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Life Coaching, Observations, Reflections, Things that make you go hmmmmm

Category Archives: TEFL

I Love This Card!

I Love This Card!

I’ve played my “English Teacher” card a few times and I like it!

I too, officially, can be a grammar snob and a giant keeper of the word PITA, pain in the ass. I was that way prior to getting the English Teacher Designation and higher education made it official.

If I say it, I’m correct, you’re just not, so stop it! Great fun!

Shortly after I passed the assessment that gave me the, “I’m a teacher” designation a good friend who is not a native speaker of English showed me the assignment their child was given. I told my friend I really liked the kid’s thought process on one of the questions and I knew where the smartass on that answer originated.

Nice parenting indeed! That was an honest statement and not a facetious one. A little clowning with humour aint a bad thing at all. I enjoy it, in small doses.

What really got my attention was the error in one of the questions. The assignment is a “Cloze”, fill in the blanks.

Lene English Paper Response

That 4.2 was shown to a couple friends who went, “What, that isn’t right” but didn’t peg the error in the moment. English is a strange thing.

Question 4.2 was shown to the parent who did return me a correct response and I trust will for ever more realize their ESL is just fine.

Playing the “English Teacher” card on that little exchange was satisfying!

I have been asked to chime in from my exalted position on several occasions as well. One of them was just identifying the word being sought and the word needed, “Voracious” was already in my vocabulary before my anointment

What isn’t satisfying is when the card plays me. I’m not sure I care for this behaviour even though it’s my own damn fault for getting the edumucation. Not a typo.

I haven’t had the same “Sarcaustic” feel to some of my opinionated pieces. I and “Good Friend” were disappointed to find that my new word was already on “Urban Dictionary” when I unleashed it. Damn! GSTA I suppose. Great Smartasses Think Alike.

All said and done, this old cunning linguist is more so and loves it!

G.R. Hambley ©
January 22, 2018

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My Exit Slip

My Exit Slip

The powers that be informed me when I asked them why I hadn’t received certain things after being shown as course complete. I was told I had to complete those “Specialty Electives” before receiving their official blessing and benefits.

Ring kissing was not involved, and the electives are done.

I had looked to change “Teaching English to Korean Speakers” but it was a no. So, in I went in and did that elective over 4 days. I had waited the previous 4 days without a response to a few questions and had to resend the email.

I made my choices and that is it. Fair enough, and it didn’t hurt to ask.

South Korea has the Winter Olympics in 2018 and my plan was to do the Korean elective after the Olympics were over.

When I elected to take my TEFL through University of Toronto and OISE, well that was part of the appeal, University of Toronto and OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education). I told the powers of higher education that when I ran in to some serious technical issues that those issues didn’t have to happen. I’m midway through the course and they rolled out a new and improved web site design. I went so far as to suggest they get the old site back online.

I hit glitches in both Specialty Electives, and both of those were presented in the old format.

If you look at my results on the “Teaching Test Preparation Courses”, final assessment you will see I passed by making 70% with zero attempts.

We’ll just call this an exemption on the final assessment for my demonstrated knowledge. No, I don’t like that “70” number and I’m reasonably certain I could get the “100” but I aint going backwards for the sake of that number!

I’m somewhat disappointed because Teaching those who are preparing for an ELPT (English Language Proficiency Test) or ESP (English for Special Purposes) is my preference for my Teaching English. I can do them all and as I just noted, teaching the ELP and ESP is what I like best.

Yes I am receiving some of what goes with a certain completion level. China among other places is looking very interesting,

As I’m writing this I received email notice on how to get my Certificate. Name as it appears on your Passport is recommended. I asked for my Certificate to show in the same way my name appears on my Passport.

I would have entertained using “Gary R. Hambley” as it appears on the business cards I had made up.

I haven’t had the entire benefit of course completion long but these folks are showing me some real good stuff! Yeah watch me tell you what I’m pursuing on the teaching abroad front.

There were technical issues that never should of happened and I addressed that with U of T.

Simple stuff, your new and improved aint working, get the old and functional back online!

You want to change the rules of the game, that’s fine too. But when you do that you create 2 paths and those already on the path stay there and those coming in new, they go on the new path.

There was flat out hypocrisy that I never addressed with the School and will address that here. I also hit a few things that flew directly against what I know to be true as a Life Coach.

This is applicable to all courses of study and not just “English as a Foreign Language”. You are taught about fair and valid assessments. You’re taught that you don’t spring surprises on the students in your assessments.

After the rollout of the new and infirm web platform that replaced the old and functional with poor typography platform assessment changed. The passing grade on Quizzes in the lesson sections went from 70% to 80% while the passing grade for the entire lesson assessment remained at 70%.

I don’t disagree with the number and in fact agree with the number the school set to pass the quiz. It was the hypocritical manner in that the change was made that perturbed me.

They changed the rules of the game after the game had started and that is one giant no no!

In the “Teaching Test Preparation Courses” elective “Exam Anxiety” was brought up. This is the statement that is made, “Help students to change or suppress negative thoughts or worries”.

No, no, no, not ever do you teach suppression!

If you have “Exam Anxiety” and I have it a bit more than the average person, you contact me and I’ll work with you to get you more comfortable and at ease. We Coaches and others call that endeavour, “Coping Skills”. Taking the exam is still gonna suck but you’ll be much better prepared to cope with those feelings and at no time will you ever hear me say, “Suck it up buttercup”.

Previous to that tidbit of information it was noted that if you’re finding yourself possibly over critical, put a Coach in the classroom with you to monitor your performance. I gave that piece of information when I hit it an audible, “no shit”. I had good reason when I hit what I hit to say what I did and more reasons later.

One of the things that Higher Education appears to need to learn is that their students are clients. I made that point clear on a couple of occasions because it was necessary to enlighten the bringers of Higher Education that while I am a student, I’m a client as well.

Education is different now. I’ve been computer literate for over 25 years. The changes in education brought on by the functionality of the computer in the last 25 years is wonderful. The delivery method of this education suits me to a tee. It didn’t take me long to tune out the audio and stick with the visuals of reading and then exploring the material outside the course work.

There were exceptions to me eschewing the audio and the “Teaching English to Korean Speakers”, I listened to everything! I will learn to make those sounds.

I learned a lot. I adapted myself. My thinking is different and the way I speak and express is a little less bombastic. I have my moments, as we all do.

Through this course of learning for me I created a teaching philosophy and figured out what my preference to teach is and why I have that preference.

So as the University taught, “Exit Slips” from your students regarding how they saw the lesson and even critiquing the teacher at term and year end are excellent sources of information.

Careful what you wish for because you just might get it and did you like, “My Exit Slip”.

Now if you’ll excuse me, the powers that be have placed the world at my fingertips and shown me how to go about garnering a teaching position.

G.R. Hambley ©
December 20, 2017

Writings from on the path.

Orbital Thoughts
Forever More, I Am A Teacher of English
It’s The Final Countdown
Oh My Head Again, or Watch Your English
Adapting Me
There Goes Perfection, For Now
Teaching Philosophy, Mine
English 101, 100
The Final Act

Orbital Thoughts

Orbital Thoughts

It’s all said and done and now I’m orbiting looking at jobs teaching English.

The course was terrific except for the technical glitches on the school’s side. On the I.T. side, the issues were addressed with the University and the ship moved on. Well the glitches affecting me are over with, I hope.

I opened up a “Speciality Elective” for a look see, “Teaching Test Preparation Courses”. Hit a glitch. Hit a critical thought judgement too. I’ve only looked at the first section, but I think this would have been a good way to start out any instruction of teaching English.

What’s next is a controlled search and searching out a couple contacts. With one of my contacts a short discussion has been had. The wheels are in motion to an introduction.

In the looking around I’ve discovered something we have that the rest of the world has too, weekends.

The point being is that there is a job to be done and there will be time for the culture and the sites. The immediate co-worker culture will be taken up immediately. Those co-workers are going to have information I’ll need if I want to be successful.

I put a few irons in the tutoring fire in my community as well. My community friendlies are a good bunch of people and I’ll miss them when I go. The plan is to come back, but who knows.

It is as important and maybe even more so, that you know where you don’t want to go.

If the cultural norms of a country disturb you to the point where you cannot respect them, don’t go there. Simple stuff. If you opt to go to a place where you think you really don’t belong and find yourself in difficulty because your Alligator Mouth overloaded your Hummingbird Ass, you own it, on your own.

For me, warm matters but it isn’t everything. I’m spiritual and learning of “Eastern Spirituality” up close and personal appeals to me. I’d like to see “Red Square” and “The Winter Palace” too. I love the architectural no matter where I find it.

I don’t think I’d mind Tibet, but in the moment, I just don’t have enough information and that’ll change. I would kind of like to see the place where I’m going to be working in my second next life.

They tell me culture shock is inevitable. They tell me how to cope with Culture Shock.

Decorum is universal and an important part of one’s make-up. I have that, and I practice it every day. They also made it clear what not to put up with. I don’t see me having a problem with standing up for myself and getting help should I need it.

What is my teaching preference? I want to teach the ELPT’s. I wanna teach the game. I got the game for the task.

This is “Language Arts”. Art is messy.

Don’t worry about it, you’ll clean up, read on.

I see teaching ELP’s in the same way I saw teaching the trade at the Trade School Level.

I’ve spoken of this before about the different dynamic for apprentices at College. We were there as part of our job. We left our jobs to go to school and then went back to our jobs where our marks were reported to our employer.

For lack of a better term, “The regular students”, the ones who had come from high school straight in to College preparing for a career. They don’t know anything but being students and their mindset was different.

The regulars were preparing for something at school and the apprentices were working at school.

People looking to take the proficiency tests for entrance to university in a foreign country, they’re in the game with a purpose. People looking to take an ESP, English for Specific purposes, they’re in the game too. They’re motivated to achieve with a goal in mind. Isn’t that the idea of a game, to score goals of some kind?

I’ll be comfortable as I can be teaching any level. Teaching the game is my preference.

I’m friends with a man of the Christian cloth. We have had some interesting conversations and we’ll have more. In the conversation we had last we talked about blended language.

I’ve spoken on blended language in my, “Carlin Influence” piece.

Both my friend and me, we have good vocabularies. We use them speaking to each other. We talked about how we both blend the academic and the interpersonal when we talk. We agreed, we wished there were more people who did the blending we do in interpersonal communication.

We both have a good sense of humour and we’re both pragmatic. Pretty much the only place where we differ is on what is the path to ascension. I respect his path and he respects mine.

He doesn’t even mind waiting when I have to take a phone call from on high.

It turns out I was mistaken about being done. Especially when they told me I was 100% complete!

I was functioning on the presumption that with there being 3 different course offerings to this TEFL course, the completion levels were graduated. I’m told that’s not the case and the Electives, which show up as different courses have to be completed before I’m seen as being complete and therefore worthy to receive the benefits that go with completion.

I now have a Quandary of my own that I’m waiting on answer to from the powers that be of Higher Education. Been almost 48 hours since I sent an email inquiring.

What the hell, it’s weekend, somewhere but apparently not in my orbit.

G.R. Hambley ©
December 09, 2017

It’s The Final Countdown

It’s The Final Countdown

Here I am staring at the final assessment. There is a bit more to go but this is the gold ticket to the Wonka Factory. Wilder or Depp, take your pick.

A long time ago in a lifetime far away, I had it all figured out. Ultimately, I wanted to teach. A split second on a highway and life going on, the plan changed. The wanting to teach was dormant for a time but it never went away.

I’m already a Teacher. Those who have talked to me already know it. Very soon, the world is going to know I’m a teacher.

I’ve done a lot of work in the last 3 months. There have been a couple serious impediments that required serious attention. That attention was given by both sides. I’ll write more when it’s all said and done with the elective courses.

I’ve even designed a new card for myself. The card has my phone number and email on it so I’m not posting it.

The exam has a 2 hour time limit. I’m tempted to pop it right now and get it done. And I remind myself that is not the way to take on a final.

Me and “The University of Toronto Faculty of Education”. Well aren’t we the pair. Who saw that happening?

No man is an island. This is for you “Good Friend”. Me and Mr. Donne are smilin’ atcha.

‘No man is an iland,
intire of it selfe;
every man is a peece of the Continent,
a part of the maine;
if a clod bee washed away by the Sea,
Europe is the lesse,
as well as if a Promontorie were,
as well as if a Mannor of thy friends
or of thine owne were;
any mans death diminishes me,
because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee

How many of y’all knew that bell is attached to that island?

Other friends have contributed their verse to this journey of mine and I thank them.

Part of my telling of this journey is in the hope of being inspirational. More so for the older than the younger.

I’m 60 on my next birthday and parts of the world can be seen with English.

My last statement was not an, “If I can do it you can do it” statement because I don’t do that shit.

Life doesn’t end until it ends. If you are happy armchair quarterbacking, then you keep on quarterbacking from your armchair.

One of the conclusions I came to is this and it has correlation with Life Coaching, you need life on you. You shouldn’t be allowed in a classroom to teach until you’re 45. In this province it is 16 to drive and 19 is the legal drinking age. No reason you can’t set an age restriction for teaching.

I have studying to do and I am living proof you can teach an old dog new tricks, if that old dog is willing to learn.

G.R. Hambley ©
November 18, 2017

Adapting Me

Adapting Me

I’ve had to make adaptation to myself and what I know to be correct. I’ve had to remind myself more than once that this is also, “Language Arts”.

Another TEFL module complete with a return on assessment of 100%. This adventure’s name is “Adapting Subject Specific Material”. To achieve this, I had to give them what they wanted even though I disagree with their logic. “If it walks like a duck, if it smells like a duck, if it talks like a duck, it’s a duck”. There is of course the remote possibility I’m incorrect. I’m never wrong.

I said to a friend that I must rewire parts of my brain and when I explained my statement he agreed. A week or so after that encounter I changed my mind on having to rewire my mind. Analogy, “The junction boxes are already there in place and I have to build additional pathways that tie in to the existing circuitry”. I did tell my friend about the change of mind and why.

Thinking more simply is difficult. One of those new pathways I must build will allow me to think more simply and tie in with my critical thinking.

In the course of the course, I find myself having to go sideways and read more than is provided, so out I go researching the topic. I’ve read theory and practice and I find myself making judgements and decisions on those theories and practices. This is known as critical thinking. Were I not making decisions and judgements it would be abstract thought and not critical thinking.

In my journeying I stumbled in to the square root of all evil, “Common Core”. Lemme tell you, the square root of two isn’t the only thing irrational! Oddly or not, the PPP* was from Stanford University, “The Common Core For English Language Learners”. See slide 30, I had an elfin bovine with the conceptual ahead of the procedural in math! I said “ELFIN”, read it again.

The theories and concepts of Common Core in Language Arts from what I’ve seen and it isn’t a lot, is good. Art has far more room for the conceptual than Math and Science do. That art has far more room for conceptual approach than Math or Science do is a surprise to anyone how?

On another lateral move I wound up with “The Ontario Curriculum Grades 9 and 10 English”. This would have been a handy thing to have from the outset. In my opinion this document should have been provided as reference material for the glossary alone. Yes I told the educators about it, nicely.

From the Ontario document, “Teachers develop appropriate instructional strategies to help students achieve the curriculum expectations”. I’m finding the word “Expectations” in this Ministry document quite a bit. When I read, it certainly seems the philosophy is “No Child Left Behind” from the Common Core/Common Good theory.

The problem with “Expectations” is just that, they are “Expectations” and not “Demands”! Faulty and misleading language because these expectations they talk about should be, yes should be, DEMANDS. This “Demand” states what you must achieve to move on to the next level.

I’m just not seeing a problem with letting kids and these are kids in school, that we “Expect” the “Demands” to be met and if those demands are not met, there will be consequence. Maybe it’s just me again, but I believe learning the difference between “Expectation” and “Demand” is a pretty important life lesson.

I haven’t gone over the MoE Curriculum with a fine-tooth comb by any stretch of the imagination. I saw the grading scheme and it had 4 categories and they are, 50 to 59%, 60 to 69%, 70 to 79% and 80 to 100%. I didn’t see a designation for 0 to 49% so I’m guessing this is the, “Minimally Exceptional” George Carlin, who is an influence on me, was talking about in his take on language.

If you’re finding this writing clinical and analytical with a touch of snide that would be because it is. I have a structure that works for me and I like it because it is ordered. Even my “Snide” has order and purpose and is 100% ambiguity free.

Here’s a rather bold conclusion I’ve come to for you to chew on, you shouldn’t even be allowed to Teach until you’re 45. We need to revise the expression,” Those that can, do, and those that can’t, teach”. Change it in to this, “Those who can do, teach, those who can’t do are kept the hell out of the classroom”.

Me and “Good Friend” had some chatter going and at the time of writing I haven’t heard back from “Good Friend” on how it was received when I noted what appeared to be a “Comma Splice”. I’m hoping “Good Friend” sees how I’m changing and adapting and knowing “Good Friend”, yes and not so much.

I’ve moved in to the next module of this TEFL Course and I have encountered and satisfied the demands of, “Establishing Behaviour Norms”. Something makes me think most people wouldn’t want me doing that. C’est la vie**.

G.R. Hambley ©
October 14, 2017

 

*PPP – Power Point Presentation
** c’est la vie. french expression that is rather famous in english and other languages. it means “it is the life.” can also be trasnlated into english as: – “that’s life”

Change
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HG Wells
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