Wednesday, December 11, 2013 might be worth a try?

In most of my classes, I'm pretty "enthusiastic."  When you're talking to students who don't really understand English that well necessarily, things like gestures and voice inflection are really important, so I try to do a fabulous job of that.  And, I also try to make funny, simple jokes.  And, it's a good thing I do, according to this article!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Four Corners 2 Speaking Test

The semester is coming to a close, which means it's speaking test time!  Here are my test questions, loosely based on 4 Corners 2, units 5-9 which I gave to the students beforehand.  There are 9 questions, and I interview 3 students at the same time, so 3 questions/student (randomly chosen). It takes around 13 minutes for the group of 3.

Note that these are just general categories--I will never give students questions more specific than this since it leads to just straight memorization and isn't really an accurate reflection of actual conversation ability.

I grade the students based on 4 categories, all equally weighted: understand the questions/grammar +vocab/fluency/interesting + detailed answers.

1. Healthy/ Unhealthy habits.  How often/ how much/how many

2. TV.  Pg. 56/ 59

3. Shopping.  Where do you buy clothes?  Why/ how often, etc.

4. A market in your neighborhood (look at pages 72/73).  

5. Places to visit.  Should/ Can.  Page 77-5 (speaking)

6. Where can I…..? (page 142).

7. Jobs: best/ worst in your opinion (from page 86).

8.Page 86-2.  Who would you like to meet?  What are 3 or 4 interesting questions you would ask them.

9.Who is a person that you admire (past or present).  Where/when/what, etc….? What were/are they like?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why I'm doing the Delta

Check out  my guest post on Profs Abroad.  And check out all the other stuff on that site too, it's one of the good ones.

And don't forget to get my go-to resource for the Delta: An A-Z of ELT

Friday, November 29, 2013

Speaking Activities and Games for ESL Students

Check out one of my other sites for some  ESL speaking activities that you can incorporate into your classes easily.

And also check out one of my favorite books for Speaking Activities: Speaking Activities that Don't Suck.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Delta Module 3

The 5000 word paper has been sent off through cyberspace to its final resting place.  Thankfully.  I'll hold off on the advice giving until I see my score.  But, let's just hope it's the all-important "pass" or better! I'm quite confident based on the feedback that I was given from my tutor, so I'm relaxing now!

And...which book did I find extremely helpful for doing the Delta?  An A-Z of ELT.


The test-teach-test (TTT) methodology is not my usual style of teaching, and most days, I lean more towards PPP (presentation/practice/production) or task based teaching.

However, for simple grammar concepts or vocab that students have probably studied before, TTT could work very well, so I decided to give it a try with "Be" in the past and other regular/irregular past tense verbs, since my students should already have a decent grasp of the basics.  The unit in my book that I was covering was 4 Corners 2, Unit 9.  And here is the "test" that I prepared, with some vocab/names of people thrown in from the previous unit:  The Past Tense Test.  In addition, I pointed out the pages in the book that they could refer to if necessary.  I gave the students about 10 minutes to work on it and then we checked answers together (teach phase).  I went quickly over the easy ones, and pointed out some of the tricky stuff (ie: negatives/questions actually use the present tense verb).  

Then, for the final "test" phase, I made a Past Tense Board Game, which the students played in small groups (again recycling vocab from Unit 8 in the book).  And, of course, I walked around the class checking for accuracy.

Overall: it went well!  ALL the students, even the ones who don't actively participate in class seemed to enjoy the board game and they put in a good effort on the test and were referring to the relevant pages in their books, etc. Success!  I'll definitely be doing it again for easy things that the students probably already know, but just need a bit of review on.

Check out Jeremy Harmer's "The Practice of English Language Teaching" for more details on methodologies.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Life in Cities Intro Activity

This is the perfect way to introduce the "Life in Cities" unit that you find in most conversation or 4 skills textbooks (Four Corners Level 2, Unit 8 for me).  I hand out the questions (see link below) and put the students in groups or 2 or 3.  I give them about a minute to read the questions before watching the video.  Then, they watch the video and take some notes.  The video has a wee bit of the cheeze factor going for it, but it's graded appropriately for Korean University students.  At the end, I give them 3-4 minutes to compile their answers in their group and make one "good" paper to hand to another team to check.  The teams with the highest number of correct questions get a stamp in my class (my reward system, which equals grades), or you could give a prize of some sort.  It takes around 20-25 minutes total for a big class (30 students).

Life in London Questions

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Introducing can/should

There's always that unit in the book with "Can/ Can't" for possibility/impossibility and "should/shouldn't" for advice.  Here is my fabulously fun way to introduce it, such that even the lowest of the low classes, quietest of the quietest classes will participate.

Tell them you want to go on vacation somewhere in Korea and need their advice.

"Where should I go?"

Collect some answers.  I usually choose Jeju Island, for reasons you'll see later.

"Should I go in summer?"  Yes, no, etc.

"So what can I do there?"  Blah, blah.

"How can I get there?"  Airplane?  "Can I swim?"  Hahaha!  Crazy teacher.  No, you can't.

Elicit some answers and have a bit of fun with it.  Write up on the board/PPT:

Where should I go?/ Should I.....?
What can I do there?  Can I....?

and you're good to go!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Personality Game Powerpoint

personality game esl
Personality Game 
Most books have a unit of some sort on "personality."  Here is a game that I made which is the perfect way to finish your class.

1. Put the teams in groups of 4-7 and have them choose a "captain"

2. The captain sits at the front with a pen and a paper and their teammates also have a pen and paper.

3.  Put up the questions 1 by 1 and have the captain write down their answer and their team has to guess what the captain's answer is.

4. My 2 rules are that the captain must have eyes forward and hands together (ie: no signalling the answer to their team) and the teams must talk quietly.

5. Check answers at the end, and if matching, the team gets a point.  The winner gets a prize at the end!

The game takes around 20 minutes, but you could do more or less questions obviously to suit your time constraints.

Personality Game PPT

And for a little more information on personality types, which could be adapted to higher levels, check out this book:

Free: 40 Tried and Tested ESL Games and Activities

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Come see my presentation on Teaching Public Speaking and Presentation Skills!

I'm considering changing the name of this blog from, "My Life: Teaching in a Korean University" to "The rarely updated, yet still fabulous blog about teaching in a Korean University."  Thoughts?

Anyway, the real news is that I'll be giving a presentation at the Kotesol Fall Mini-Conference in Busan next weekend (Saturday, Sept. 14th) at the Pusan University of Foreign Studies (PUFS).  The conference runs from 2-5:15ish, but you can see my presentation at 4:00.  I'll be talking about how to teach presentation and public speaking skills.  It's "101" style so perfect for those who've never taught it before.  It's free and everyone is welcome, even non-Kotesol members.  Hope to see you there.  And of course: all the information found here.   

Check out my #1 book for teaching presentations and public speaking: Speaking of Speech.

Friday, August 2, 2013


Some good news to report: a pass with distinction on the Delta Module 1 course (the highest possible!)  All that studying was definitely worth it, and not only for the grade.  It actually did get me up to speed with my grammar and Language acquisition theory, especially the grammar.  Now, onwards and upwards with Module 3 in the fall, and hopefully I can find somewhere in this wide world that will offer a module 2 in January or February when I have my vacation (anyone in the know?)

Anyway, my tips for those doing the Delta Module 1 test:

1. Go with The Distance Delta for an online option.  From my informal inquiries, it seems like a cheaper and far better choice than Bell.  And, I definitely did feel very prepared for the test.

2.  Use quizlet to study definitions.  Just search "Delta terminology" for pre-made sets.  I did this on the subway or bus when I was going to work.

3. Practice tests are extremely important.  I can't emphasize this enough.

4. While knowing your stuff (grammar/terminology/theory) is important, I would say it's almost more important to know HOW to take the test.  For each question, I paid very careful attention to any tips given to me during the preparation, and also comments by the examiners on the previous tests.

5. I had a "bank" of sample answers from which to draw from.  For many sections of the test, there are about 10-20 possible answers (look at answers from previous tests), from which you had to choose 3-6 that were most applicable.  If you have a bank from which to draw from, it's much easier and faster than trying to come up with these answers on the spot.

6.  Practice working quickly during your mock exams/assignments.  Time could definitely be an issue, but I had enough time to actually put in "extra" answers.  For example: some questions only required 6 points, but I had time to write 7 or 8, just in case one of them was wrong.  You aren't penalized for "wrong" answers, you only get credit for "right" ones. 

7. Keep up to date on the assignments and readings.  It really is one of those things that you need to study pretty consistently for 3-4 months in order to pass.  If you wait until the last  couple weeks before the test to cram it in, it will be almost impossible because there's so much potential material and test taking strategies to cover. '

8. And, as you're reading, compile a "master" study sheet.  I actually only read all the readings twice and normally just went from the study paper I made myself.  Much more concise, without all the fluff.  And speaking of "fluff," I did exactly NONE of the "extra" readings and still got the highest mark :) 

9.  Don't forget to buy yourself An A-Z of ELT .  It's the ultimate reference book for doing the Delta!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Test is done!

Delta Module 1 test is done, thankfully.  It was quite stressful preparing for it and also very expensive, so I didn't want to fail.  And although I won't find out the results until August, I'm quite sure that I passed.  Everything seemed straightforward and I didn't run out of time, etc.  I'm hoping to get accepted into module 3 for September.

And my semester at work has just wrapped up as well.  I've spent the last 2 days grading exams, filling out paperwork and making myself cross-eyed from too much spreadsheet "fun."

Now, a few days of relaxing before my summer classes that I've picked up start.  And perhaps a wee bit of blogging, at least semi-regularly.  Stay tuned!

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Food Unit for Korean Students

It seems like almost every textbook has a unit on food, and it's usually very Western-centric, with things like "appetizers, main dishes, side dishes and desserts."  In Korea, and in many other cultures around the world, there simply isn't this distinction.  Just for an example, how do you fit a BBQ Korean meal into this mold?  It's pretty hard, veering on impossible.

As a way to make this unit applicable, and add a little fun (what Korean doesn't like talking about food?!), I introduce the broad categories and then give my students this challenge:

You need to explain: Samgyeupsal (BBQ pork belly) + rice + banchan (side-dishes), and how to eat it to my parents who've never eaten Korean food.  They also don't speak a word of Korean, so you can't use things like "Ma-nul," or "Sang-Chu."  Can you fit anything into the categories of main dish, side-dish, etc?

I give the students about 6 or 7 minutes to work in partners to organize their thoughts, write down some notes and look up words on their cell-phones.  Then, I put them in groups of 4 and they have to explain it to the other team, who pretends to be my parents and are supposed to act confused if they hear a word in Korean.   Then, I ask for 2 or 3 groups to share their ideas with the class, and I play it up, acting confused if they don't explain something well.  "What's that...?"  "I don't understand..." "What are you talking about?"

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hell's Kitchen listening lesson plan

A little lesson plan that I've just made up about one of my favorite TV shows: Hell's Kitchen.  I'm using it for an introduction to my lesson on TV.  I plan on putting the students in groups of 4 and letting them answer the questions.  The team with the highest score will get a prize.

Hell's Kitchen Lesson Plan

10 Signs of a Sketchy Hagwon

Some spot-on advice for those coming to Korea for the first time and looking for a hagwon (private institute job).  From Wiggle English.

10 Signs of a Sketchy Hagwon

Monday, April 8, 2013

Reader Question...what about North Korea

This question from Brittany:

"I have been offered a Assistant Professor position at a University in South Korea.  I am very excited and happy to accept the offer.  I have so many questions though and I am trying to get as much feedback as I can.  Currently the political situation between the US. S. Korea and N. Korea seems to be tense.  I am wondering if you have any advice on the matter?"

My, yeah, I basically just agree with what he said.

Or, to sum it up: I'm pretty chilled out and not so worried about it.  Over the 8 years I've been here, plenty of stuff has flared up (like every 6 months?) between the North and South and it ALWAYS just blows over, no matter how serious and scary it seems at the time.   Here is basically how I see it:

Does South Korea want a war?  No, because they'd win in like 1 day, and then have to babysit the underfed, over-indoctrinated North Koreans for the next 50 years or so until they could catch up.  Like could a North Korean army general could a job in the South Korea army?  Could a bank worker get a job at a Korean bank?  Do they even have banks in North Korea?  Could a starving peasant turned concentration camp inhabitant get a job at Samsung, or Kia, of Hyundai? 

Does the USA want a war?  Certainly not.  They are just finishing up their two longest wars in history and are reeling economically.  It doesn't make sense for them to even bother with an out of the way backwater like North Korea. 

Do China or Russia want war?  Of course they don't.  I'm quite sure they don't want to deal with the millions of underfed and uneducated refugees who would make a run for their borders to flee the chaos of a war zone. 

So, my short answer: just come to Korea and don't worry about it. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An Activity for Travel/Weather/Seasons

I'm still studying away for the Delta.  The test is on June 5th, so I feel like the day of reckoning is coming or something like that.  Anyway, hoping for the best.  This is just a quick study break to write a blog post.

Almost every ESL textbook has a unit on Travel or Weather or Seasons.  Here is an excellent "task-based" kind of activity that you can do with your students, which will fit into any of these units really well:

Put the students into groups of 4-6 (I do it randomly).   The students are a tour company and the customers are my parents who are coming from Canada to Busan for a visit.  I will show them a picture of my parents and explain about the kinds of things they like and don't like (example: they like walking around, and sightseeing as well as watching sports, but they hate seafood).   Then, the students have to plan a 1-3 day tour (depending on the time for the activity/level of students) of Busan (or your city) for my parents. 

I usually give them around 20-30 minutes for the task, and at the end they have to share their ideas with me and the class.  I make a rule that 2-3 people should do the speaking, to give more students a chance to talk.  I pick the top groups, based upon the following:

1. I think my parents would love the tour
2. They just speak, and don't read from a paper
3. Their presentation was convincing. 

 And of course, they get a little prize (one stamp as part of my reward system).

This could also be adapted into a more comprehensive task, such as making a brochure or promo video or something like that.

Free: 40 Tried and Tested ESL Games and Activities

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Some Reader Questions...Copy-editing, uni jobs

"I have a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in journalism. Does that give me a leg up on the competition? For jobs that start in September, would you say that universities start posting job ads in April or so?

Also, do you also know of the availability of non-teaching jobs, like copy-editing, in Korea?"
My answers:
Yes, a masters in journalism will certainly help you get a uni job.  It ranks somewhere up there with a degree in English, but probably lower than a degree in Tesl or Education.  
Jobs for September will start coming out in April, but the late ones won't be out until July or August so don't give up if you don't get interviews right away.  Unis often do 2-3 rounds of interviews/hires anyway after their top choices decide on another offer.

Copy-editing?  Yes, it's possible but not exactly easy to find.  In my almost decade here, I've met precisely 2 people who worked as editors!  And literally thousands who worked at teachers.   So, you can calculate the odds there :)  

For all the tips and tricks and answers to your questions about university jobs in South Korea, check out this book:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Sorry for the lack of updates. Things are busy these days with the new semester underway.  I have a refreshing change from the engineering students of last semester and now teach students with majors like International Trade, Tourism or Business Administration.  Let's just say that their general English skills are far, far superior to my students from last semester. 

And, I've started studying online for the Delta, module 1.  It's the step beyond the Celta course and consists of 3 modules.  1 and 3 are possible to do online, but module 2 requires practice teaching so will need an in-person component somewhere. 

Anyway, it's intense.  Basically, my grammar skills are really not up to speed and I've had to spend a horrendous amount of time "catching up."  And I have a big test in 10 weeks that is already looming large on the horizon.  Hence the lack of blog updates!   See you again in another month.  Back to the modals, noun phrases and phonetic alphabet for me. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Reader Question...How Long?

This one from Jacob:

"How long is it possible for somebody like you to teach in Korea at the University level?"

My answer:

It's possible to spend decades teaching at Korean Universities and I've met a few people here who've done it.  There are a few things to consider though:

1. The market is becoming saturated in terms of a large number of very qualified teachers fighting for a limited number of "good" jobs.  It's becoming more and more similar to Japan where good uni jobs are few and far between and are mostly locked up by an elite few.  I have a feeling that Korean unis will realize this soon enough (if they haven't already) and job conditions will become not as fabulous as they are now.

2. Age discrimination is an issue in Korea.  You will likely not get hired here if you're above 60.  And if you start somewhere when you're younger and are approaching that age, watch your back and start exploring some other opportunities.

3. Some unis won't hire foreign instructors for more than 3-4 years because of issues to do with the Korea Teacher's pension plan.  In a teacher's fifth year, the school has to pay a significant amount more for their portion of the contribution than they did in years 1-4, which makes some places reluctant to keep people for the long-term. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

I'm back...and a Reader Question

I'm back from sunny Thailand and am happy to be back in Korea, despite the chill in the air.  When is springtime again?  Anyway, an easy reader question to ease back into blogging.  This one from Chanel:

"How does the academic years looks like for students? When does the seasons end and start, usually?"

Uni students have 2 semesters.  The first one starts around March 1st and goes until the middle of June of so.  The second semester starts at the end of August or beginning of September and goes until mid December.  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Movie Review Lesson Plan

From Sara Davila on Educating Her World.  A writing focused lesson plan, using an authentic text.  Seems like good stuff!

Free: 40 Tried and Tested ESL Games and Activities

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Reader Question: French Teaching Position in Korea

"I discovered your blog doing some research to find a job in Korea. I'm actually looking for a FRENCH teaching position in a Korean university. There are not many resources (to say the least) about French teaching in Korea. I know there's certainly less jobs than in ESL.  Any idea where to look, what to begin with? Recruiters? Or contacting universities directly?"

My answer:

Yes, you certainly are correct in saying that there are less jobs in French teaching than in ESL in Korea.  Over my 8 years in Korea, I've met thousands of English teachers, but precisely 3 French teachers.  Native speaking Japanese and Chinese teachers are much more common even.  So, it certainly is possible but probably very difficult, if not almost impossible to get a position.  And, I truly don't have any fabulous ideas about where to look for these jobs.  Maybe contacting the French departments at universities in Korea directly?  Perhaps the readers of this blog could give some tips.

A Perfect Storm of Goodness

In my recent presentation and public speaking class, I got the highest evaluation score that I've ever received in a class: 98%.  It was my first time teaching this type of class, so the potential was definitely there for it to be not as fabulous as it could have been. However, there was a perfect storm of motivated, friendly students, interesting content that the students had never studied before, a teacher excited to teach something besides beginner conversation, and a most fabulous book (thanks Kotesol Facebook site for the rec's).  Speaking of Speech by David Harrington.  I really, truly cannot say enough good things about it.  Go get it.  And, also check out Presentation Expressions which is something I most definitely wish I'd found before teaching this class.


The Internet is your Oyster

This is an article that I've written for an upcoming Kotesol article.  Enjoy your preview :)
I know that many teachers come to Korea just for a year but that that year somehow turns into two, then three, and four, and eventually you find yourself with a spouse, children, a car, pets and more things that you could ever hope to stuff into those two suitcases that you brought here.  In those first and second years, I would venture a guess that most of us were probably harmless, but ineffective teachers.  I know that I most certainly was.  However as time goes by, teaching becomes more than just how we make money, and most of us genuinely want to improve our teaching skills so that we can help our students actually learn and improve their skills for wherever life will take them.  

One of the best ways that I’ve found to improve my teaching is by taking advantage of the resources available on the Internet.  In this case, the ESL Internet world truly is your oyster, and you really should be grabbing the opportunities given to you.  These days, the Internet serves as the great equalizer, giving a chance for all teachers in Korea to make an impact.  I will give three (easy!) examples of how you can do it.

 Reinventing the Wheel

One of my favorite time-saving tricks for the busy teacher is not reinventing the wheel.  For example, if I’m teaching a lesson on superlatives/comparatives, I’ll search on Google for “superlative comparative ESL.”  As you’re typing, you’ll see, “games, activities, worksheets” pop up.  Just click on whatever you’re looking for and you’ll be directed to a wealth of resources for that particular lesson, usually for free.  I can often find a fabulous worksheet, activity idea, game, or even complete lesson plans in less than five minutes.  And I’ve found numerous new things to help me keep my classes interesting and engaging, which is often a little hard to do year after year.      

 Professional Development

In terms of professional development, I use the Internet almost exclusively (with a little bit of Kotesol too!)  I love listening to Podcasts while I’m on the subway or exercising and some of my favorite ones that are relevant to English teachers are: ESL etc, Edgycation, ESL Teacher Talk, Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips, and Public Speaker’s Quick and Dirty Tips.  Just search on Itunes.

I also try to read at least one or two ESL teaching theory related things once a week.  Some of the sites I like are: Heads up English, An Introduction to Task-Based Teaching by David Nunan, and Learning for Life.  Take the ideas that you read about and incorporate them into your teaching, talk to your colleagues about them, or better yet, blog about them.

Speaking of blogging, five long years ago I started a blog about teaching, mostly as a way to force myself to think more deeply about what I was doing in the classroom instead of just drifting along from semester to semester as it easy to sometimes do (My Life: Teaching in a Korean University  It has served that purpose but it’s done a lot more as well.  I’ve been inspired to present some of the ideas that I’ve developed on the blog at Kotesol conferences.  I’ve made lots of interesting contacts throughout the ESL world, even some of the more famous people (mostly through my textbook reviews).  I’ve been able to help lots of people by answering their questions that they send me.  I’ve compiled a resource for myself (and hopefully others) of lesson plans, games and activity ideas.  I use the search bar on my blog a lot to find a certain game, or Internet site, or book that I know I’ve blogged about but can’t quite remember what it is.  And finally, I’m pretty sure that I’ve become a better teacher though doing it.  A little self-reflection on the good and the bad is a practice that is useful for anyone in a classroom.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Reader Question from Andrew

"I am a 28 year-old Irish guy with an Honours Bachelors, Masters (History) and Postgraduate Diploma in Education - I am a qualified high school teacher in my native country. I have one year of high school teaching experience here in Ireland, along with eighteen months full-time ESL teaching as part of the EPIK programme in Korea.

I am interested in going back to Korea to teach at university level but I don't know the best way about applying for such a position, or even which specific university positions might be desirable.  What kind of job and salary do you think I could realistically expect to get? And what working hours and vacation time would be entailed in such a position?"
My answer:
You have a few things going against you.  Namely, no university experience as well as not physically being in the country for interviews (I think...but not sure about this based on your email).  Most unis want at least 2 years uni experience (but refer to my previous post) and in-person interviews.  The other problem I can forsee is what exactly is a "Postgraduate Diploma?"  If it's equivalent to a Masters Degree, then you're golden, if not, you'll have an even harder time finding a uni job.  
You may luck out and find someone who will take you, without a Masters, without any uni experience and without being in country.  But, it seems kind of unlikely to me.  Your best bet would be to get yourself to Korea somehow and be available for interviews here.  And then, just take what you can get.  I'm not sure anyone looking for their first uni job in Korea can really afford to be picky for the first year or two.  

If you do find a uni job, you could expect between 2-2.5/ month (plus housing included or around 300/month housing allowance).  Hours are between 12-20/week and vacation is anywhere from 2 months-5 months.  It just depends on the package offered and it varies so widely that it's hard to make an generalizations. 

Reader Question...2 years experience

These questions from Kelsey:

"I have a BA from the States and an MA from England.  I'm currently employed at a hagwon.  However, I'm doing some research about options for when I have completed my contract. Because I already have an MA, some people have suggested that I look into university teaching.  When I look around Dave's ESL Cafe Korean Job Boards (which I have done every month or so for the past few months), it seems like all of the jobs list 2 years of university teaching as a minimum requirement.  My question is this: how can someone enter the university field in order to earn that two year achievement that is so desirable?"

My advice:

Keep looking.  Although jobs ads list this as a minimum requirement, it is indeed possible to get jobs (especially at the last minute) with only a Masters and no uni experience.   Of course unis can dream and list their ideal, but it doesn't always translate into who they actually hire, especially at the bottom-tier kind of places.  I even have friends without masters degrees who've gotten uni jobs recently.  Just apply to every single uni job ad you see and hope for the best.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Student Evaluations

At my new uni, renewals are based almost exclusively on student evaluations.  This system really isn't ideal, because it's often the case that high evaluations don't exactly equal large amounts of learning.  For example, giving no homework, always finishing class early and grading easily will get you high evaluations but not necessarily be good for the students.  Anyway, I'm happy to report that I'm on the right side of 50%.  The bottom 50% of teachers, averaged out over the previous 4 semesters get cut, and the top 50% get renewed.  Nice!  One down, and 3 more to go.

My evaluations are very similar to those at my old uni.  I guess my system works wherever I am.

A Fabulous Writing Textbook

Hello readers, sorry I've been MIA recently.  No excuses really, but just busy and haven't had a lot of inspiration.  I've been teaching at my school's English camp for the past 3 weeks and my subject is "writing." I've been using an excellent textbook called Great Paragraphs and so far, it's fabulous.  Lots of example paragraphs, grammar and vocab building exercises and a nice framework for teaching the process of writing.  My level is low-intermediate and I find that book 2 works well for this.  This is a 5-part series, so it would work for just about any level beyond basic beginners.

It rivals in fabulousness toReady to Write 2: Perfecting Paragraphs (4th Edition) and you actually couldn't go wrong with either of them.