African Americans Teaching in China

African Americans Teaching in China

As a mother to 3 African American grown children and 3 white children, here’s the information I’d want my kids to have before they decided if they wanted to live in China or in any Asian country.  My Ethiopian son, Allen, and his lovely wife, Laura, did teach English in Japan for 3 years and despite the racism Allen sometimes faced, they had a great time. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone though. I suggest you do your due diligence before you go by reading the following blogs and talking to other African Americans who lived in China or who are living in China. Allen is always happy to chat with anyone on the phone or by email so just let me know if you’d like his info. ~Annette Thompson   Being Black in China Life Behind the Wall Teaching English for Non White Non Native Speakers Racism in Teaching English Originally posted 2014-04-14...
Our Teaching Experience in Japan

Our Teaching Experience in Japan

Introduction Our names are Allen and Laura Thompson. I (Laura) was born in Enid, Oklahoma, and my husband Allen was born in Mito, Ethiopia. Mike and Annette Thompson adopted Allen (Ethiopian name “Hassen”) when he was 14 years old. We are honored that Annette asked us to contribute our experience with you on her new website to help prepare people to be English teachers abroad. We met at Oklahoma Christian University. We graduated, got married, and then prepared for life in Japan, which is where we applied to be assistant English language teachers (ALTs). For those of you who think you cannot teach English in a foreign country, just remember my husband Allen. English is his fourth language, and he taught English in Japan for three years. Our boss was the Mito City government. So, we technically worked for the city. All the other foreign English teachers we knew in Japan worked for a public or private company. We were in a slightly different situation working for the city, but we still had a lot of similar experiences being foreign English teachers living and working in a foreign culture. Our Advice from Our Experience As a foreign English teacher, and usually in the position of assistant English teacher, there are some qualities that are pertinent to excelling at this job and at living your life in the foreign country. 1) You must be patient with yourself and others, 2) you must be flexible with your time and ideas, 3) you must be teachable instead of unreachable, 4) you must be willing to learn the language of that country (doesn’t...
The Top Ten Traits of Terrific Teachers

The Top Ten Traits of Terrific Teachers

Are your teaching capabilities tried, true, and terrific? Here’s a check-list. 1. Terrific teachers adore teaching! The most significant quality in a teacher’s possession is an undying fire and love for teaching their students. Sadly, some educators don’t enjoy their work. This problem alone can ruin a teacher’s ability to teach faster than a student losing their ability to respect said teacher. Apathetic teachers or teachers who downright loathe their job cannot be successful in their position. Many discouraging issues in the education field exist that are tough enough already on terrific teachers, let alone on one who does not have the motivation, desire, or interest for it. Besides, we can’t forget that even children are cleverer than we think they are. They’ll see a faker sooner than most, and it won’t take long before they topple any respectful standing that teacher had. 2. Terrific teachers care about their students! Finding the time to understand one’s students on an individual basis takes considerable loyalty and time. It’s important not to cross any lines while coming to understand each student’s strengths, weaknesses, and needs. Truly terrific teachers know how to stay within appropriate boundaries while helping their students be all that they can be. 3. Terrific teachers connect with their students. The greatest teachers go out of their way to connect with their students. Finding common ground with some students will be tough, but terrific teachers will discover how to make that connection with their students, even if it pains them. For example, you might have a student with an extensive Barbie collection. How do you make a connection there?...
A Story of Friendship and Community in the Classroom

A Story of Friendship and Community in the Classroom

Picture it: the first day of class. This is a class of all sorts, but students shamble through the doors, find their clique, and pack closely together forming their own separate groups. You have the non-conformists with outrageous hair and piercings and tattoos, the serious young professionals, the non-traditional students with children, the athletes, the goths, the girly-girls, and the class clowns. A couple of unfortunate souls select places separated from the others. They don’t form groups; though, it can be difficult to determine why. Great teachers understand that learning doesn’t occur in solitude. Developing a learning group provides a student with study buddies, people to confirm the dates and specifics of assignments, and a sense of well-being and self-esteem. Not long ago, classes were mostly homogenous, full of young white men with shared background experiences. Nowadays, many classes look like a crazy cacophony of people and personalities: sensitive and difficult, interested and laid-back, shy and outgoing, optimistic and cynical. I anticipated there would be difficulty in getting these groups and isolated individuals to intermingle. We were less than a minute in class, but an unseen force of suspicion and distrust was rumbling through it just beyond the realm of hearing. Perhaps it was fear and nerves that allowed me to hear it. They were all muttering amongst themselves, all except the two isolated individuals. These two, a young man with a bald and elaborately tattooed head and another young man sporting an entire cowboy get-up, sat in the back, glaring at each other. The problem: how do you encourage these people to connect outside of their groups? How...
7 Hints for Success in the Foreign English Teacher’s Class

7 Hints for Success in the Foreign English Teacher’s Class

After receiving a bachelor’s degree or TESOL certification, you’re probably thinking about teaching English in another country. Teaching English abroad might just be one of the most rewarding decisions you’ll ever make. Not only do you get the chance to experience a culture different from your own, but it also helps you make an impact in your students’ lives. Gaining mastery of the English language often helps students advance in their careers and gives them an opportunity to study abroad. Regardless of the rewards that come from teaching in a foreign country, you’ll likely run into a number of obstacles along the way. You’ll have to be open-minded, accepting to a unique and sometimes confusing culture, and you may even begin doubting your capability as an English teacher. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed at first, but with adequate preparation, you’ll be successful despite the challenges you face! These helpful hints are intended to be general guidelines, and as such, it’s important to use your best judgment when incorporating them into your classroom. It’s impossible to account for every possible teaching style and method, but hopefully, these hints will prove themselves useful to you. Hint #1: Make Name Tags This may seem like a no-brainer, but believe it or not, it’s one of the things most overlooked by English teachers teaching abroad. Making use of name tags in class will save you a lot of time and confusion. Name tags help you address each student by their proper name. It’s just not possible to remember everyone’s names in the first few days of class, no matter how great your memory...
Keeping Kids Engaged in Your English Class

Keeping Kids Engaged in Your English Class

Class rules I could have just jumped straight to the fun an games but first comes rules. It is important to have class rules, otherwise chaos will keep you from teaching and your students from learning. Some teachers like to get the students themselves to make posters with the rules they think are important and put them up in the classroom. Children appreciate consistency so try not to change your rules part way through a semester or they will be less likely to cooperate. To fix the problem of children playing with toys or cell phones during your class, have them leave their bags and coats at one end of the classroom, just taking out what they need for the lesson. If you find a phone in use, put it in the phone prison! Classroom activities Lessons for children need to be fun and VARIED! A lesson type or game that worked today will not work every day even if it’s great. 1. Use games and cooperative learning. English games are an essential part of an English lesson for children AND adults. Let your students build social skills and get better at teamwork and pair work.Having competitive team games or offering rewards such as candy or class coupons really help kids’ motivation. Some of my favorites using teams are the A to Z Board Race and Pictionary using words that they’re learning.  A less active variation on the A to Z Board Race is to give each pair of students this table in Word format with categories at the top and the alphabet down the left.  When the teacher announces a random letter, the pairs race...