A Teacher Has to Entertain Herself

Well, it’s finals week at my university. It’s hard on the students, but it’s also tough on the teachers. We’re all busy; we’re all stressed. Therefore, I have to think of ways to entertain myself and keep myself sane this week.

In my college composition course, our final exam ended up adding up to 99 points. Normally, I would just give my students the 1 point. However, this time, I made them earn it. They were instructed to draw a picture of me to earn that last point.

It was hilarious to watch them when they read that last question. The tense shoulders loosened. The giggles began. And then, as they seriously began their artistic work, they all started staring at me in order to really capture my likeness.

The results made my day.

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I suppose she thinks more of me than her poor drawing skills will allow her to express.

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This is the Asian me.

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That is some curly hair, and those are some big ol’ eyes!

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In the running for my favorite. I am a queen! *flips hair dramatically*

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I think I look like another race in this one. Like my ever-present podium?

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Good ol’ “no nose Ashley”

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Apart from the football player shoulders, this it’s pretty good! (I’m going to have a complex now…)

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I had a LOT of stick figures like this one.

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No arms and no nose, but I love this one.

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This one is probably my favorite. One question though- do I have a tail??

Oh man. I love my college freshmen. Now I think I can survive the rest of finals week.
Be sure and tell me which one is your favorite!

Helping ELLs in the Mainstream College Classroom

Let’s face it. Most college professors have no  training in working with English language learners. So in order to help my colleagues better support the ELLs in their classroom, I sent an e-mail to all the faculty and adjuncts with the just a few ways in which they can help these students.

Give extra time to take a quiz or a test.

>For these students, it takes much longer for them to read and comprehend what the questions are asking. If you feel comfortable, please give them extra time.

Do not write in cursive.

> I have had several international students come in and ask me to read the feedback from their teachers at the end of their papers. Most people who learn English only learn print letters, not cursive, so cursive is usually unreadable to them.

Use visual aids, gestures, and write on the board as often as possible.

>Writing key words and even homework assignments on the board is so helpful for these students. Showing instead of only telling can really assist these students as well.

Simplify your language and slow your speed.

>This does not mean you have to “dumb down” your language. Try to use less slang and idioms, which hinder comprehension for these students. Try to watch the speed of your speech. I know I am guilty of speed talking sometimes when I get going in a lecture!

Offer supplementary materials.

>This might be offering an outline of the lecture of a copy of the PowerPoint. Listening comprehension is often most difficult for these students, so they may have trouble catching all the details of your lectures. Introduce them to a top student in the class who would be willing to share their class notes.

Get to know your international students.

>Take a minute to talk one-on-one with these students, so you can gauge their English ability and their comprehension of class material. You may think they are understanding and keeping up, but most of the time, to be polite, they will just nod and pretend to understand. Did you know that in some cultures, especially Asian cultures, it’s rude to tell the teacher you don’t understand, because you are basically accusing the teacher of not teaching well?

These were just a few quick and dirty tips I wanted the faculty to know. I hope you can make use of a few of them too if you have ELLs in your mainstream classroom. Are there any you would add? Please share with others that might find this helpful.

 

Foreign Students, ESL

I Didn’t Die on the Subway

I am so impressed with myself. No really. I am amazing. I took the subway by myself today, and I didn’t get lost or cry.

Tokyo Subway Map

Looks simple, huh?

It is pretty complicated. Once you are on the subway, it’s simple to see the stop you need (they show it in romanized letters). The part that gets me is walking around underground trying to find the right line, the right color, the right number, and the right gate. When I was with my students, they even took us the wrong direction a few times! I think I could conquer the Tokyo subway system if I had a few more months here.

So, on to my students. I had my first class today. I have 3 students in my morning class: 2 guys- Shun (23) and Naoya (33), and a girl- Azuki (19). We are practicing conversational English by taking field trips to various spots around Tokyo while speaking English the whole time. I really enjoyed getting to know my students and look forward to spending more time with them.

Japanese English Students

My students

Our first trip was to the Shibuya area. First we went to the Meiji Shrine, which is  a Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji, who died in 1912. It is a beautiful, green area. I love seeing the very Japanese toris, or gates.

Meiji Shrine

We even got to see a Japanese wedding that was taking place at the shrine. How interesting for me to get to witness!

Japanese Wedding

The bride’s outfit is interesting, huh?

There was also an area where you could write your prayers and hang them.

Meiji Shrine

Next we visited the Harajuku district. It is a famous shopping street and is also known for the crazy fashions you’ll see the young people there wearing. And I really did see some outrageous outfits!

Takeshita DoriJapanese Fashion

Harajuku Tokyo

So, overall I had a great day! I am looking forward to spending the day with alumni from my university tomorrow.