This is the first Fall in 20 years that I won’t be teaching English in a classroom setting. When I told a friend that it seemed strange, she asked “strange in a good way, or bad way?” My answer is most definitely strange in a good way because I have successfully made the transition from teacher to teacherpreneur in the past year.
In case you are wondering what a teacherpreneur is, the definition that I like to use is from Kiana Porter-Isom (2015):
“A classroom teacher or school based leader who is both educator and entrepreneur; an educator who works a flexible and/or freelance schedule; and/or an educator with a “side hustle” that supplements their income”.
In the past year, I began experimenting with different ways to monetize my transferrable/professional skills as a teacher. Besides teaching online courses for a local university and college, I have also
Absolutely nothing but his quote about “never say never” applies to everything in life.
When I left ESL teaching last December after 20 years, I believed that I would never ever return. I felt that I lost my passion, creativity and to be honest, felt unchallenged. It was better to move aside and make room for teachers who felt the way I did years earlier.
At the end of July, I finished teaching two online post-secondary level courses. Then in August, I realized that I was bored. It seemed like a long wait until September before my new courses would start. Even though I had a few things to do (like getting my son ready to go off to university, and preparing for a 2 week assignment in Guyana), I was restless.
A few weeks ago I read a guest blog post by Chris Rush http://elenamutonono.com/2016/07/14/teaching-online/ Chris wrote about the great success he has had by teaching online using a platform called italki. My...
Do you struggle to learn your students’ names? The largest class that I have ever had in Canada was 46 students. I know in many parts of the world, class sizes are much larger than this. In a few weeks, I will be heading off to Guyana to teach report writing and presentation skills. There will be 3 different groups with more than 50 per group! I will definitely need to use some of the techniques below to learn participants' names.
I believe that it is very important to learn students’ names for several reasons. Think about a time when someone acknowledged you by name, or got your name wrong. I have been called Patrick or Patricia many times over the years. I have to say that I do appreciate it when someone gets my name right!
Getting to know the names of our students quickly is important so that we can develop a rapport. Knowing and using students' names helps to establish a more comfortable, less formal atmosphere in...
Today I did something that I have never done before. I was a webinar presenter on http://www.tutela.ca! I presented a one hour webinar called "Planning Your Professional Development". In the last few years, I have signed up and watched many webinars but I have never been in a presenter role. Was I nervous? Yes, but I was more excited than nervous. Why? Two reasons - confidence and courage.
When I decided to leave classroom teaching after 20 years last December, I neededconfidence because I had to believe that I could make a living using my skills outside of teaching ESL. There is a certain comfort that comes from doing a job for many years but the downside for me was that there were few opportunities to challenge myself or have a creative outlet. So trying new things as a teacherpreneur (e.g. learning how to use social media, write and market e-books, and blog on MailChimp to name a few!)...
SuOn College in Toronto, Canada organized a two month training program for English teachers from China. There are 3 groups of teachers (about 130 teachers in total) who are interested in learning about Canadian teaching methodology. I had the pleasure of working with a group of 46 teachers this week.
Most of the 2-day training session that I was responsible for focused on demonstrating the Communicative Approach. Teachers had an opportunity to try out several warm-up activities, Information Gaps, a Jigsaw Learning activity and reporting back using a gallery approach (for more on reporting back after brainstorming, read this past blog post https://patrice-palmer.mykajabi.com/blog/six-ways-to-report-back-after-brainstorming). One of our activities looked at how to use photos creatively with our students. I had blogged about this several months ago, and thanks to my teaching colleagues from China, I have more ideas to expand the...
Do you use warm-up activities before you start teaching? Warm-up activities are more than just “fun and games”! My most popular download is my free Top 20 Warm-up Activities so many teachers are interested in using warmers as part of their lesson.
Here are some comments from teachers who have downloaded this FREE resource:
"Thank you so much !! They are great to use in my class and very creative! :)" Gabriela
"Thank you for sharing. It means a lot when an ESL/EFL teacher is willing to share ideas. These especially help new teachers and those who have exhausted ideas or keep repeating the same activities over and over again." Rashida
"Thank you for sharing this material. Amazing. I really appreciate it." Andriati
"This is EXACTLY what I need! Thank you so much Patrice! I am so impressed with this resource!!!" Adrienne
What is a...
For the past few months, I have been interviewing English language teachers with a passion for projects outside of classroom teaching. Interviews with these successful teacherpreneurs have been included in my blog - Weekly Wisdom from 20 Years in the TESL Trenches https://patrice-palmer.mykajabi.com/blog.
This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alberto González. I am always inspired by teachers who spent countless hours working on time-consuming projects outside of their teaching hours.
Patrice: Can you start off by telling us where you teach?
Alberto: Sure, I have taught in an international language institute in Wisconsin and Florida, USA. Also, I have tutored in colleges and have provided freelance services to college and high school students.
P: Tell us about your teaching experience.
A: I started working in the educational field as a faculty assistant in college after finishing my studies. I spent many years living in...
I just completed teaching an online university course offered in the Spring semester. One of the assessments included grading student participation in terms of their online postings each week. A rubric was provided for this assessment so instead of just using it myself, I thought it would be useful for students to use this rubric as a self-assessment tool. For the most part, students graded themselves lower than I did. Just a few students had what I thought were unrealistic and over-exaggerated beliefs of their participation (the online platform logs the number of visits by each student) so it is hard to argue with those numbers! Many students actually thanked me for the opportunity to self-assess!
Getting back to rubrics…Rubrics may not be the most exciting topic in English teaching but I suspect that most teachers use them. In Canada, rubrics are used as early as primary school. Did you know that the word rubric comes from the...
I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the ACPI-TESOL National Conference in Costa Rica last week. Although it was a relatively small conference (under 80 participants), the organizers were able to attract presenters from the U.S., Panama, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and UAE (and me from Canada). A special thank you to Ana Madrigal Rímola.
I believe that teachers can always learn something new no matter how many years we have been teaching. This conference was no exception in that there were many new insights from the presentations about teaching English. However before I provide some of the conference highlights, I wanted to talk about my experience trying to navigate in a Spanish-speaking country as a non-speaker of Spanish. (I did take some lessons a few years ago but I didn't have enough language skills to function!) I forgot how it feels to be unable to communicate – even a simple request! The last time I...
Last week, I wrote about trying new things and pushing ourselves professionally. I think that Gwen Zeldenrust and Lynn Schneider are great examples of this. As "teachers to teacherpreneurs", they demonstrate what happens when you combine an understanding of language learning, student needs, creativity and hard work. Have you ever thought about making a film as an English language resource? Find out how they did this and more about Impressions: Making Positive Impressions in Conversation Video Program in my interview with Gwen and Lynn below. I hope you feel inspired to try something new!
July 1 - Canada Day Special! 20% Off!
Impressions: Making Positive Impressions in Conversation Video Program is on sale if purchased on Canada Day! It is available at https://patrice-palmer.mykajabi.com/store/GkrvN3x
The program contains a professionally produced video, Teacher's Guide, Student...