The Things Nobody Teaches You

This post is inspired by Sandy Millin’s and Mark’s posts here and here on the same topic.

Here it is, my own list of things I wish I were taught before starting my job.

Manual double-sided printing
In some cases, like when your office printer is not smart and modern enough, you might need to do double-sided printing manually. It’s not as difficult as it seems. I just had to mess up once or twice before I figured out how to put the sheet back into the paper tray so that the other side print was situated the way I wanted. Easy-peasy!
I wish I did not have to waste the paper though.

Feel free to break the rules
The one rule you remember best after doing your CELTA is not to do things any other way apart from that way you’ve been taught. A year and a half after finishing my CELTA I was still using those massive and detailed lesson plans for every single lesson I taught. It only happened by accident that two weeks ago I realised I didn’t need them anymore. I forgot to print out my lesson plan and had to teach without it. It was much easier than I expected (I should thank the unified curriculum with prescribed lesson structure for this). Now my lesson plans are as minimalistic as possible:

LP_after_edI still have no idea why I haven’t tried it earlier. Habit is second nature indeed…

Frist aid kit
Always bring a bottle of water and painkillers with you into the classroom. Ladies will understand.

In the office
Make sure to get tissues. You might also want to have an infinite stock of plastic folders, sticky notes and paper clips. Oh, and rubber bands!

4-colour pen
IT’S A MUST! If it also has a pencil and eraser in it, it becomes invaluable. Luckily, Japan has them everywhere 🙂

Teaching university students
University students are unique learners that have both teenager and young adults characteristics combined, which means that while you can expect a generally more mature attitude, it’s still worth adding some funny pictures and game elements (like o-hajiki, for example).


2018 Resolutions

I keep being traditional and dedicate my first post in 2018 to the magical power of goal-setting.

So here are my teaching goals for 2018:

  1. Semester Project

First of all, I have to continue and finish writing my Semester Project which focuses on motivation, group dynamics, and gender-unbalanced groups and is based on a dialogical teaching journal I have been keeping this semester (thanks Ann Loseva for being my TJ pal!).

  1. Review the lessons for Spring semester and think them over

I have many ideas on how to make them much better so technically I’m going to re-write every single lesson – there’s never too much work, huh? 😀 I’ve already finished composing a preliminary alternative lesson plan for Lesson 1 ‘Introduction’, and it was inspired by this post written by amazing Sventala Kandybovich. I’ve also heard about active listening from Ann during one of our RP meetings. Together, these two events ignited an idea of a lesson plan. I want students to think about communication and the roles of listener and speaker. Then we’ll look at the communication skills they have to learn as a part of the course curriculum. I hope that this time, I can introduce them to these skills in a more meaningful way which will result in a more active and thoughtful use.
I’m also thinking about different activities I could use for other lessons. I’m especially interested in brainstorming, critical thinking, learner autonomy, and guided discovery.

  1. New Level

I signed up for teaching Level I students whose English is Upper-Intermediate (or even higher sometimes as I heard). I know it might be difficult, but I’m eager to unlock this new level and get more experience. It seems like I’m a workaholic and an extreme ELT enthusiast…

  1. Conferences

One more achievement I’m aiming for is to become a conference presenter. For now, I’m mostly concentrated on poster presentations as probably the most accessible form to start from, but I’m thinking about workshops as well… and I have some ideas… I hope I can write more about it when they come true!

As for personal goals, I hope to travel to some new countries and explore some new places.

Let’s do it! Yosh ^_^