Tag Archives: ESL/ESOL

Virtual Coffee Date

Coffee please
If we were on a coffee date, we would probably meet at my house because my favorite iced coffee right now is my Aeropress-ed Candy Cane Iced Coffee. Plus, there’s almost always an open couch or deck seating. I would gladly make a coffee or tea or Italian soda for you, too.

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask about your creative outlets, things you do to stretch and express your creativity. While we were traveling so much over the summer, mine was photography both on my phone and point-and-shoot camera. I have also enjoyed gardening while we were home. I do not know how much time I will spend on gardening and photography now that school is starting or if I will move on to something else that inspires me. I have noticed that I do not blog as much anymore. During the summer it was because I was experiencing and enjoying and intentionally left my computer at home. During the last school year, it was because teaching took up so many of of my words that I did not feel like I had much to share in blog posts.

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Lows & Highs: Goodbyes & Adventure

Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.

 Sometimes Adventure Brings Goodbyes | StairStories.com

Over the past week, I began sharing a big, life-changing announcement with family, friends, and coworkers. They had mixed responses and I am experiencing again what it is like to tell people news that is exciting for me but sad for them.

The Sad Part

I resigned – with two weeks’ notice, of course – from the fun, fascinating English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher assistant job I have had for a year and a half. I have enjoyed working with students who do not speak English as a first language, working with a sweet (though constantly changing) department of ESL professionals.

The Happy Part

On Friday, I accepted the one job in town that I want most of all, the job I trained for, the job I muscled through three years of grad school for: College instructor.


Starting January 26, I will embark on a new adventure of teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). I am thrilled to have a job that fits my education and experience as well as the opportunity to work with students from a wide variety of countries and cultures.

Besides the job – naturally the best part of this change – I also get to work at Barton Community College, an institution I really like. I will freely admit that I am biased about the school. Over the eighteen-ish months I have lived in Great Bend, Brian and I have built a lively community of student friends through the Campus Christian Fellowship we lead with our friend, Clay. To support various student friends (and because we find it entertaining), we have attended concerts, plays, volleyball, basketball, art shows, and graduation festivities. I am looking forward to being on campus and being even more involved in campus life!

How has your week been?

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The Student Planner Challenge (free download at end)

Simple, Free Student Planner | StairStories.com
 
 
If you are looking for a revolutionary student planner that will transform every student into a star pupil, this is not it. This is about coping with educational expectations.
 
 
Learning in Another Language
I remember feeling overwhelmed on my first day of “Civilizations of Spanish-Speaking Countries” during my junior year in college. I discovered the textbook, lectures, assignments, discussions, and tests would all be in Spanish with no English!
 
 
Now I am a teaching assistant working with high school students who learned – or are learning – English as a second language (ESL). Most of them seem even more overwhelmed than I was. Can you imagine trying to navigate high school classes and society when almost everything is in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable language?
 
 
The Practice
Personal organization is one tool that can help students take ownership of their work and break it into manageable parts. With that in mind, I made a simple, non-distracting planner and am trying to teach students how to use it.
 
1. Write the date below each day of the week.
2. When you get an assignment, write it on the day that it is due (not the day you get the assignment).
3. When you do homework, check your planner and start with what is due first.
4. When you complete an assignment, check it off on the planner.
 
 
I like this practice because it helps students recognize that the order they receive assignments is not necessarily the order in which they need to be completed. It is easy to check the planner and make sure they have everything ready for the next day. Our long-term goal, of course is to give the students tools to help them be self-sufficient in high school, college, or wherever life takes them.
 
 
The Challenge
The ESL teacher assistants have been encouraging the students we work with to try the planner pages. To add motivation, if a student updates and uses the planners for four consecutive weeks, he or she will get a prize.

 

Get my simple, non-distracting planner. 

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Lows & Highs: 8/14-8/20/13

I meant to have this post publish this morning, but completely forgot due to the craziness of Monday and Tuesday.

Low:
Mid-afternoon on Tuesday, I had a headache start and grow into a monster that lasted all evening. (Which I am sure contributed to my forgetting to schedule this post.) As best I can tell, I probably breathed some kind of weed pollen that did not agree with me. I am grateful it did not interfere with my new job though!

High:
I began my new job as an ESL paraprofessional on Tuesday and already love it! The staff and teachers have been helpful and friendly; I enjoy getting to know the students and their personalities, too.

What were your lows and highs from the past week?

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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Lows & Highs: 8/7-8/13/13

Low: 
I have battled headaches several days this week and my usual over-the-counter anti-inflammatory has not been helping much. Stretching and rubbing the back of my neck seem to partially reduce the discomfort, though.

High: 
On Sunday, we visited a new church. In Sunday School, we answered the usual questions: We are visiting churches because we want to make the choice together instead of doing everything the same way Brian started when he moved here as a bachelor years ago, he teaches math at the college, I am still looking for a job and recently finished my M.A. in TESOL… last part was still on Brian’s lips when the Sunday School teacher, the high school principal, looked at me with a grin, “Want to be an ESL para at the high school?”

I smiled, “That doesn’t sound too bad.”

“I’m serious.”

“So am I.”

“Come see me at my office tomorrow.”

On Monday, I visited to discuss the position and fill out an application and he called on Tuesday to officially offer me the job!

 

What were your lows and highs from the past week?

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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Lows & Highs: 2/4-2/12/13

Lows
1. Tuesday night at class, I spent the first hour doing the administrative work of testing instead of the teaching work I love. I was grateful to have my assisting teacher there and she cheerfully went through the planned activity with the class until I could get there. I did enjoy getting to teach and interact with students during the second half of the class, though.

2. I keep growing frustrated – mostly at myself – for being unable to do everything on my to-do list. Between my own expectations and those of others, my to-do list grows long in a hurry and I am still unskilled at delegating and telling people “no.” I keep forgetting that God gives me enough time to accomplish everything He wants me to do but not necessarily to do everything I think I must do.

Highs
1. Friday night at class, I taught a lesson based on drawing your own family tree and got all but one of my fifteen students chattering enthusiastically and practicing their English!

2. On a shopping trip in a nearby city with my parents, we accomplished all our errands and went to Panda Express and Starbucks! Oh, and my dad decided to join Twitter while we were on that shopping trip. So far he doesn’t tweet but treats it more like a personalized news feed.

What were your lows and highs from the past week?

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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Lows & Highs: 12/12-12/18/12

Low: For the second week in a row, I cannot think of a low.

High: I graduated on Saturday with my M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language! I met up with family for barbecue at my favorite local joint in Emporia, KS, and lunch was as tasty as I remembered from my undergrad days. After lunch, we headed to the campus for the commencement ceremony. We were early, so I took the opportunity to show them around a bit, pointing out different buildings I used to frequent. In a stroke of genius, someone at the university had decided to hold separate ceremonies for the graduate and undergraduate students. You may wonder how long a December ceremony with only graduate students at a small-ish university would take. You are in luck; my dad timed it at 49 minutes. That was the shortest graduation ceremony I have ever attended, and I greatly enjoyed it!

Fall 2012 Emporia State Doctorate, Specialist, and Masters Commencement
What were your lows and highs from this week?

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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Lows & Highs: 11/28-12/4/12

Tuesday was our last campus Bible study for the semester. I know it makes me sound old, but where has the time gone?!

Low: Monday was a stressful and exhausting at work and then I left work and grew frustrated trying to finish my Teacher Work Sample (TWS) as my final project.

High: Tuesday I did the last proofread of my TWS and submitted it to my professor… My very last project of my very last class of the masters degree I have been working on for over three years.

I cannot put into words how excited and relieved I am!

 

What were your lows and highs from this week?

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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31 Days of Random Questions – Day 17

What is one thing you hope to change?
I am looking forward to changing my job someday. I am currently an accountant but will finish my M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL). I would love to teach English to college students or adults.

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Lows & Highs: 9/26-10/2/12

Lows:
My low this week was feeling overwhelmed with trying to do my midterm project, prepare lessons for two different classroom observations, and month-end processing at work.

Students shared lows of finding out a godmother has a brain tumor, coping with a mom’s Huntington’s disease, hearing two classmates who were injured in a car wreck over the weekend, and worrying about a brother who was in a coma following a wreck. Please pray for these students and their families.

Note: I found out early this morning that the student’s brother passed away.

Highs:
1) I had to do a “Community Connection” project for my TESOL* practicum this semester, so I organized a bilingual story time at the public library and had an excellent turnout.
2) Both my classroom observations went well and I am feeling more optimistic about the rest of the semester now that I have passed those hurdles.
*Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

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