents see progress in class and that there is innovation and satisfaction amongst the teaching staff, they will be more than eager to pay for their children’s tuition fees in learning a second language.

Out with the Old, In with the New
As confident as those senior teachers are, they won’t always be there. Their contributions aren’t useless, and has definitely played a vital role in ensuring the continuation of the institute and its successful retention rate of students. However, with each new group of teachers, the “improved” version of the old ideas with be built upon and so on and so forth. This is how progress is ensured. Only once you speak up about your views and concerns, can you achieve an optimal learning and teaching environment.

A progressive learning environment will contribute to the overall success of the school/institute in the long run. Don’t be complacent with the system. Don’t be intimidated by your position as “newbie”. In a few months or so, other new teachers will come along and will also have different views about the system.

Persuading Management as the Newbie
Now I know that talking to higher management can sometimes seem like a daunting task. The people who check your progress and confirm your pay check isn’t necessarily the same people you head out with on a Sunday night after class to go party with until dawn.
My advice here would be to consult any senior teacher in the staff, preferably your own mentor if the school has assigned you one.

Being able to approach a senior teacher or mentor about critical issues in your school takes a lot of the stress off of your own back and as they have substantially more influence, it is more likely that your views will be regarded seriously. It’s hierarchy, yes, but it’s the name of the game. As long as such a hierarchy is not abused and overused, it can be a helpful structure for fresh, new teachers who ultimately will only benefit from extra guidance and tips!

As a new teacher at a school, you may stumble a bit and struggle now and again, but your fresh view, added creativity and ability to be objective counts for quite a lot if you are keen enough to utilize it! Progress in teaching leaves everybody richer.

Hear from Our Teacher in Ningbo – Nadia

Before Coming to China
Why did you want to teach in China?

I chose China as a teaching destination because of the competitive salary offers and the possibility of living a comfortable lifestyle while teaching Chinese kids and teens a valuable skill – the ability to speak, read, write and understand English.

How was your experience finding a job through On the Mark Education?

I had a very smooth experience with On the Mark Education Consulting. They regularly checked up with both me and the school and made sure everything was being done according to the correct procedures. They supplied me with good choices of schools and answered any questions I had at the time.

Ningbo City

 
How long did your visa process take? How was the communication with the school during the visa process?

The visa process, including the notarization of documents took a bit longer than I would have liked, but the school in Ningbo did try their best to assist me and explain the whole process to me and to simplify the paperwork for me. All in all, it took me about 6 weeks to finalize my documents and have my visa in hand.

What website did you use to book your ticket to China

I used a local travel agency to book my ticket to China after researching on the web the best prices I could find and took them to the agency to see if they could match the same price.

Teaching Life in China
ESL Jobs in Ningbo
 
What was your first impression of China when you arrived?
It’s so much colder than South Africa! But I think I was impressed by their friendliness and openness to assist a somewhat lost-looking foreigner, for which I was very grateful. 
What gave you the biggest culture shock about China or in your city?

I would say the fact that the language barrier is bigger than I thought it would be, but the locals always try to shout some random English phrases my way when they see me or take photos with me in the middle of the supermarket while I’m doing grocery shopping.

What’s your favorite memory to date of life in China?

A Chinese friend and I went to go grab lunch in the food court below our offices. One member of the cleaning staff, an elderly Chinese man.

Life in Ningbo

What do you like most about working for your school in Ningbo?
  • The diverse staff – they all make you feel at home very quickly and help you adjust to expat life.
  • The caring, fun-loving Director of Studies – having a DoS that understands your situation alleviates a lot of stress and worry.
  • The Mentorship-program – a senior teacher mentoring you and training you is worth gold!
What three things would you want to have known before you arrived?
  • More medicine (I did bring some, but it’s literally a MUST.) The Chinese folks believe hot water to be a cure for just about everything. Hot water sometimes just won’t make the cut.
  • The origins of the various members of staff – I think I would have been better prepared and less ignorant if I knew of all the different nationalities that work at my current school.
  • More black pants and good tennis shoes – I’ve never walked this much before and my feet really suffered the first while. Bring one pair of white pants for special occasions. Black pants will be your best friend!

 

Hear from Our Teacher in Thailand – Alexandra

Before Coming to Thailand

Why did you want to teach in Thailand?
I decided to teach in Thailand for the beautiful scenery and new culture. I also really liked the short term contracts (1 term) for teachers which allowed me to move to different schools and see many areas of the country.

How was your experience finding a job through On the Mark Education?
They were very helpful in finding a job. Originally, I looked for a placement in Russia, but the timing wasn’t right for me. So they suggested other locations. Then I decided to come back to Thailand for 1 more term.

What website did you use to book your ticket to Thailand?
I used booking.com

Teaching Life in Thailand

What was your first impression of Thailand upon arrival?
Very hot, friendly and smiling people, but they are shy. They will only ask you a few questions they know in English then not approach you. Took several months to get used to spicy food. You must learn the basics of the language to get around (numbers, simply verbs, taxi direction language).

What was the biggest culture shock about Thailand and/or in your current city?
The heat. It’s the only thing I don’t like about Thailand. Working in an office that does not turn on the air con until 10 am is also very uncomfortable. I would choose to move schools because the classes and the office is not always comfortable. It makes me feel sick and get rashes.

What’s your favorite memory of life in Thailand?
Meeting my current boyfriend in Bangkok and cycling 1,000s of kilometers through Phayao and Chiang Rai provinces. Beautiful !

What do you like most about working for your school?
Not difficult hours. Enough time to make lessons, mark simple papers or group projects. Girls are nice and fairly well behaved. I bet mixed classes would be wild.

What three things do you wish you would have known or brought with you before you arrived?
This time when I came back to Thailand I brought back many vitamins and Omega 3 supplements. I got colds and sick very often my first year here. I am also diligent to wash my hands or use hand sanitizer after getting tropical colds frequently. This time coming back to Thailand, I have not been sick once.

I also brought 2 pairs of great walking sandals from home. They were expensive but fit amazing. Buying clothes here often don’t fit (too tight/short) and the shoes are so narrow. The shoes don’t even always fit Thai girls’ feet, but they wear them anyways. I don’t get it.