Surviving Summer School: The Staffroom (And What the Activity Leaders Want You To Know)

This is part 3/6 of a series on Surviving Summer School. To read the other parts check here. 

surviving summer school 3

At every summer school I’ve worked at so far there has been, to a greater or lesser extent, a Great Divide between ‘them’ and ‘us’ – the teachers and the activity leaders. Everyone on the staff at a summer school is working together to make it an enjoyable experience for the kids, so we’re all on the same team, right? In theory, yes. But it can be hard to believe. As one of the seemingly rare hybrid species who have done both roles, here are some mediating letters to both sides.


Dear Teachers,

You may think that our role as Activity Leaders is less important (or you may have even been told as such by well-meaning but ill-informed management). The fact of the matter is that this is simply not true. Much as the sense of taste is damaged with no sense of smell, we are a team. Without you, the students would simply play games, do sports and do arts and crafts for the whole summer – all in their own languages. Without developing their English skills, they would not have the ability or the confidence to strike up a conversation with a student with a different first language… and as a result everyone’s experiences would be far less rich. During activities, however, is when the language they have learnt in class becomes a real, ‘living’ thing. Using English as a tool to communicate will develop their confidence, their self-esteem, and their English as well, and this is something the students will hopefully experience outside the classroom as well.

We know you are tired after teaching for the morning and are mentally busy planning for the following day. But please, please try to be enthusiastic about activities. Unless we tell you otherwise, you aren’t in ‘teacher mode’ here, we are – so a lot of the time you can simply join in and have some fun! You don’t need to be a skilled sportsman/woman. Some of the students inevitably won’t be either, and the best thing you can do for the reluctant student who wants to sit on the sidelines is to take part and show enthusiasm yourself.

Likewise, please try your hardest to be flexible – as in the classroom, things can and do go wrong. If the plans suddenly change or something doesn’t work as intended, please try to be understanding. The best thing you can do is to offer to help or to ask what needs to be done – then do it.

Often we are pretty young – most of us are university students. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are immature, irresponsible or simply in this job for the money. Who knows, one day we might do a CELTA and become one of you!

Love,

Your Activity Leaders

 


 

Dear Activity Leaders,

Teaching for the day and then being expected to do activities is hard. Teaching takes a lot of energy, and by the time we come to you in the afternoon we may well be occupied by the events that happened in our lessons – the student who was struggling, the student we think should probably move up a level, the one who doesn’t seem to mix well with the others and the one who is downright angry about being here.

Activities are your time to shine. Please take the lead here and make sure you plan what we’re going to do, where we’re going to be, and make sure that the space and equipment are available. As teachers, we know all about planning, and no one enjoys an unstructured ‘let’s just go down to the sports field and kick a ball around’ as much as a properly organised event.

As previously mentioned, by the time we get to you we are tired. We don’t intend to be deliberately obtuse, but it can really help us if you give us specific tasks to do – collect the footballs from here, supervise this group of students, help this group of students sort themselves into teams. After a morning of making tens of decisions, we don’t really have the energy to play guesswork to figure out what you want us to do. (This is why we might be standing in a little group in the corner of the field talking, not because we are deliberately trying to annoy you).

Love,

Your Teachers

Surviving Summer School: The First Lesson

This is part 2/6 of a series on Surviving Summer School. To read the other parts check here.

Surviving summer school 2

Congratulations are in order first of all: if you’ve made it this far you’ve survived both day zero and day one. At most summer schools the order of the day tends to be for the staff to arrive and be talked at for a day (Day Zero), followed by a day of relatively organised chaos (Day One) as the staff of each summer school try to receive their students, not receive anyone else’s students, deal with the inevitable lost bags/forgotten items/lost students, persuade teenagers to call home, and then somehow get everyone into allocated bedrooms and sorted into what are (hopefully) the right classes. For management staff, day one is a living hell that you then want a holiday to recover from, but for teachers and activity leaders it’s mostly a day of listening carefully, being flexible, and doing what you’re told.

So now it’s Day Two, the day when lessons actually start. You already feel as if you’ve been here for about a year, the ‘real world’ is starting to seem like a figment of your imagination, and you’re slightly worried that you’ve forgotten how to actually teach. As with Day Zero, Day One, and actually almost every other day of summer school, don’t panic. Your first lesson(s) at summer school have three real aims. 1. Get to know the students, and let them get to know you, 2. Lay down some ground rules, 3. Figure out what you’re dealing with. 

1. Get to know the students, and let them get to know you.

Summer school is quite a different environment to where you’re likely to be working for the rest of the year, simply because the students are going to be there all the time. This can be a blessing or a curse. It does however mean that rapport is crucial.

I usually start my first lesson with a simple ‘getting to know you’ type activity. This can be something like ‘3 Truths and a Lie’ (write 4 sentences about you on the board, 1 of which is not true, students must guess the lie, ss. then repeat in pairs or small groups with their own sentences),  ‘Find Someone Who’ (the inevitable worksheet of the same name) or my personal favourite, ‘Question the Teacher’ (elicit what information ss. want to know about a person they’ve just met, ie. name, age, favourite colour, favourite food, hobbies…, then ask them to work in small groups and guess your answers, give feedback on what they got right or wrong, ss. can then repeat the guessing or simply ask each other the questions). The main aim however is that it introduces the students to each other (they will have doubtless made some friends at the airport/in the dining hall/in their room already, but they are unlikely to have already spoken to everyone in their class), and also makes you seem more human.

2. Lay the ground rules.

Once everyone has got to know each other a little, the first lesson is time to lay down some ground rules. I used to ‘wait and see’ what students were like during their first class, and then use that to decide what rules to enforce from my second lesson on. Then I learnt that a combination of nerves and novelty tends to mean that students are always nicer in the first lesson than they will be in any subsequent lessons. Start as you mean to go on.

So as not to be too ‘school like’ – these students are on their summer holiday as well, I normally tend to ensure they are pretty involved in the decision process. Students can work in groups to decide what is acceptable and unacceptable classroom behaviour, then propose what they feel the rules should be. The class can vote for the most important rules which can then be displayed on a poster, signed by all the class. Good luck if they try arguing later down the line – because they wrote and chose those rules themselves. For teen classes I often encourage them to think what the penalties should be if the rules are broken. I have found forfeits for speaking L1 particularly effective when the forfeits are chosen by their peers!

3. Figure out what you’re dealing with.

My favourite ‘getting to know you’ and ‘class rules’ activities contain three specific elements: they require the students to work in a group, they require the students to speak in English, and they require the students to write. Some students take a ‘placement test’ before arriving at the summer school, some take a placement test on their first day, and others simply are taken on the word of their Dad/English teacher/Auntie that they ‘really are pre-intermediate, honest!’. Hopefully they are in a class of students who are roughly all the same level, but there are no guarantees of this.

It’s important to mention that ‘first day nerves’ can very much play a part here. The students may be nervous, they may be homesick, they may be jet-lagged or they may simply be very determined to be in the same class as their best friend from home/that cute French guy they met on the coach. As a result, I’d always recommend waiting a day or so before deciding that a student is definitely in the wrong group. These first lesson activities do however give the teacher an opportunity to get some idea of the class dynamics – are there any students who are very dominant or very quiet? Are there any students who you want to ‘keep an eye on’ as first impressions at least say that they might be in the wrong level?

After a busy couple of days, the first few hours spent teaching can feel very long. If it doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped, don’t worry. One of the great things about teaching at summer school is the sheer amount of time you get to spend with the students – it means that any mistakes, problems or ill-feeling are quickly forgotten. Tomorrow is another day.

 

 

Surviving Summer School: Day Zero

This post is part 1/6 in a series on surviving summer school. To see the rest of the posts, check here

surviving summer school 1

It’s June, July or August. For most people, this means summer holidays, relaxing on beaches, and doing very little work. For the TEFL teacher, it’s a different story. Every summer we once again pack our lives into a suitcase and prepare to spend the next few weeks working harder than some of us work all year. The rite of passage that is summer school can be a slog – something you do simply to earn money during an otherwise miserable few months of unemployment – or it can be the best job in the world. In this series I hope to help you make the most of it, so that it can be the less of the former, and more of the latter.

It’s day 0.

Before leaving for summer school (assuming your position is residential), check what you need to pack. It sounds like the most obvious thing in the world, especially if you’ve spent the last nine months living out of a suitcase, but what you need to take may well vary. A few errors of my own:

  • I have arrived at a school campus 13 miles from the nearest town with no towel, only to discover that towels are not provided. Conversely I have also dragged a rucksack with contents of approximately nine-tenths towel across London, only to discover that the school does provide towels. If you have someone you can email or otherwise contact beforehand, check.
  • I repeat: check where the school is. Summer schools tend to routinely call themselves after the nearest civilisation. They are normally based in boarding schools or university campuses which are nowhere near that civilisation. Do not assume you will be able to walk there or easily access it from public transport.
  • I have arrived at a boarding school campus with a lovely outdoor swimming pool – with no swimsuit.
  • I have arrived at summer school only to discover that I need to submit copies of almost every document I own as the school has suddenly decided that I am due for a new DBS check. My parents were not amused when I had to phone them and ask them to find, scan and email said documents.
  • (A note for the female teachers: I have also had a string of miserable summer school experiences which will be forever etched in my memory as ‘the tampon day’. Unless your school is within easy walking distance of a shop, make sure you are prepared.)

Expect information overload. 

Most importantly, don’t panic. Summer school inductions almost always involve you being talked at for most of a day until random facts and figures and company policies feel as if they are going to start dribbling out of your ears. During the induction, remember:

  • You do not need to remember everything. Prioritise what seems to be the most important information. You need to know what to do in the event of a fire or other emergency situation. You need to know what will happen on the first day of the course, and what will be expected of you. You need to know if there are any particular places that are considered out-of-bounds (for both staff and students) and if there are any access codes for particular buildings or rooms. You do not need to know about the company’s ‘lost’ procedure when you will not be going on any trips for at least the next week. You do not need to know about the company’s complaints or disciplinary procedures – and if the event occurs where you do need to know about them, you will be able to find the information at a later date.
  • Most summer schools (certainly all the ones I’ve worked for) will provide you with a staff handbook, often in digital format and then as a hard copy. If they are nice enough to give you a hard copy, make use of it! This is your place to highlight important things and make notes of the relevant important information during the induction training. This way, everything is all in the same place should you need it. (If you don’t have a hard copy of the staff handbook, allocate the first page in a notebook or a piece of paper you plan to keep very very safe for the same purpose.
  • Find out who to ask if you need a recap. It’s inevitable that you won’t remember everything from the induction training – I’ve often finished the day feeling like there was so much information that I’ve absorbed almost nothing. Find out who to ask (or where to look) if you want a recap on something that you’ve missed.

Enjoy the calm before the storm.

Generally the staff arrive the day before the students at summer school. Make the most of it. Take the time to figure out where things are: most boarding schools/university campuses are built on intricate labyrinthine designs with one-way fire escape exits and stairways that rearrange themselves as in Harry Potter. Tomorrow you will be faced with endless questions from lost students. Figure out where things are now.

Make friends. 

The people you meet at your summer school induction will be your friends and family for the next few weeks. You will spend almost every waking moment with them. You will dream about them. (I only wish I were joking). Day 0 is also the opportunity for you to get to know people without lesson planning, teaching, activities, or students getting in the way. In all seriousness though, some of my best friends are people I met whilst teaching at summer school. It’s really interesting to find out about people’s experiences of working for different schools or in different countries (and can be great if you’re not quite sure where to go next!) and it can be helpful to find out who you could potentially turn to for support when the going gets tough.

Keep calm. Get some sleep. Day 0 is only the beginning.

 

5 Ideas for the End of the Year

You’ve finished the coursebook, the final exams have been taken, and the end of the year is fast approaching – but still you have some time to fill. Here are some ideas for that last lesson (or last few lessons) of term.

1. Ask the students!

Provided the students are old enough/have a high enough level of English, this is almost always my first step when deciding what to do in the last lesson. Watch a film? Play a game they love (or a game you don’t normally let them play – Mafia is a firm favourite with my grade 5 class)? At the end of the year students are tired (particularly if they are still at school/university) and giving them a treat in the final lesson is my way of giving them a reward for all their hard work.

A word of warning though: I always make it clear to my students that they are making suggestions, and we will do what they ask for within reason. Your teenagers will ask to watch 18-rated films. Your tweens will ask if they can spend the whole lesson asleep. The chances are though that they will also make at least one sensible suggestion. Assuming they do, you don’t need to read further. If they are terminally unimaginative (or only capable of making inappropriate suggestions), read on for some more ideas.

2. Make your own boardgame (pre-int +)

This was an activity I chanced upon when needing to fill a 90 minute ‘end of course’ lesson – and it worked so well I’ve repeated it several times since! (My classes generally have around 8 students or less so I normally do this as a whole group activity. With a larger class however the students could make their boardgame in smaller groups and either play their own or a different group’s game).

You will need: A simple boardgame layout (can be snakes and ladders, a normal boardgame, or anything else you fancy – print one or draw it on a piece of paper, then colour squares at random the same colours as your slips of paper), slips of coloured paper (I tend to use 4 different colours), at least one copy of the coursebook, a die and counters.

Tell the students that they are going to make a boardgame – but that first they need to make some questions that will be part of the game. Allocate one colour paper to one topic, for example: green = grammar, red = vocabulary, blue = content, yellow =  personal. You can make the categories whatever you want, but I usually take the opportunity to make some revision-based (students can look back in the coursebook for help with writing them) and some more fun (‘If you were an animal, what would you be?’ or ‘What are you going to do in the summer holiday?’). You can also mix it up a little by allocating one colour to be forfeit cards (Sing a Justin Bieber song. Pretend to be a chicken).  Elicit some examples of questions and then hand out the blank slips of paper – 2 or 3 of each colour per student should do. Set a time limit of 10-15 mins for students to write their questions, monitor and correct accordingly. Collect in all the slips of paper and put them in piles according to colour.

Now comes the fun part! Put the students in groups (or sit the whole class together if it’s a small class) and play the game! If they land on a square with a colour, they must take a question with that colour and answer it.  If the coursebook-based questions are too obscure (ie. What colour is the boy’s t-shirt in the photo on p.63) then allow them to use the book for help, but set a time-limit for answering to prevent the game becoming too long and drawn out. Depending on how mean you’re feeling, you can allow conferring with other players (or not) and answering a question incorrectly can mean a student needs to go back a square (or not).

3. Make a ‘Can Do’ poster.

One for the YL teachers here. Most YL coursebooks work on the theory of ‘can do statments’ which students complete at the end of each unit or module – sentences which express what students feel they have learned, for example, ‘I can talk about the clothes I’m wearing’, ‘I can write about my daily routine’. Why not use this approach at the end of the year as well?

Encourage the students to think back about what they’ve learned in their English lessons during the year – the front of their coursebook normally has a plan of the areas covered in each unit. What topics have they talked about? What vocabulary have they learned?

Students can either make a whole class poster about all the things they have learned (with each student or small group drawing/writing a section about a topic), or students can make individual posters about their favourite topic or the best thing they’ve learned.

4. ‘Remember when…’ (pre-int+)

Sometimes you might not have time to (or might not want to) have an entire ‘end of year’ lesson. My colleague Jitka presented this lovely activity which could be used as a stand-alone exercise, or could be adapted and added to to create an entire lesson.

Write the words ‘Remember when…’ on the board, and ask the students for some ideas to complete the sentence. Now encourage the students to think back over the last year of English lessons… can they think of any funny, enjoyable or strange moments? Give each student 2 or 3 slips of paper and ask them to write some of their memories of the course, each beginning with the words ‘Remember when…’. Set a time limit for writing. Once the students have all written their ideas, ask them to stand up and mingle, bringing their slips of paper with them. Ask the students to share their memories with each other – can they find anyone who also remembers that thing? At the end of the activity you can ask the students for feedback – what was the funniest memory someone shared? Was there anything someone shared that they had forgotten?

5. End of Year Awards

A lot of schools have end of year awards ceremonies for their students – handing out certificates for exams and course completion. Why not have something similar in your class, but a little more personal?

There are different ways to do this. You could complete it over more than one lesson – and in the first lesson ask the students what awards they would nominate their classmates for. This enables you to personalise both the categories and the students nominated. Alternatively, you could choose the categories yourself, and simply ask for nominations from the students (ensure everyone wins something though!)

Again, hand out pieces of paper to all members of the class. Ask them what kind of awards people are nominated for (events like the Oscars can be a good example). Give them some examples of awards people in the class could be nominated for, ie. ‘The Most Hard-Working Student’, ‘The Student Who Always Forgets their Homework’, ‘Class Comedian’. Students can vote as a class for the awards that will be given.

Alternatively, tell the students which categories you are asking for nominations for (write them on the board to avoid confusion). Ask the students to write down one person they think should win each award – they should hide their papers from each other to keep it anonymous.

Collect the papers in and count up the votes – you can choose whether to write and present the certificates now (if you decided on the categories in advance) or whether to  hold an awards ceremony in the following lesson.

Some fantastic templates to print your own certificates can be found here – they look great printed on coloured paper!

You could make this a short activity, or turn it into a whole lesson ‘Awards Ceremony’ by nominating a presenter, asking the students to predict who they think will win each award, and asking the winning students to make a (short) speech.

What activities do you do in your end of year lessons? Will you try any of these ideas?

Only a few weeks to go now! Good luck surviving until the end of the year!

Ideas 3 and 4 come from a seminar run by my colleague Jitka Urbanova at IH Prague.

Learning through Play

First, a disclaimer: this post is not designed in any way to be an academic discussion of learning through play, its benefits and drawbacks, or an analysis on its place in the classroom. Rather it is a round up of some ideas and things I’ve done in my own lessons, where my students and I have enjoyed exploring this topic.

One of the huge advantages of teaching at a state elementary school is that I am working with younger children than I have taught in previous jobs. At times this can be downright infuriating, and there are a lot of games/activities that are no longer at my disposal (owing to my students being too low level, or simply too young, to enjoy them). However, a change is always a good excuse to experiment… and I do love a good experiment.

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My first foray into the idea of learning through play was whilst working for IH Moscow. My students had been learning food vocabulary and polite requests, and the coursebook suggested that they practise this through roleplay. All well and good, but wouldn’t it be much more fun to have an ‘actual’ restaurant? So we set up the IH Cafe, seen above. My students made their own menus and then took turns to be customers and waiters/waitresses – the waiters/waitresses had to write down the order on a little notepad, and polite language had to be used throughout. I’ve since repeated this with pre-teen students – the idea of having a ‘real’ restaurant seems to make the linguistic element much more memorable.

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As any teacher knows (except for those working in nice hot, sunny climates) trying to teach children when it’s snowing outside is roughly akin to training cats. This was my compromise: a snowman building competition – and a review of body parts!

 

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Grade 2 this time – playing ‘shops’, again practising language for polite requests and using toy ‘money’.

And finally, Grade 3. We’d been learning vocabulary for ‘places in a town’ and so their ‘Fun Friday’ lesson was to build and label their own town.

Obviously I can see this kind of idea working best with young learners as opposed to adults, but I think there’s a lot of options with it!

  • Teaching body parts (making a ‘person’, snowman or other figure)
  • Teaching animals/animal body parts (a vet roleplay with cuddly animals, or using toy animals to create a zoo for example)
  • Sorting colours
  • Teaching items of clothing
  • Teaching rooms in a house (and making a ‘house’)

Do you like teaching through play? What’s your favourite lesson you’ve taught?

The L1 Elephant.

elephant in classroom
Image: http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Observer_Summer_Illustration-554×336.jpg

 

As English language teachers, L1 looms over our lessons like a constant hovering linguistic question mark. Most teachers I know have struggled with it: do we allow students to speak to each other in L1 in the classroom? Do we allow them to speak to us in L1? Do we speak to them in L1?  At what age/level is it appropriate to expect students to limit use of L1? What happens if we don’t speak L1 ourselves? Does using (or allowing the use of) L1 in the classroom make us a better or a worse teacher? These are my thoughts on what I used to do, what I did next, and what I do now.

The school at which I started my English teaching career had a pretty strict ‘no L1’ policy. I had colleagues who broke that rule, of course (hence my inheriting a YL class who,whilst late elementary, did not understand basic classroom instructions in English) but certainly during observations it was expected that ‘English only’ would be enforced. As a new teacher I simply followed what was expected of me – and so spent a fair few years firmly believing that successfully banning L1 from my classroom was the ultimate goal.

My current employer is far more relaxed about the use of L1, which led me to question what I had previously believed. I have observed quite a few colleagues who use a lot of L1 in the classroom, which led me to do some reading around this area myself. The very first article I found made me realise that whilst it is a ‘widely advocated principle’, the idea that all EFL classrooms should be ‘English-only’ is actually somewhat out-of-date. Tang cites various situations where observed teachers made use of L1 in the classroom, namely:

  • To explain abstract or culturally-specific words
  • To explain the meaning of a word following an English explanation
  • To keep order when the class is noisy
  • To play a ‘supportive and facilitating role’ when English explanations failed to work

Almost a convert? Not quite at this point, but both this article and observing my colleagues did show me that many people can (and do!)  make a case for using L1 in the EFL classroom. My stubborn mind however was only swayed by Schweer’s discussion of his own research findings – primarily because he addresses many of the fears and desires teachers have when it comes to using (or limiting the use of) L1 in the classroom.

Teachers (and students!) may seek to limit the use of L1:

  • In order to give students as many opportunities to hear, use and speak in English as possible
  • To build confidence in their students – through expecting them to communicate in English, they will see that they are capable of communicating in English
  • Through fear of students becoming overly reliant on L1
  • Through fear of students losing confidence in their ability to communicate in English

I have to admit that I was nodding along when reading many of these. He also makes some valuable points in favour of L1:

  • Use of L1 can enable quick and simple comprehension checks
  • Sharing a common language with the students when necessary can build rapport
  • L1 in the classroom can build positive attitudes towards English – L2 is seen as less of a threat as the two languages can coexist

Overall he suggests that careful, judicious use of L1 in the classroom can actually be beneficial.

I’ve come to realise over the past few months that my teaching and my classrooms can exist in both worlds. I still make it clear to my students (from grade 3 upwards) that I expect them to communicate in English during my lessons – both with me and with each other. I still use a ‘competition’ system each class to encourage the students to speak English rather than Czech – and to police themselves and each other. However there are no real ‘prizes’ for the winners or ‘consequences’ for the losers – because demonising L1 and keeping them back after class for speaking it is not going to inspire a love of speaking English. Despite my initial fears that my students simply wouldn’t speak at all, I’ve found them more than willing to enter into the idea of an English-speaking classroom. Seeing my students successfully communicate not only with me, but with each other in English has been some of my favourite moments of my teaching career so far.

I expect my students to communicate in English as much as possible – and they know this. But we also have a ‘loop hole’ – that if they want to ask each other for clarification, a translation of a word or an explanation of a grammar point – L1 is allowed. The simple act of asking to speak L1 makes my students aware of it, and they know that it isn’t to be used as an opportunity to chat off-topic. They are however aware that the option is available to them, and that they shouldn’t feel restricted or unable to communicate something important because of an ‘English only’ rule.

Last week one of my grade 5 students asked another to translate a new vocabulary word. Another student stopped her and said ‘Let’s listen to the English explanation first’. I think that’s progress.

 

 

New things I’ve tried this month (April)

New

I realise with shame that this post is not only late (as it is 5 days into the new month already) but also I have tried significantly fewer ‘new things’ this month than I did previously. In my defense, it’s been a busy month!

Some of my forays into the unknown have included:

Using storytelling in the classroom.

It seems slightly ludicrous that this is a first for me, given that I’m far from new to teaching. In previous years I’ve taught predominantly pre-teens, teens and adults, and although I’ve used extracts from short stories and novels in class, they’ve never really struck me as a prime candidate for ‘stories’. My YL heavy timetable this year though means that I’ve taken my first steps into using actual storybooks as part of a lesson. My littlies really enjoyed The Gruffalo and it was great fun for me to see them so engaged in something, especially understanding and enjoying something not intended for EFL learners.

Overcoming a fear.

Sometimes it seems as if this is something I do almost every week – teaching challenging students, navigating something in a foreign language, taking risks in the classroom without being certain if they will pay off. I do, however, have a somewhat embarrassing fear – my childhood phobia of anything to do with Ancient Egypt (including, but not limited to mummies) has followed me through to adulthood and creates challenges every time I encounter it in a coursebook. I’ve been known to skip that lesson, or conveniently brush over it in order to focus on something else – suffice it to say that those lessons have always been at best uninspired and invariably far from my best. This week, however, my grade 4s faced the seemingly inevitable topic of Ancient Egypt – and this week I decided to grit my teeth and bear it. I found some great interactive whiteboard resources over at the Manchester Children’s University and my students really enjoyed trying to write each other’s names in hieroglyphics. Ancient Egypt will never be my favourite coursebook topic, but at least I proved to myself that I’m more than capable of teaching a topic I dislike, and overcoming my own prejudices for the benefit of my students.

Outside of work…

Not ELT related in the slightest, but it’s significant enough to be worth a mention. As I discussed in a previous post I will be participating in the Prague Color Run at the start of June. In my desire to not die (and to be able to run the whole course) I’ve been training – aiming to run 3-4 times a week. School trip aside, I’m excited that I’ve managed to stick to it so far, and I’m already seeing a definite improvement in my fitness.

What new things have you tried this month?