7 Ways to find new students

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I work as an independent teacher, meaning I don’t work in any schools or institutes. Working independently gives me the freedom to develop my teaching skills the way I want to, allows me to personalize my approach, and earns me more money. It’s also more challenging, because it’s on…

5 Ways to use songs in your classroom for all levels

Music is one of the most universally enjoyed things in our world today. And using songs and music in your classroom can make your classes more fun, give a needed break from heavier activities, and improve your students vocabulary and listening skills. However, if you just put a song on and let your students listen,…

The importance of humor boundaries… and what to do if you’ve broken them

Boundaries. Love ’em? Hate ’em? It doesn’t matter. Because you need them. Boundaries with humor are important because they protect you and your students from uncomfortable, or even bullying, situations. Protecting the student:  If you are from a different country than your students, there is a good chance you have a different sense of humor. Personally,…

Teaching English in Costa Rica

So. You’re thinking about moving to Costa Rica to teach English. Or perhaps you just want to travel and teaching English seems like a good way to pay the way. I’m going to be brutally honest about my time teaching English in Costa Rica. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly. The Good:  There…

4 Ways to find more value in reading novels for class

Everyone knows that reading stories and novels definitely helps your students learn more vocabulary. That’s a given. I also think that reading helps students get used to native feeling sentence order and rhythm. Teachers will also know that it can be tricky to commit to reading a whole novel without forgetting about it or getting…

5 Kinds of students who can give you a headache

When you work for an academy, they take care of these kinds of students for you. But when you manage your own classes, when you are your own boss, then you have to be prepared to deal with these students that were previously taken care of or weeded out before they even got to you….

Pros and cons of giving favors

To the Independent Teachers out there. Let’s talk about favors. By favors, I mean letting students retake tests, come to class late, and even teaching them an extra hour or so for free. Giving favors has some pros and some cons. Let’s start with the pros: When I give my students favors, or let them…

6 Ways to get your basic students talking

Face it, repetition is boring. But it is necessary for students to gain the skills and confidence to actually use their English in a practical way. Here are some ways to practice repetition in class without sitting in a circle and chanting sentence after sentence in monotone. 1) Jenga Rules: If you have your own…

5 Pitfalls of ESL class management…and how to avoid them

We all want to be our own bosses, right? But being your own boss as an ESL teacher means having to decide how you manage, pace, and plan your own classes. There is no one telling you want to do, so it’s all up to you. Here are some common mistakes ESL teachers make and…

5 Ways to give meaningful ESL homework

So, students don’t like homework, do they? Yet, if students only see English, or whatever language you’re teaching them, in class, then they’ll never advance. So students have to do homework. Here’s some types of homework that you can give your students that will be meaningful and useful, yet not too much or too boring….