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  1. #1
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Default EFL? Yeah, now what?

    I work at a university in the PRC as a language tutor to Chinese students of English. For the last eight years I've been here and there inside China, mostly unis, sometimes private, and yeah, I know, if you could pick a job for an INTJ, this wouldn't be it. I can plan lessons all I like, but the real role of an EFL teacher is to motivate, and these days I'm like, wah? Me? I supply enthusiasm? Students take part in activities I plan and exercise their skills because I supply enthusiasm? I do? Me?

    I'm tired of being the motivator. I like the students. I like talking to them. I plan lessons for them based on what I think they need. But I'm not a people person; I'm a theory person. My particular skill is in collecting new information--lots of it--and discovering and speaking about the key elements and all the while synthesizing plans of action. And someone else follows the plan. Someone else supplies the energy. It'd be pretty cool if I could find something in China.

    Know anyone that sounds like me? What are they happy doing? Where are they now?

    I love my students. I just don't want to work for them anymore.

  2. #2
    Phoenix Incarnate Sentura's Avatar
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    start some research on what kind of theory you want to do, then do it. i think once you find out what kind of theory you like, you'll be all set.
    i hunt INXPs for bounty
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  3. #3
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Simple, yet true.

    Wonder why I didn't think of that. Maybe too long having an easy job.

  4. #4
    No me digas, che! Recoleta's Avatar
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    I just finished my MA in TESOL. I haven't taught English abroad, but I have taught both Spanish and ESOL in the US ranging from middle school-college aged students.

    I can relate somewhat to not being a people person, but I have found that I really enjoy ESOL because language is an interest/passion of mine, plus it caters to my Si in that it is very much experiential and connected to the physical world. The theory with ESOL/language acquisition was interesting (especially sociolinguistics), but it was also really dry to me because of lack of interaction. Perhaps you'd enjoy applied linguistics?

    Also, IMO if students are electively taking classes/coming to you for help, it is not so much your job to motivate them. I mean sure, it really helps if you enjoy what you do because passion is contagious, but I think it's more important that you connect the new language to real-life situations or the lives of your students so that they are able to see how the language will benefit them and so that they can use it in authentic ways. I find that when students believe that what they are doing is meaningful, they are more motivated on their own.

  5. #5
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Recoleta View Post
    Also, IMO if students are electively taking classes/coming to you for help, it is not so much your job to motivate them.
    Aye, there's the rub. I work with Language majors in a government university in China. They're here for a long haul, four years, and trim down their enthusiasm lest they burn out, and a lot of them kinda didn't know what they were getting into--like any university student anywhere. They're good though--capable and impressive.

    I did work in a training center with adults for a year. That was more rewarding. They wanted efficient learning and they'd paid real money to be there for a set, short term. And the program the center offered was good. But it got to be boring after a while, me as teacher forever following someone else's program. (And tiring--25 sixty-minute hours teaching a week. Hello burn out.)

    I want to teach Critical Thinking.

    I mean sure, it really helps if you enjoy what you do because passion is contagious, but I think it's more important that you connect the new language to real-life situations or the lives of your students so that they are able to see how the language will benefit them and so that they can use it in authentic ways. I find that when students believe that what they are doing is meaningful, they are more motivated on their own.
    Agreed. That'd be cool, working with motivated learners and being able to provide a decent program. Fun too, probably. Where are you thinking of working?

  6. #6
    No me digas, che! Recoleta's Avatar
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    ^ Lol...if they're language majors it's totally not your job to motivate them. I know it's overwhelming and exhausting, but they'll be fine.

    Is the program that you are teaching now so rigid that you can't supplement their lessons? I know supplementing is a lot of work on your part, but it's really rewarding when the students are enjoying themselves...plus, it allows you to get creative and stretch yourself. I did that a lot when I taught college-level Spanish 1001. I had a syllabus that told me what had to be taught from the book on that day, and I used the book some (it was a pretty good curriculum), but when I could use authentic materials, I did. I had 18-36 year olds enjoying Dr. Seuss books all over again in Spanish, and I used other kids books to teach colors, prepositions, and directions. It was great! I was amazed at how much they loved being read to and reading aloud. Plus, they felt a real sense of accomplishment in that were actually reading and comprehending something in another language...it was quite adorable.

    May I ask what level you teach, and how you go about teaching it? Is it more lecture-style, or is it communicative? What kind of assignments do they have? If you happen to teach advanced EFL, can't you mix in some critical thinking/analysis stuff?

    As for me, I'm hoping to teach ESOL in either a middle or high school in the US. Oddly enough, I'd rather teach ESOL in middle school and Spanish in high school. We'll see if a job comes along. I've toyed with the idea of going abroad, but finding a credible program seems difficult. It's hard to know what is legit and what's not. Do you happen to know of any?

  7. #7
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Recoleta View Post
    ^ Lol...if they're language majors it's totally not your job to motivate them.
    If I were teaching the whole language, then yeah, not my job to motivate. But I'm what's called an "Oral English Teacher". Basically, they get the nuts and bolts from the Chinese staff, and they come to my class for practice speaking. I'm their speaking activities guy, kinda low on the totem pole, and in any case it's "activities." My real job is to create an environment in which targetted speaking activities happen. Listless, unenthusiastic participants do not a successful 45 minutes make. (NFs got it made for that kind of classroom thing.)

    Plus, they're young Chinese in China. As far as they know, the teacher speaks and they listen, and that's how they learn. According to the dominant educational culture, it makes total and complete sense to everyone to say, "Oh, we didn't like the teacher so we didn't learn anything." (With the burden of blame falling to the teacher.)

    Is the program that you are teaching now so rigid that you can't supplement their lessons?
    It is totally without rigidity as far as content goes. Everything comes from me. As far as expectation goes, ask a student what they expect and they'll say, "You can be more interesting and teach us how to improve our oral English."

    It can be a challenge.

    I know supplementing is a lot of work on your part, but it's really rewarding when the students are enjoying themselves...plus, it allows you to get creative and stretch yourself. I did that a lot when I taught college-level Spanish 1001. I had a syllabus that told me what had to be taught from the book on that day, and I used the book some (it was a pretty good curriculum), but when I could use authentic materials, I did. I had 18-36 year olds enjoying Dr. Seuss books all over again in Spanish, and I used other kids books to teach colors, prepositions, and directions. It was great! I was amazed at how much they loved being read to and reading aloud. Plus, they felt a real sense of accomplishment in that were actually reading and comprehending something in another language...it was quite adorable.
    You sound like you're having a lot of fun. It sounds satisfying. Congrats.

    I'm not sure what I'm weary of. I like my students. I think they're great kids. I think maybe I can feel a big blank gap between what I do in class and what should be done to help them. I'm not involved in designing how their whole course works, so I don't know what to target other than by listening to them speak from week to week. Which even if I'm accurate, I'm still working at odds with whatever the dominant program is. I wonder why it's so hard to find out.

    As for me, I'm hoping to teach ESOL in either a middle or high school in the US. Oddly enough, I'd rather teach ESOL in middle school and Spanish in high school. We'll see if a job comes along. I've toyed with the idea of going abroad, but finding a credible program seems difficult. It's hard to know what is legit and what's not. Do you happen to know of any?
    Nup. And you're better qualified than me. I have a CELTA and a unrelated humanities postgrad degree.

  8. #8
    Alexander the Terrible yenom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    I work at a university in the PRC as a language tutor to Chinese students of English. For the last eight years I've been here and there inside China, mostly unis, sometimes private, and yeah, I know, if you could pick a job for an INTJ, this wouldn't be it. I can plan lessons all I like, but the real role of an EFL teacher is to motivate, and these days I'm like, wah? Me? I supply enthusiasm? Students take part in activities I plan and exercise their skills because I supply enthusiasm? I do? Me?

    I'm tired of being the motivator. I like the students. I like talking to them. I plan lessons for them based on what I think they need. But I'm not a people person; I'm a theory person. My particular skill is in collecting new information--lots of it--and discovering and speaking about the key elements and all the while synthesizing plans of action. And someone else follows the plan. Someone else supplies the energy. It'd be pretty cool if I could find something in China.

    Know anyone that sounds like me? What are they happy doing? Where are they now?

    I love my students. I just don't want to work for them anymore.
    How do yoiu get this job? Do you know chinese well enough?
    There are alot of things you can do if you don't want to be a teacher.
    Look hard with a magnifying class.

    You could also be a corporate strategist or a marketing cordinator.
    The fear of poverty turns people into slaves of money.

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