Tales from the ESL (virtual) Classroom.


I could easily have chosen to write about my bike ride today.  It wasn’t epic, but I was out on the bike, and if you love riding a bike (and you should) you would understand how awesome it really is.

Instead, I want to write a bit about my teaching day and the weirdness of it.  Perhaps, I am overselling it.  I just want to write about something weird that happened today.  It isn’t anything new.  It’s something I know, but for some reason I feel the need to write about it today.  I hope you will allow me this indulgence.

So, my work has me teaching four different classes a day.  They have been kind enough to allow that the classes come in pairs, so that I am only teaching two different things.  My first two classes that focus on speaking with higher level students.  The next two classes are general classes with intermediate students.  I hope this makes sense.

For my speaking classes, I wanted to focus on humor.  I thought that maybe the students could discuss different aspects of humour, or how their cultures view humour.  I even showed them a short clip of Kim’s Convenience to show them Canadian humour–and yes we spell that with the letter u in there (which also applies to colour, neighbour, flavour……I digress.)

For the first class, this went amazingly well.  The students were able to discuss some very interesting things and I merely monitored.  At the end of class we went over some of their errors, and I provided some formal and informal alternatives to what they said.

The second class was pretty much the opposite.  They tried to speak about it, but they soon exhausted their vocabulary or some found the topic dull.  They had fewer opinions and didn’t open up the discussion.

Now, as I wrote above, this is nothing new.  Assigning a level to a class or a class to a level does not guarantee ability or effort.  Also, different topics and delivery create different reactions.  This is not my first rodeo.  The thing is, the difference was so big that when the class was over I had to shake my head in disbelief.

And then I felt the need to blog about it.

About Anthony

I am: equal parts rebel, romantic and shockingly average Joe. a writer trapped inside of an ESL teacher's body. an introverted attention seeker. a teacher who hopes one day to be called "Captain, my Captain." an intellectual who can do some very dumb things. a person whose Japan experience, despite being so long ago, still exerts a strong influence upon him. a lover of books, music, beer, hockey and Pizza.
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3 Responses to Tales from the ESL (virtual) Classroom.

  1. gemmi72 says:

    Interesting you felt the need to clarify the use of u in the word colour. As if to placate the US readers. Who, by the way, are the on,y English speaking country in the world who spell those words that way. It’s them who have dropped a letter and are now trying to bully the rest of us in to butchering the language,

    • Anthony says:

      Actually, it was because I have been using the WordPress when writing the posts, which I didn’t before. As a result, the page now has so many red underlines, that I felt compelled to write about it.
      Perhaps I succumbed to the pressure.

  2. Hunida says:

    I always wondered why we spell things differently yet pronounce them the same! If I had to guess, there was a person or a few people who are great conversationalists in the first group & the second groups was filled with great listeners.

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