Archive for June, 2011

Melting Away at Work. (Not a metaphor!)

June 16, 2011

Today was by far the weirdest day.

The air-conditioning wasn’t working today, as there’s been some problem with the electrics in our work.

I was pre-warned and told to wear something cool for work, as it was going to be like a sauna. I decided before work to pick up some plant spray bottles to fill up with water and squirt at my students, and more importantly, myself.

Everyone was too hot to do any work. I was surprised, as I hadn’t realised the impact the air-con had had on my working life up ’til now. I thought isn’t this what it’s like in England all the time? Because in the UK nowhere really has air-con, since we would only require it for a maximun of two weeks during a good summer. So we would make do with electric fans and open windows. Today, however, there were no electric fans nor windows that could be opened. It seems daft that we can’t open the windows, but this must be a safety precaution, since we are on the sixth floor and we have a lot of children who come to the centre. Children are difficult to control at the best of times, so they might fancy climbing out the windows, who knows.

The students were basically resistant to work, even games. The squirty bottles were a good call. For the next class, there was an exam, so I bought a big bottle of water and got some paper cups for the students to use, and let them use the squirty bottle as much as they wanted to.

The last class was adults, who came in and thought “We can’t stay here for an hour and a half,” so we got permission to have the class in the bar across the road.

Well I might not be the best teacher in the world academically speaking, but you can’t say I don’t look after my students.

Tomorrow I have my two most difficult groups. Where I can easily get one group on side with competetive games, preferably with a football element, the second group are that bit older and basically do not engage with anything I prepare. They’ve done their exam now, and only continue to come because their parents make them. I’ve tried everything I can, and they don’t even listen to instructions. They are lovely as individuals on their own, but the group dynamic is challenging. If the air-con isn’t working tomorrow, I really won’t know what to do with them.


What’s happened to Miss Kites?

June 14, 2011

Ladies and gentleman,

Some days I fear I may be going mad.  I wanted to cry today at the prospect of another year of feeling the way I have felt this year.  I wanted to cry in front of the Irish man with the academy who wasn’t saying the words I wanted to hear: ” Have a job!  We loved your CV!  You’ll be welcomed here with open arms”.

Asking for work is so humiliating.  It’s opening yourself up to rejection from the outset.  Three academies.  One wasted morning.  A thousand tears that wanted to spill out.  Two sad eyes.

On the bus on the way home recounted my youth to Mr Kites.

“I don’t know what it was like for you, but for me when I was in school, they told us that the world is our oyster and we could do anything.  The disappointment stings.”

The stagnant waters of the world of work provide little evidence of the promises made to us during golder, shinier years.

Mr World, I feel like you gave our generation false hope.  The world is not my oyster.  It’s someone else’s.

Words 2

June 14, 2011

New annoying words:

go-to (used as an adjective)

get-go (used as a noun)


June 2, 2011

Let’s face it, reading teaching blogs can get quite intense.  In fact, I do not classify myself as a teaching blogger.  I use my blog as my journal, but I happen to refer a lot to teaching in it, since that’s what’s mostly on my mind.  However, I need some down-time from teaching, and thus I have added some new blogs to my reader.

I was very pleased when this post appeared on my reader from New York blogger, Joanna Goddard, featuring a list of prohibited words given by editor of New York magazine to his staff.  I love words, so this topic was quite inspiring, and I thought wouldn’t it be great to make you aware of the words that really get up my nose.  And the best bit is, you can use it as a lesson idea!

So, for starters, here are some words I would love to see/hear a whole lot less of (and this post is sure to get regularly updated as new annoying words reveal themselves to me!):

to go as in “coffee to go”.  Where is the coffee hoping to go to, exactly?

Connect with meaning to communicate with/engage with/chat to on occasion.

Get students to do…. I just hate the idea of forcefully obliging people to do something, so “get them to do” just sounds a bit crude.

Pop as in a pop of colour.  This just sounds really childish.

Gotten used in British English.  Yes, I’m just a snob.

Here’s the thing as used to introduce a new theme.

On the weekend instead of at the weekend.

Pardon?  I hate that word and far prefer Sorry?   It reminds me of another word I hate.  I’ll let you guess which word that is.  And it’s accompanied by the memory of being constantly told off as a child for saying “What?”

Uggghhhh? As used by impolite students who aren’t listening properly.  Usually used by the younger generation. (Listen to me, I sound old!)

I’ll publish more soon.

What about your most annoying words?

Pares e impares

June 1, 2011

Dunno if I’m even spelling that correctly.  It means evens and odds, or odds and evens.  Literally pairs and unpairs.

I never learned that before coming to Spain.  I’ve learned some equally useful expressions that uni failed to equip me with: me rindo (“I give up”), lo cojo (“I get it”), no me enteré (“What’s the teacher going on about?  I must have been nodding off during that last bit”), tomaaaaaa! (“get in” when you get an answer right, or “take that, you idiot” when you say it accusingly to your classmate for doubting your ability to get an answer right).

Anyway, odds and evens.  Pares e impares.  Just some incidental language for learners and teachers alike.

A quick post since it’s late.

Did you ever remember that weird toy shaped like a ball which you would ask questions to, and it would say yes or no?  Well, the magic dice does it just the same.  Odd numbers mean no, and even numbers mean yes.  The students practise their yes/no questions by asking the dice a question.   Then they throw the dice and find out the answer.  It causes lots of giggles.  I used it with a class practising “will”.

eg Will I be famous?  Will Juan be a football player?  Will Javi take over the world?

Try it.  Trying to manufacture situations to practise questions is difficult, so the sillier the better.