Sunday, 2 December 2012

The future is coming

I have been trying to find time to do many things, and most of the time, I have found myself losing a lot of time, and then having few to do what I have to do.
I must say that I have tried many things in order to create interesting things to help my students in dealing with the English language. Some worked, some didn't.
But even though, I don't want to quit to try, I feel most of the ways to help them are not being interesting for them.
So I feel that I have to do a really big change in my way of teaching. How? I don't know yet. But something must be done.
The future is coming, and technologies are the called ones to help in the process of learning.
I decided to continue writing on this blog, but I won't have enough time to do all I want to do with this blog. My first idea was to contact other teachers and get some ideas. I did. But I feel that it didn't work as I thought it would do.
I started using twitter, mainly to get information, because I don't consider myself the top one to be followed. And the page on facebook. well, it worked when I needed it to be used with my students, so I will continue using it in the future. But not as much as I would like too.
Then I tried ivoox to create podcasts, and I found it very interesting. But again, the time is so short for me, and I feel that even creating videos on youtube, it won't be enough to call the attention. Probably, there must another way out there, for me, to help my students in their process of learning a new language.

But you, what do you think? Which is the best way to learn a language? With material and content published in a page on internet, a podcast, facebook twitter, a video in youtube, or what??

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Family day coming

Yes, just to say I am still alive. It's just been a hard and busy month, that is why I haven't been able to come and leave some words.
Next friday, we will celebrate the day of the family at my school, I hope many families will come and share time with the students. They will have the chance to see the works of the students and eating all as a big family. I will be sharing with you all about that day.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Students were working on Facebook

Last month was a nice month for Chilean people, because we celebrate our national day on 18th, but actually, we celebrate the whole month... eating.
Anyway, the time went fast, now it is October which means that there are 2 month left to end the year.
So, it has been so busy in these days.

Well, the last thing I have done with my students, was using facebook to give them the chance to write in English. I set 6 topics, and they had to choose 4 of them, and leave some comments with their opinions. You can check their comments on my facebook page.
It is the first time I use the social network, and I think it was interesting for them too.
If you have more ideas about how to use facebook, or even experiences related with this topic, then you can leave your comments.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Students writing books

I have mentioned already about my idea of creating a book. Yes, writing a book. But I know that it is hard, if there is no commitment and desire to create something like that.
Of course, that maybe, you must be thinking in a novel, but there is no need to do such a hard thing (no yet).
I will give you some ideas so your students can create a book.

1.- In groups, every student can create a couple of short poems. Let's see they create 6 or 7 short poems, they can have 24, 28 or even more poems per group. Then, if there are some students good at drawing, they can add some pictures and then they have their own booklet with poems.
2.- Every class, they can create paragraphs telling a story. With the time, they will have a long story to share with the rest of the class.
3.- They can create a blog, and adding posts as a journal or diary, so at the end of the month, they will get a collection of posts to create their own blog.
4.- There is an idea that I like so much. It is based on a teen series, where the student can create a manual to survive in the school, giving some tips and ideas to help students at school.
5.-Haikus are very short poems to be created not in Japanese, but in English.
6.-Twitter.... Yes twitter. OK maybe not all the students have twitter, but for instance, at a certain moment in the class, you can tell them to write a sentence about what they are doing, or thinking or watching. Then they will collect all these ideas as "thoughts in the class".
7.- They can create a book of "jokes". Students are good at telling goods, then tell them to write them all in English.

If you have more ideas, don't forget to share them.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Poetry in the class

I am taking a course through internet about modern american poetry. I know I am not expert on poetry, and to be honest, I haven't read poetry since years. So I thought it would be a nice way to go back to that amazing and interesting type of writing.
Blogs are good ways to get informed about what is going on around the globe. And it was in this way, that I knew about this course online given by Coursera. At the same time, I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more new vocabulary in English.
The course started on monday and it will last for 10 weeks. The teacher and the group of mentors are excellent. Even if it's been a couple of days, I have learnt many new ideas and words.
Besides, it is a good way to know more people interested on poetry. (There are more than 30,000 people on this course)

You must really check Coursera.

Friday, 31 August 2012

6° Step to the top: The first evaluation

Ok, after a month, let's evaluate what I have done.
I am already working, even with my students, a method to memorize words and concepts, and it is really working. You really need to check what it is the memory palace method.
And yes, I continue studying and learning through internet. But I think, I need to study more.

I am trying to deal with the behaviour by rewarding with points or even candies (for the youngest ones), and I am trying to promote the respect among the students. I am controlling the permission to go to the bathroom (most of the times they don't need the bathroom).
But I still don't do a list with the most repetitive problems in the classroom.

Students are already working in groups, and it is helping a lot to work with them. Although there are still some groups not working.
I still don't have enough time to create material for the classroom, although, the classroom is decorated with the works that students made before.

I created a schedule, but I still can't follow it, because there is always something else to do.

Well, I have done some things during the month, I have to improve some of them, and I have to fix new problems. Let's see what it will happen next months.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Is twitter better than facebook?

I have been the whole week learning how to use Facebook and twitter. OK, I am not an expert, but I have learnt fast. (Not so hard actually).
Anyway, I have been uploading information and links to my account in facebook. But one of the problems is that I can't upload files, just photos or links to videos (unless, I am wrong and you know how to do it, in that case, share the information with me).
But my account in twitter is the one I love the most. I never thought of the potential of this network.
I am a follower of excellent teachers and from whom I am getting many ideas, resources and pages.
Why I came late to this? I don't know, but one I am here, I would like to learn more and get more ideas on how to use twitter and facebook as a tool for my classes.
My question is: Is it really good to have an account in every new or trendy social network we face to? Will we have the time to post, upload, share and write comments in every one of them? I don't know. But I know that every possible way to be helping the students, then we have to do it.
Another question is ... which is better, facebook or twitter? you can leave your comments and give your opinion.
I think twitter is better.... well, it is my opinion only.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Facebook and twitter

Yes, I must say that after a long long and very long time, I decided to create a page on facebook. I hope it will be a good way to communicate with my students.

In addition, I created an account on Twitter: @elteacherjulian.

I will say that between Facebook and twitter... twitter is the one I like the most. Until now, I have got more from Twitter than from Facebook.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

5° Step to the top: Clean your desk

Yes, I made a mistake. I planned everything carefully. But I forgot something. What about all the work before planning.
When I started the second semester, I noticed I had left many things undone.  And even I had a great plan for the second semester, I never took into account all the work I left without finishing.
So, before I start planning, I must finish all, in order not to be worry or doing more work.
Trust me, "clean your desk" first, leave all the work done and then you will have free space to start doing your new plan.
After a week, I could finish almost everything I had left the first semester. Now I can follow my plan.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

4° Step to the Top: Possible Solutions II

Until here, everything is ok. I have set the main problems and the possible solutions. I created a plan and I was very detailed in dealing with every aspect. But there is always a "Troll". And which are the trolls for teachers? They are the "unexpected situations".
For me, at least, the trolls are the unexpected situations. I could have planned every detail, but even though, I try to consider every possible scenario, there are always situations that I have never expected. But this time, I have a plan for it too.

1.- I will relax, because I already know that trolls will come, so I don't have choice but accept them as part of life.
2.- Reschedule. I already planned what I will do during the day, but I will consider one or two of them as not so important. So in case I need extra time to deal with those "trolls", I will just use one of those activitites and I will face the trolls.
3.- I will consider in answering the following two questions: Is it really an emergency? (In order words, do I really have to change my schedule, or maybe, I have an extra time to do it?); Is it me the only one who can do it, or is it someone else who can do it? (In order words, if it is my responsibility, or if I can consider in asking help to another person)
4.-If I have the chance to deal with the "troll" immediately, then I will do it immediately. The fastest, the better.
5.-I won't say "yes" immediately, I will say "wait a bit, I need to check my schedule".

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

3° Step to the Top: Possible solutions I

OK, let's see what I have until now.
I already set the main problems I have as a teacher, and I thought in possible solutions. Now, I tell you what I will do for every one of the solutions.
Even though, I maked it as the 4th point in my list, I took it as the first problem to deal with. Time management is really important if I really want to change some bad vices.
I have noticed that I waste so much time in silly things, that I am always saying I don't have enough time. So I decided to create a schedule. including all I do during the day at work, and now, I added what I plan to do during the week for my personal time.
I have left an entire day to just plan and to prepare material for the next week. In that way, I have time to read, to study, to watch tv and to surf on internet (of course, not for long hours). I have to be strict on this, so I can really use the time wisely. I even left time to deal with possible situations in the future.
Point number 1 is about the Knowledge. Well, I already set time to study everyday, topics related with the English language, and topics elated with teachers and pedagogy. And I am trying to practice a method to memorize called Loci or Memory palace. (I must tell you that until now, even in few days, I have got good results to memorize concepts and vocabulary).
Point number 2 is about Classroom management and order. I am already reading about this to know what I can do at work. In relation with behaviour, I will be more strict in some aspects. I will control the entrance, the uniform, the use of materials, I will stop and guide every bad behaviour, insult or even simple word directed to affect or hurt other person. I will control when students are leaving the classroom and I will create a list of students who will help with the cleanliness of the classroom.
To really be sure that all of these commitments are really done, I will create a list of task to do during the class, that I will check everyday.
In relation with the point number 3, Methodology and materials, I am already creating a new way of working with the youngest students, and in general, with the rest of the students. To do so, I thought in working in groups, creating games and competions, and using internet and social networks to help the students who have problems. In addition, I will give time every week to create material for the classroom.

I hope all these activities will help me and the students to improve our results and enjoy the classes more.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

2° step to the top: Problems and solutions

Ok, once I have thought in the aspects I want to correct, I have to be more specific, and at the same time, I must try to find some solutions.
Being more specific and finding solutions, can just start by creating some ideas. Let's see.

In the last post, I wrote down 4 aspectos I want to improve. Now I will be more specific and I will try to give possible solutions (Of course, this is not the final decision, I will evaluate what I will write now and I will fix some points).

1.- Knowledge:
a.-Grammar, vocabulary, expressions.
b.-Pedagogical aspects

2.-Classroom management and order:
c.-Permission to leave

3.-Methodology and Materials:
a.-Group work, individual work
c.-Materials for the classroom

4.-Personal time management:
a.-Time for work
b.-Time for home

OK, per every problem, I will think in a possible solution. Let's see again
1a and 1b.- I will find a way to improve my memory and study more (I already found a great way to do so). I will start reading more, (newspapers, magazines, books, etc.)

2a.- I will find the way to reward good behaviour, and I will create a list of few rules for the classroom. In addition, I will have a notebook to write down some repetitive problems.
2b.- I will stop disrespectful behaviour, and I will promote nice atittudes in the classroom.
2c.- I will find a way to control every time a student is asking to go out of the classroom.
2d.- I will invent a form to promote the cleanliness in the classroom.

3a.- I will use group works for the whole semester, so they can help each other, but at the same time, I will use another way so they can evaluate individually.
3b.- I will be very strict about responsibility. But I will find a way, so students have more than one chance, in case they can't come to class or deliver their work.
3c.- Every week, I will create material for the classroom, and material for a page on internet.

4a and 4b.- I will create a schedule, and I will be firm to accomplish it.

If you want to add more ideas, or share your own path, you can do it, leave a comment, and let's all improve together.

Monday, 16 July 2012

1° step to the top: Challenge accepted

Yes, challenge accepted. I said I would make an incredible change in my way of being, and I would improve myself in different ways.
First of all, I must say that I want to be "myself", so don't expect the serious guy of the last year.
Second, if you just read my last post, you will see that I made a deal, that I want to fulfill and that you will be the witnesses of my success (or my failure... I hope not).
I said that I would start with a plan, that I will try to fulfill during the next months, and at the of year, I will evaluate my performance with you. Maybe you can take some lessons from what I will do.
I will start my journey naming the posts as "Steps to the top". So you can check the whole journey finding it with the tags "steps to the top".

The first step is called "challenge accepted". Why? Because I want to really accept the change in my life, and do something more important and productive in many aspects. And to do so, I must admit that I make many mistakes, and I must mend them.

I set a plan to fix my mistakes and find excellence in different aspects, I ordered them in levels of priorities:

1.- Knowledge: As a teacher I must have complete knowledge of what I teach. And I have noticed that I have stopped learning new things or, I just don't know how to do it anymore. And I will consider knowledge as two different aspects of the education; one related with English language, and another one related with the knowledge requiered as a teacher.
2.- Classroom management and order.
3.- Methodology and materials.
4.- Personal time management.

These are the main problems I have. Probably you have different ones.
After setting my priorities, I will create a plan to face them and defeat them. Yeahh!

If you want, you can follow the steps and you can share your experience too. Don't forget to leave your comments, click like.. . wait... it sounds like youtube. hmmm.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Happy birthday Teacher Julian's blog

It is already one year since I started this blog. I never thought it would last so long.
And I just started it because, in someway, I wanted to do something new to express all I had inside.
Honestly, it hasn't been so worthy. I thought that connecting teachers to create a kind of network would be much easier. But after one year, I must say I failed on that point. Nevertheless, I have met awesome people and I have had the chance to interact and receive feedback from parts of the world.

But after one year, I started to think, "then what?"
I thought in giving up, and closing this account. But then I thought it is a bad idea.
I thought what if I continue telling and sharing my experience as a teacher. Yes, but it is the same again.
So I thought in really doing something for me, and of course, to share it with you. I thought in really making a change in my life as a teacher. And I came up with the idea of making a revolution on my own way of teaching, and all the aspects related with my work.

Here is the deal, I must admit in first place, that I am not the best teacher, and I really need to improve in so many ways, After saying this, I show my will to improve and do something to change all my bad aspects.

For that reason, I will create a plan to deal with all my errors and, to have better results in my work and with my students, but at the same time with my life.
So, I will be sharing with you, all the steps I will take to fullfil my goals. To do so, I will use winter vacation to create a plan, then I will use it during the following months, and at the end of the year, I will evaluate my performance. I won't set high or impossible goals, I will just deal with the main problems that are affecting me in my work and life.
I hope this will help me and in some way, help you too.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

God of Study

I am always recommending you some good series related with schools.
Well, God of Study is a must to watch. This Korean series is a funny and inspiring drama that you will really enjoy.
A lawyer is determined to help a mediocre school by promising that he will send 5 students to one of the best universities in Korea. Of course, this task won't be easy, especially considering that the rest of the teachers, and even the very students are reluctant to work hard for it.
The 5 students have their own problems at home, but they find in the school the key to overcome their fears and problems. Of course, this lawyer can't do so much without the help of a group of funny and silly teachers who will help him to fullfil his promise.
Apart from laughing with this series, you will get good advices to study and improve your performance at school, especially on how to get good results on tests.
This series shows that hard (and really hard) work and determination will get you wherever you want to go in life.

Check the first episode on youtube.

If you want, you can check the complete series in other channels on youtube, or on this page:

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Chatting on internet while feeling secure

Probably, you wish your students to have more interaction with the English language. And you wish your students to speak more on internet. The problem is that there must be few places where they can interact with other people in order to improve their English in a secured way.
Now a days, there are thousands of pages where you can chat with other people, but you won't allow your students to do so, mainly, because there are bad people on internet.
What if you have the chance to chat on internet, not with a person, but with a page on internet, kind of robot with artificial intelligence?
Well, then you must check cleverbot is a page where you can write and even talk by microphone (though this feature is not so accurate) and you can have answers in reply.
A good feature of this is that answers may vary with the time, and you can try to create new questions and topics of conversation. You will have lots of fun talking with cleverbot. And yours students too.
They can practice chatting on internet with cleverbot. They won't feel pressured about their grammar, in case they are committing some mistakes. And more important, they won't deal with unpleasent real people.
Again, you must really try to use this page and you will see that it is really funny.
A bad feature can be that the creators of this page mention that cleverbot learns from the answer of the people, so sometimes, some answers could be innapropiate.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Evaluating this blog

It is going to be one year already since I started this blog. At first, it was just a crazy idea about creating something different. I like writing and I thought in sharing my own thoughts about education and about my own experience as a teacher.
I never thought in becoming famous with lots of followers. Although it is not a bad dream, isn't it? But my intention was to create a way to contact other teachers and share information and ideas.
In some way, I think this blog didn't work as the way I wanted. But I understand that every project takes time to rise.
I must be positive, I have known more people from other parts of the world, I have interacted and talked with some great teachers, and I have received many opinions about my blog (although the opinions are not all appearing in the blog itself).
I know it takes a lot of time, and it is pointless to create something that no one will see, at least, to take something from it. And I have been thinking about this since long time already. If it is really necessary to continue writing a blog.
There are good and bad points, if there is even a little way to help someone else through this blog, then the blog must remain.

Monday, 25 June 2012

yteach. A page to order your lessons

I have been  testing this page Yteach the last days. Actually, I have been testing the spanish version of this page. And although, I haven't been able to check every one of its tools, it seems to be a good resource for teachers.
Let me tell you what I have learnt from it.
Yteach is a page designed for teachers. Imagine that you can upload your own activities or if you want, you can have access to plenty of other materials shared by other people. In addition, you can create your own material and share it too.
With yteach, you can find the material you need for your classes, but at the same time, you can choose material from other sources like youtube, or other pages.
Your students can practice at home with activities and tests that you give for them in this page too.
I think, it has a great potential. But until now, I have found some problems with this page.
I haven't found all the information and content I needed. Most of them seems to be as a demo version, probably, because my account doesn't allow me to have the full content.
It is not a hard page to work with, but I feel it could be easier than it is now.

Now it is your turn to check this page and share your opinion.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Contradictions when evaluating

The problem is simple. Children are taught in the schools in order to know how to communicate in English. For that, most of the material are prepared to improve the reading and listening comprehension and written expression. Few is done for the oral expression.
The curriculum wants to improve these abilities. But we are said that we must put special attention to speaking and listening English. But the students are evaluated in reading and writing.
Another problem is that we end up teaching one thing, but the test used to evaluate the students is using a different way to evaluate.
In order words, an international test is designed to measure how much students can do withe their level of English. But the way they learn is different from school to school, and in addition, most of them don't even know how it is the test.
Unfortunatly, at the end, we teach English to have a good result in that test, but not to really use English as a tool.
Vices of the system.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

what do you really need to learn from English?

Imagine that you feel hungry, and you are in a buffet. What will you choose for eating? Hard decision, right? But I know what you will choose.
The answer is really easy, you will choose something that you like, and you like it because you have tried that before. You won't try something new, because you have the idea that it is not good, and you will lose your money buying something that you won't eat. But you will try something new, just if someone recommends it for you.
Now, try to think about this example but in the school.
Students won't learn something new, because they don't feel attracted by the new knowledge. And because they feel it won't help them at all. And in addition, they don't see the point in studying something that they don't understand. There are more important things to be learnt than a rule of grammar, or the pronunciation of a new word.

If the food looks great, you will try it, but if it looks ugly, then you will need someone to tell you that it is good for your health. And maybe, in that moment you will think in eating a new dish.

Our role as teachers is helping the students to discover the properties and the advantages of learning new topics. But there is another relevant point to keep in mind. Not every dish is suitable for every student. So as teachers, we must discover which is the real reason by which our students would learn a new language.
To do so, try to talk with them more often. Share with them, not just inside the class, but also in break times, deliver polls, don't leave them alone, be with them as much as you can. Of course you must give their own space.
But the only way to know what they really like and want is by sharing more time with them. Once you have learnt what they want, then you can know which is the best way to show them why they have learnt new things.

Friday, 1 June 2012

I love studying, Why you don't??

I have many doubts about this topic. Because when I think about studying or learning something new, even though I know it will take time and effort, I feel it is interesting. But for some reasons, students don't see the beauty of learning new things. Probably the way they learn is boring and unattractive. For sure. But sometimes I feel that even the least effort is annoying, even  if we know that it is something good for us.
Is it a matter related with the culture? Because as far as we know, in asian countries, and in some european countries, education is not a problem. They could be studying many hours or few hours, but always knowing that is something they have to do it, as part of life.
What I mean to say is, why in some cultures, education, or studying is a symbol of prestige or importance, but in some other countries, education is not appreciated.
It is sad to see that some students don't value their own education, and some of them just give up and quit. Why is like that? why do they lose motivation to continue studying?

I don't want to give real reasons, because I really don't understand, but I feel that there are some reasons that we can't avoid.
I feel that the image they have about schools is the worst. Where the respect is almost zero, and where they don't feel they are appreciated by the way they are, and for that reason there is discrimination, racism, bullying and many other vices we still have in our cultures.
I feel that the role of the family is getting lost. It is easy to see who is the boss in the house, and unfortunately, it is not the father or the mother. The control and motivation for studying is lost.
I feel that schools lack of enough tools to attract the interest of the students. They don't feel schools as a home. Everywhere else is better.
I feel that idleness is stuck in the minds of the young people. Of course not all of them, but the majority of them don't feel working or doing a task for the mere pleasure of doing it.

Something is not right, and the solution is out there. If you have an idea of how to motivate students, and make them love learning and studying, leave a comment, I will appreciate your opinion.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Changing lives as a teacher

Yesterday, I was searching for information in order to prepare my classes for today. And I just happen to run accross with a news in the New York Times, about Educational Experiences that change a life.
You have to read it.
Few things are so touching and motivating for a students, that the words that a teacher can say.
And it is true. I don't remember all my teachers, of course I remember my first teacher Mrs. Rosa, and I won't forget her.
But at the same time, I still remember many situations in which I could learn something amazing, and it all became real because of a teacher.
It is true that a teacher can change the life of a students, for good or for bad.
But as a teacher, I wonder if I am doing that on my students, if I am giving those educational experiences that change lives. I feel that I haven't done so much. It is not that I don't want, but I feel that I am not changing the life of anybody. Probably, not the way I want.
I can't judge myself so hard, because of course that I am helping my students everyday, but I would like that someday, one student will come to my class, and he or she will tell me: "Teacher, do you remember when you taught us this ... well, that made me think and then I decided to take a decision in my life", or "thanks to you, I chose the right way in life", or "I am the way I am because of you".
Dreaming is easy, actions are harder. I hope that day will come soon.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

London 2012

It would be a dream to be in London. At least for me, travelling to that wonderful city would be awesome. Maybe, some day, I will travel and I will know that great city and country (Greetings to UK).
London 2012 is near. The Olimpic Games will be a good chance to work with your students about sports. Remember that sports is one of the interests of the teenagers. In addition, Sports are the best way to have a healthy life.
I am really waiting for the next Olimpic Games. Use this chance to work vocabulary and grammar with your students, they will really like the idea of learning about sports.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

About to give up? Read this

Maybe, you have felt this. You wake up in the morning, and then you know that you have to go to work, but even you know you have to get up, in someway, you don't feel doing it. Even worst, you feel hating your job.
It happens. I know you love teaching, but there are days that you hate your career. It is normal. But when this situation seems to be everyday, then you need to do something about it. Before you give up.
Try doing one or two of the following things in order to start your day in a better way.
  • Maybe you are stressed. So try to relax, try hearing relaxing music everyday, even if it is 30 minutes, while you are resting.
  • Give time to read a good book.
  • Stop watching tv, or at least, don't watch too much. Disconnect yourself from the world.
  • Do you like paiting? Try paiting, even if it is something simple, it will help you to have some fun time.
  • Give time to think. Yes! to think. Think about you, about your family, about your life. Think about your future, because the more you think, the more you will see that your life is great.
  • Start a new project. In your house, or in your school. Try doing something new. Even if it sounds exhausting, try a new responsibility. Who knows?, maybe you will like it. (if not, then just don't do it anymore)
  • Try writing. It can be a tale, a short story, or maybe the last bestseller.
  • Give a try to a new restaurant, or to a new dish.
  • Visit new places. Plan your weekend to visit a new city.
  • Buy new ingredients, or just new products. Products you have never tried before, or you wouldn't try.
The problem is not your work, it is your life. Try doing new things in your life and you will see that you will wake up happier and expecting new things for you to come.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

What to choose? work or personal life?

OK, I know what you will say, why I am not posting periodically as before. The truth is that my time now is limited, and I don't have enough.
I think it was last year that I took a decision. If giving my whole life to my work, or just giving enough to do a good work.
You might criticize me. But I chose the second one. It is not that I hate my job or that I don't want to give more. It is just... after working already many years, I realized that I was feeling burnt out. So I took the decision to give my whole strenght and energy to work during work hours. So I could give the rest of my life, to my life, to my family.
But something funny happened. That even I was giving the whole time for work, I didn't have enought time to do all I had to do for my work.
Funny, because at the end,  I had to give time of my life, of my family to my work anyway.
For that reason, I noticed that I was not doing a good work.
Even though, I give time to prepare material and preparing all I need for my classes, I try to give time to me and my family anyway.
That is why I don't have enough time to my blog.
Do you think it was a good decision? Do you think we can separate work from personal life?
In your case, what do you do?
You can leave some comments about this. It seems that in this case, more quantity means more quality.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Teacher Julian answers (1)

For the first time, I thought in answering some questions in relation with my blog. Maybe, in the future, I can answer questions in relation with my work or my experience.
  • Why I created this blog?
    I thought in creating this blog in order to do something new, to use internet to share with other people my own experience. I have used blogs with my students, but this is my personal blog, with all my thoughts and experiences.
  • Why I don't make money with ads? I never thought of that, actually. But even now, I don't feel I want to get money from it. In addition, I must be very important or known with many many subscribers to think I can get money. But honestly, even though, this blog is not intended to get money.
  • Why I use these colours and fonts? I thought in doing something attractive, I don't want a boring page. But, of course, I have changed some things through the months, because, yes... it was a bit colourful.
  • Do I accept comments and opinions from other people? Of course I do. And I always accept comments in my blog except if it is a spam. Although, I don't receive so many comments, I appreciate every one of them. I hope I can get more, to make this blog more interactive. Also, I always take into account every opinion.
  • Do I check other blogs? Yes, although I don't have so much time, but when I have time, I like reading other blogs, sometimes leaving comments. If the topic is interesting, I always read it.
  • Do I follow back? Yes, if it is an interesting blog. But for some reason my blog is having problems with my followers, I can't see them.
  • Why I don't post regularly? To be honest, I don't have so much time. And you must know that for posting in a blog, it needs some time.
  • Do I promote other blogs? Yes, if the blog is interesting and related with teaching, or English.
  • Why I don't teach English on my blog? Actually, my blog is just for sharing experiences, ideas, pages, information, etc. My intention is not teaching English (althought I have shared things like that), because if it is so, I must do my blog in Spanish. It will be strange to teach English to a person who already speaks English.
Well, I hope I have answered some questions in relation with my blog. If you have any doubt or you want to ask me anything, you can do it. You can leave a comment or send me an email directly to my address.
Take care and see you soon

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Youtube videos, again

I always have problems remembering things that I have learnt long ago. If I don't practice again, I tend to forget things.
That is why I am always finding for information and activities to restudy and learn new things too.
An easy way to learn is by watching videos, and you must know that youtube is full of videos like that. So don't be afraid to give a time to find information on youtube.
I recommend you to check the page of the bristishcouncil, so you can also check the videos like the one below.
They are good to be used with your students. They are simple and very "straight to the point".

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Education around the world

I like travelling, although I can't do it periodically. But because of my interest in different cultures, I have got interested in the way that every country has to educate their students. They say that the nation you want to get will depend on the education will give.
I have tried to get more and more information about this, and you won't imagine how much I have read about education in other countries. Why? because I want to know how is possible that in other cultures education is improving so fast, while in others is not.
I have noticed that education will success depending on two factors. Mainly, in the history of the country, in their customs, in the way they live or have lived for years. For instance, China and Japan have a tradition that goes back to centuries. It is part of their culture to study. And even though, they reach the limit in getting high levels of stress within the students, I still consider that education means a lot to them.
Last year, I had the chance to watch a series of BBC about the education in China. (Some chapters are in youtube). I got surprise to the way they teach. They are very strict and they use many hours to study during the day.
I like the idea of considering education as something so important for the life of the students. But I don't know if studying too much will help to get better results.
Probably, if the culture is used to do so, it won't be any problem. While some countries with cultures where education is not as important, probably, won't consider education as a priority.
I think another factor to get success is the reward you will get for such sacrifice. If you are going to spend so much in your education, then at least, you want to get some reward from it. You want to be sure you will get a good job, with a good salary, stability, time for leasure or to share with your family.
I think, as long as I don't see the importance of studying, and what I will get, then nobody will spend any second in doing so.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Problems of Internet

Internet seems to be a key to help the students in their process of learning. Nothing to say against that. But something that seems to be so easy and at the reach of everybody, it can be totally different.
I use internet a lot, and if I can be connected the whole day, I would do it. Of course, I can't (and I don't have to).
But, that is easy for me, and I consider myself as a modern teacher, because I try to use all the technology at my hand.
Although, for me it is part of my day, most of my students don't have internet. Some still don't have a computer.
It is hard to help them in this way. As a teachers we know how much we can get from internet. There are millions of pages with great information, with excellent content, and tones of activities. But it is all useless if my students can have the chance to see that.
I would say that every school has a computer lab. But the time you can use it, is really few, and let's be honest, if the students have the chance to use their computers at school or at their houses, they will use facebook or other social network pages to check.

I think there must be a change in someway. But it must come from the students. I mean to say, they must see that internet is not just a great place to have fun, but also, an excellent place to gather information and learn.
I hope someday, the students will see internet as the best tool they can have nowadays to improve and learn new things. Meanwhile, teachers must do their best to connect students with this technology.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Edmodo, a network for teachers and students

Last year, I have found this amazing page called .  I just started using it with my students this year, and I have found this page really great for the communication with my students.
Before, I used to use blogs to upload information, material, etc. But it took so long and I didn't have time to do it.
Edmodo is a really useful page to interact, to upload, to receive information, comments and works. It has different applications and menus. You will really like it.

I leave a video I have found on youtube about this page with ideas.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Meeting a new group

Every year, I must face a new group of students who start a new year in my school. It is a challenge for me, because it is not just about planning, but also to work with people who are expecting the best of me.
A new school year has began, and I am getting ready for it.
When you happen to meet a new group of students, then you must consider some relevant points.
  1. Know their names. At first it is hard but try to learn their names by heart. The fastest you do, the more amazed they will be. They will feel they are important because you really want to know who they are.
  2. Promote the use of their names, and don't encourage the use of nicknames.
  3. Learn where they live, where they studied, about their families, all about their backgrounds.
  4. Be polite and always talk with respect. Never treat them as they are friends. Treat them as they are so important people. They will do the same on you.
  5. Admit your mistakes, and admit that you don't know everything. Don't lie when you don't know something. They will appreciate that you are sincere.
  6. Be fast and do things in advance. They will notice that you take things seriously, and they will see you as a good professional.
  7. When you meet their parents, be kind and show them that you are a person in which they can trust.
  8. Let the students feel that they are your allies. That they are important because they have the right to give opinions and take decisions.
  9. Don't change the rules of the schools because you feel they are so strict. If you do so, you lack of integrity.
  10. Be always you. Don't pretend to someone you are not. If you are easygoing, don't pretend to be a strict teacher. You are you, but if you are easy going, it doesn't mean you will allow everything. I am not talking about rules, I am talking about your personality.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

No more resting, let's work again

Summer vacation ended up :( and we have to continue working. A new school year starts, and I hope all teachers can do their best to give all they have for the students.
And for this year, I have great expections. I am already thinking how this year will be.
So I have a list of things I want to do on 2012.
I must improve my methodology or work, I have find more and new ways to teach and help my students to learn in a way that it will be significant for them.
I want to improve the way I evaluate, so it will represent what students really know and can do.
I want to give more time to share with them, to learn from them. I want to know what they know, but at the same time, how much they know, where they learnt, how they learnt, and how much they love what they learn.
I love my job, but at the same time, I want time for myself, to improve as a person, to have time to learn, to share, to give.
I want to give the best of me for this year.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Youtube on education

Teachers of English really need to expose the language to the students as much as they can. The use of technologies has helped to do so.
Youtube is the most important page to watch video, and the good thing is that you can even download videos from it (now I wonder if that is legal ... mmmm).
Youtube is full of pedagogical videos, courses of English, classes, and teachers teaching English. But don't be so narrow to think just like that. I remember using a video of how to use organic pesticides in plants (which is the topic my students study about), and even the video didn't have a pedegogical used related with grammar of the language, my students were trying to get the main ideas, extracting vocabulary and deducing some points. But the great thing was not just the use of the language, but the fact that they were using the language in a context they know. And in addition, they were learning more things about their own theme of study.
The use of videos on youtube is endless.
I can recommend you some channels on youtube that can be helpful for you.  (Learn English)   (Teach English)  (EF Language)  (Oxford University Press)  (Shaping the way we teach series, University of Oregon)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Advices for new teachers

Even though, I have already been working for 7 years as a teacher, I still consider myself as a new teacher. If I compare myself when I just started with the one I am now, I am far away better, but I am still far away from even better. I still have to learn so much more, so I am still "new".
When I was in the university, I prepared a speech about points to be considered when we are new teacher (honestly, I don't remember what I said, expect just one point: Speak English as much as you can). But those days, I had clear ideas about being a new teacher. If you ask me now, if I speak English to my students every day, the answer will be no.
The reality is totally different, so I would like to say some words to those who are thinking in being a teacher, or are about to finish their career as a teacher.

Think big, but don't dream too much in advance. You have to live the experience of being a teacher to know what to do or what to dream. Universities are "the theory", but being a teacher is what you really need to know what is "the action".
Don't give up, the first year is hard, you will be disappointed in some many different ways, you will really know the inner side of the people, you will learn that not all people are nice or good from heart, you will know envy people.
Students are not the ones in the books. They are people, and they are not perfect, they are hard to understand, but not impossible. They will be hundreds, and you are only one, so keep that in mind. Don't give up.
Be prepare to be strong, to fight a hard battle. Be strong to be judged, to be considered the best, and the worst. Be prepared to be a leader. Be prepared to be a father or a mother. Be prepared to be any possible person you can be (nurse, doctor, counsellor, etc.)
You have chosen a really hard work, you will criticized if you do or if you don't do something.
Stress, anxiety, depression are real. But be strong and don't give up.
You will receive a plant already grown up, So don't be responsible if it is not in good condition. But do your best to improve it.
You will receive a plant from which you won't get fruits. But be happy that it will have a lot of fruits if you do a good job taking care of it.
You can love being a teacher, or you can hate being a teacher. But after many years of working, if there is student still remembering you, and calling you "teacher", then feel already paid.
Keep in mind all I have said, the day you teach to a group of students for the first time.

One last thing, the first day you teach, take photos, many photos of those students and photos of yourself. Because that day is the first day that you will start changing this world.

Monday, 6 February 2012

The best of planning your class

I haven't written so much in these two months, because as I said, I am resting, but I have been planning my lessons plans for this year (so it means, it is not a real vacation, right?) Anyway, I am supposed to be disconnecting a bit of my work, but even though, I am still searching for information, learning, and investigating.
Planning is really good. We all know it. But it takes time and sometimes it is tiring.
But I have discovered something new about it. Something that is really great about planning. It is called "Hope".
The moment you plan, you are already "hoping" for the future. You are hoping that things will be better. You find a new activity, or resource, and you imagine the reaction of your students. And you imagine they get happy, and they get excited. It is the moment when you project yourself as a great teacher. It is the moment when you really feel that you will do a great job.
But we all know that dreams are dreams, and the reality can be a bit different.
We don't mind that. Because we are creative people, we are not afraid of trying new things. That is the beauty of this job. Everyday is different.
Planning means that we are already hoping for good results and we feel motivated to try new ways to teach.
It is the same as planning a journey. That period is as better as the real travel. Because you have nothing, but you wish for all.
Planning is really believing that things will be great, and you are the main character to make it happen.
So, don't think the time of planning as something lame. Actually is one of the most inspiring moments that we as teacher can have.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Course books, are they really helpful?

I am already in vacation, and you might be saying, I am already resting... well, actually the answer is no. I have been doing personal tasks, and of course, preparing already the material for next school year.
I was reading the new plans, and I was checking the course books through internet. And then I thought how much important a book can be for my work.
I have seen both sides: teachers using the course books step by step, without omitting any activity, and teachers not even taking into account this element. I must say I am both sides.
How is that possible? I will tell you why.
Using course books as a guide to follow step by step is a total mistake. Even though they are very well made, and they have clear goals with interesting and engaging activities, it is just a book for one year only. It means that you need to have a whole collection of books to have a real course. And at least in my country, every level has a different book, from a different publisher makes the work hard for a teacher. At the same time, I must consider the program of the ministery of education, because their objectives, activities, lesson plans, actually the whole plan can be different from the books I am going to use. In order words, the book says that in the first semester, in the first unit I must teach "The verb to Be", while the program of the government is telling me to teach the "future tense".
In addition, I must consider my reality.  The course book can have an example on how to use an iphone, but what happen if my students have never watched that kind of cellphone? The it means the course book is not a good tool for me.
In other hand, avoiding the use of this tool is really pointless. First, because if we want a better education, then we must use every possible tool to work with the students. And it is a big investment, a lot of money to help the education.
But let's be true, using the course book everyday is really boring. I won't use it everyday. But if I compare the books I used in primary school with the books of today, wow... now they are so much interesting, and for students that is something to think about.

In summary, a tool will always be a good tool, but a hammer just can nail, and nothing more. So you need a complete set of tools to do a good work. So think the course book as just one tool, but remember you need more.

Monday, 23 January 2012

What students (might) think about living

Well, another week just went fast already, and me, I have just finished my intensive course of ALTE 3, and yes... I feel tired, it was really intensive. But you know what? It was great, our teacher was really a nice person, and he really knows a lot. With a teacher like that, of course I feel inspired to know more and more, and be like him. But the question is this... if I become so great like my teacher, will my students feel inspired to learn more and more too??? Good question.
But more that just learning, which I got some ideas that I expressed in my last post. Now I felt I have to share my opinion with you about a different topic: Life.
Being a student again made me think about my students, and I got some ideas in relation with life.
Students might think the following points about life:
  • Students are not simple people, they mean a lot and for that reason, every student is really so much important for this life.
  • Students can make a great difference, and they can make this world better.
  • Students are not empty glasses, they already have a lot inside to share, to give.
  • Students are full of questions, full of ideas, full of hopes, full of fears. What are we doing to help them?
  • For students, studying is just another "activity" in their lives. Therefore, it is not that important.
  • Students think that by studying they can get a better future, but meanwhile, their present is full of problems. So, how can they be interested in studying, now??
  • Students feel hungry now, they don't want to wait years to feel they are full.
  • Students think rules are silly, pointless. Because they know that every person is free to decide what to do in his life.
  • Students don't want to waste time memorizing contents, when actually, what they really need is to do "actions".
  • Students really need love and feel that are appreciated. Remember that love is the only way to live a meaningful life.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

What students (might) think about studying

I have been so busy during these days. While most of the teachers are already in vacation, I am still busy. But this time, studying. I went back to school as old times. I am studying as a requirement of the Ministery of Education in order to improve and certify my level of English with ALTE3.
Of course, it is a good chance I can improve myself. But being a student reminded me what it was being a student.
Then I can deduce some ideas:

  • Students are eager to learn, just if it is something interesting, amazing, new or relevant for themselves.
  • Students can concentrate if what they are doing it is not that complex neither so easy.
  • Students can concentrate, but for some few minutes only.
  • Students get new information, but at the same time, they are creating new information in their minds (that is why they tend to fly away with their imagination)
  • Students want organized classes, with a serious work. But at the same time, they want to feel they are in a comfortable place.
  • Students want organization, but they want amazing things to happen. Like, they expect to have a schedule, but then suddenly, there is something unexpected.
  • Students want to learn, but they feel that they don't need to learn all. They need time to assimilate and at their own time to create their own knowledge.
  • Students like new things, but it doesn't mean that every new thing will be interesting for them.
  • Students enjoy just a normal conversation, not the patterned sentences used to learn a language.
I hope to continue learning more and more and sharing with you every new idea.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...