Sunday, May 31, 2015

39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Teenagers and Adults

The book is now complete! It will be available for free within the next couple days, but the link is secret unless you sign-up for my email list. I promise to respect your privacy and will never share your information or email with anyone.

The normal price will be $2.99 on Amazon.

Tenure Track Positions in Korean Universities

An interesting question from one of the people who attended my recent KOTESOL presentation on How to Get a University Job in South Korea. She asked about the possibility of tenure track positions for foreigners in Korean universities.

My short answer was that while it's not impossible, it's quite unlikely. For example, during my 8 years working at unis I've only met 2 foreigners who were in these kind of positions. The vast majority are on 1-2 year contracts and there are also a few visiting professors who plan to return to positions in their home countries.

Part of it is that there are so many Koreans who are qualified for these jobs and the other thing is the language barrier. Any university who hires you will want you to be an active member of that department-attending MT, counseling students, going to meetings, working on committees, etc. Nobody will want to translate for you during all of these things and so you will basically be side-lined unless you are fluent in Korea. In addition, if you teach anything other than English, it will be really difficult for you to effectively teach your students who likely don't have the English ability to be able to understand lectures on anything besides the most basic of topics.

So, is Korea the answer for someone with a PhD unable to find work in their home country? Probably not and I wouldn't count on being able to get anything besides short-term, 1-2 year contracts.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I think I'm just Going to Triple Down on the Cheating...

Cheating in Korean Universities

This incident happened a couple months ago at the beginning of the semester, but it's been in the back of my mind since then and I'm reminded of it every single time I see this girl in my writing class.

Here's what happened:

Students had to write an essay for their first homework. A couple students cheated by copying from the Internet--it was very easy to catch them using an advanced Google search for exact phrases.

This specific girl submitted an essay that was better than the stuff you find on the Internet or even that you'd pay someone to write for you. It was like something a professional journalist had done, but I couldn't find it on the Internet. I can't even emphasize how good it was-like itwas three times better than any essay ever submitted to me during 8 years teaching in Korean universities.

I compared her essay to the little "get to know me" essay she'd done in class on the first day (the ultimate way to catch cheaters, btw!) and they were worlds apart. Like she's an okay writer but had basic spelling mistakes, overused vocabulary, no structure and quite simple grammatical constructions. In short, the 2 essays were nothing alike.

I gave her no score on her paper and asked her to come talk to me after class. I said that I knew she didn't write it, but I had no proof because I couldn't find it on the Internet. She doubles down and tells me she stayed up all night working on it. I asked if she had a native English speaker proofread it and she said no, that she did it all by herself, which made it all the more unbelievable.

She starts crying. I tell her that I'm going to wait until she does her in-class essay for the midterm exam and make a decision then.

Midterm exams come. Her essay is average--she got a "B-." It was obvious that she didn't write the homework essay. I give her a zero and she again tells me that she really did write it. I tell her I'm not changing my mind, but Teacher X and Teacher Y from USA and Australia (the other teachers in my department) could read all her stuff, give me their opinions and I would follow it. She declines.

Now, this is where it gets even crazier. The next class, she triples down and hands me a note. I was expecting something like, "Teacher, I'm sorry that I lied. Please forgive me." Instead, it basically says that she's not a liar and she doesn't want me to think badly of her.

How would you have handled it? Have you ever had a student triple down like this?

Despite stuff like this, working at a Korean uni is a pretty sweet job. Here's how to get it: How to Get a University Job in South Korea

Monday, May 25, 2015

Top 5 ESL Teaching Resume Tips

ESL Teaching Resume Tips
I've had a couple people emailing me in the last weeks asking for some feedback on their resumes and it was hard to help them because they didn't even really have the basic things right. Here are my top 5 tips for your ESL teaching resume.

1. 1 page! Nobody wants to read more than this.

2. Relevant things only. Nobody cares what your BA was in it's not something directly related to English, TESOL or education.

3. Don't list references. This is a big waste of space and it's assumed that you'll have these.

4. Don't mention the obvious. For example, you know how to use a computer or the Internet. Doesn't everybody these days?

5. The picture. Get one professionally done! This is the most important thing.

For even more tips about your ESL teaching resume and a sample tip, be sure to check out my book on Amazon:How to Get a University Job in South Korea.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Top 5 ESL Speaking Activities

esl speaking
Top 5 ESL Speaking Activities

Here are some of my go-to speaking activities for conversation classes. While many of the activities are designed for adults, some of them can be adapted really easily for kids too. I try to make activities that are interesting, fun and interactive and I hope you find some of them useful in your classes.

Small Talk Warm-Up Game- a fun activity to practice this important skill that's hard to design good activities for.

Just a Minute Speaking Activity- an excellent warm-up for intermediate-advanced level students

Problem/Advice- it's also a great reported speech activity

Tell Your Story- Another activity to work on reported speech

Taboo- ESL speaking game for kids and adults

Kotesol National Conference 2015

The Kotesol national conference 2015 is coming up soon on May 30th in Seoul. 

I'll be presenting on the very academic topic of,"How to Get a University Job in South Korea" at 1:00 in the giant auditorium, Gemma Hall. I hate the lecture style of presentation so please sit near the front and talk to me so my presentation can be more interactive, okay? I'm kind of nervous. Thanks. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

What to do With the Money you Make Teaching!

Investing for Expats
The Wealthy English Teacher

So you're working in Korea and making a bit of money, probably more than you can spend each month. What to do with it, especially after you've paid off all your debts? It can be pretty complicated because there are so many options and trying to invest as an expat adds a further layer of complication.

Good news for you! I wrote a book about personal finance for English teachers living abroad. You can get it on Amazon for $2.99 US. I promise that you'll find it useful, or I'll happily refund you the money via PayPal. So far, the reviews have been pretty stellar.

The Wealthy English Teacher: Teach, Travel, and Secure Your Financial Future

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

ESL Speaking Games and Activities

esl speaking games and activities
ESL Speaking Games and Activities

If you're looking for some solid ESL speaking games or activities for your classes, check out these posts over on my other site, ESL Speaking.

Small talk ESL speaking game- adults, beginner--->advanced levels.

Problem/Advice: Reported speech speaking activity- adults, intermediate--->advanced

Daily Schedule interview activity- kids and adults, beginner--->intermediate

Conversation Starters for ESL students- kids and adults, beginner--->intermediate

Role Play ESL speaking activity- kids and adults, beginner--->high-intermediate

Even more awesomeness, delivered straight to your inbox once a week. More than 40 ESL game and activity ideas, as well as lesson plans, website recommendations and other good stuff. I promise to respect your privacy and nobody has unsubscribed in weeks!

Sign-up for Jackie Bolen's mailing list.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Student-Centered Teaching

student centered
Student-Centered Teaching

A request from one of my readers about student centered teaching in preparation for his interview at a Korean university.

I talk a lot about in upcoming book about No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking activities, which you can get for free if you sign-up for my email list before I publish it. Do it soon--the book is in the final editing stages and will be out in a week or two.

But, in the meantime, check out some of these posts I've done in years gone by about just this very topic:

Teacher Centered vs. Student Centered Classrooms

Grammar Teaching: Student Centered Style

Relative Clauses, Student-Centered Teaching Style

Teacher-Centered is Bad!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

8 Conversation Lesson Plans for University and Adult Students in Korea

Conversation Lesson Plans for Adults in Korea

These are all tried and tested conversation lesson plans that I designed and used in my own intermediate-advanced conversation or current events classes. Many of the articles are authentic materials that I found from around the web.

Minimum Wage in Korea

Youth Unemployment in Korea

Renewable Energy Lesson Plan- Works for students in any country.

North-South Korea Unification

Agricultural Subsidies in Korea- Advanced students only.

South Korea's Education System

Studying Abroad Lesson Plan

Cigarette Prices in Korea to Double

Even more lesson plan and ESL activity awesomeness. I promise to respect your privacy. Sign-up for Jackie Bolen's Email List.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Free Talking and Why I Loathe It

free talking
Why I hate Free Talking

Over on my other website, ESL Speaking I talked about free talking and why I loathe it. It got a lot of discussion and comments over on Facebook.

The original, quite controversial post: ESL Free Talking

The explanation: Free Talking and Why I Loathe It, Explained

Thursday, May 14, 2015

My Upcoming Kotesol Presentations

A quick note for readers of this blog in Korea. I'll be giving a couple presentations at upcoming Kotesol conferences.

1. May 16th-Busan Chapter Kotesol Meeting. "How to Teach Speaking." 5 tips and 5 activities for all levels and ages of students. If you miss it, don't worry...all the stuff is from my upcoming book about ESL Speaking which I'm giving away for free to everyone who signs up for my mailing list. But, of course I promise interactive, informative and fun in person so it'll be better to just come on Saturday!

2. May 30th-Seoul Kotesol National Conference. This is the second biggest English teaching event in Korea (behind the International conference). "How to Get a University Job in South Korea." If you miss this one, you can get the book: How to Get a University Job in South Korea. But, of course in person is better because you can ask questions and get some more immediate feedback for your jobs in Korea related questions.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Reader Question: Average Monthly Salary Working at a Korean University

A reader question about what average monthly salary you can expect working at a Korean university.

This is particularly relevant to me because in preparation for my move to Canada, I just went to the tax office and got statements of my income and taxes for all the years I've lived in Korea. It was kind of eye opening as I went through them in detail and while most ESL teachers have seen their salaries stagnate over the past decade in Korea, mine has gone up by 10-15%, year after year.  I guess it pays to make the connections, get the qualifications, and hussle up a little OT?

Anyway, that's a whole other story, but back to the original question. The low-end jobs pay about 2.0 million Korean Won/month, while the high-end ones can go up to about 3.0. Then, you'll either get housing or a housing allowance on top of that.

But, where the real money to be made at Korean universities is in the overtime. If a university has lots of it floating around and you can pick up 5-10 hour/week, it can really add up. Or, maybe they have camps during the breaks where you can work a steady 2 or 3 weeks at a time. Finally, they may give you permission to work at outside places like a company or hagwon, which can be the most lucrative part-time gig.

It should be noted that the total salary earned is kind of erratic; in some months I've earned up to 5 or 6 million, while in others, I've done no OT and just earned my regular monthly salary. So save up during the feast times so you won't suffer in the famine.

For even more finance stuff for English teachers, check out my book on Amazon: The Wealthy English Teacher. It's only $2.99 US and if you don't pick up some tips that'll save you the cost of the book, just email me and I'll refund you the price of the book via PayPal no questions asked.

Monday, May 11, 2015

39 Low-Prep/No-Prep ESL Speaking Activities

esl speaking activities
ESL Speaking Activities

The book is in the final editing stages and will be available by the end of May; I'll be giving it away for free, but only to members of my mailing list. I promise to respect your privacy.

Sign up for Free ESL Speaking Activities here.

In the meantime, check out this website- ESL Speaking: Games, Activities and Resources. It's perfect for when you're planning your lessons and need a new idea or two.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

ESL Teaching Online

esl teaching online
ESL Teaching Online

I just ran across this site the other day and was impressed with the plethora of interesting articles and useful content. ESL Teaching Online. For example, in the way of lesson plans there are things like:

Simple Present Speaking Activity

Conversation Class Lesson Plan: 7 Reasons Why Frequent Travelers are usually more Successful 

University Class Lesson Plan: 13 Things to do Before you Turn 23

Business Lesson Plan: How to Work Smarter and Faster

As far as life stuff goes, you can find:

Live and Teach Korea

Expat Korea

Live and Teach China

Check it out! It has the My Life! Teaching in a Korean University "2 Thumbs Up" seal of approval.

For everything university jobs in Korea, check out this book: How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams

Friday, May 8, 2015

17 Years Teaching ESL in Taiwan: Now What?

teaching english taiwan
Returning Home After Teaching English

Somewhat terrifying

A frightening article from the Guardian about a guy who spent 17 years teaching English in Taiwan and has now returned home but is having a hard time finding work.

I spent 17 years abroad as a TEFL teacher- what do I do now?

Will it be me?

This hits a bit close to home since in less than  a year I'll be returning to Canada after 10 years in Korea. My plans are not 100% formed yet but will likely consist of building my Internet/investing empires to a point where I can make a full-time living off of them and perhaps picking up some casual/part-time work (online teaching or language institutes?) to fill the gaps.

Here are a few articles over on Freedom Through Passive Income where I talk about my move to Canada:

Giving up Good for Better
Drinking Less, Building Empire More
The Return to Canada-Let's Talk Money

Advice for this guy? 

Well I think he's perhaps a bit screwed because he obviously didn't develop any marketable skills besides teaching ESL during his time abroad. I hope he has a pool of money saved up to be able to return to school but perhaps he's a bit old to start a new career. There's actually no good advice for him besides keep teaching English abroad.

Lesson learned from this story?

Figure this stuff out like at least a couple years before you finish teaching ESL abroad. Do an online program. Learn how to program. Apply to grad school. Anything. Something besides just returning home and hoping for the best.

At least have something to show for it

Want to at least have a pool of money and investments to show for your time teaching ESL? Check out The Wealthy English Teacher. These are the principles that I've followed to build a large portfolio of stocks and ETFs, such that I'm truly not that worried about going home and could actually live off of this money for 10 years or so without working. It's not my plan, but I could do it if I had to.

ESL Writing: Run-on Sentences and Choppy Sentences

These days, I teach mostly advanced academic writing, using Great Writing 4: From Great Paragraphs to Great Essays which by the way, is an excellent book if you teach university students or adults.

Today I veered away from the book to address a problem that I saw on many of the midterm exam essays-choppy sentences. I based my lesson loosely on this choppy and run-on sentences worksheet from ESL Writing-mostly I just added a few more of my own examples.

I did the following steps:

1. Introduced the idea of what choppy sentences are and how to fix them: punctuation, relative clauses or conjunctions.

2. Used 3 examples, showed on the PPT one at a time and asked students to fix them, either by writing or just thinking in their head.

3. Students shared the answer with their partner.

4. I asked for 3-4 volunteers to share their answers with the class and gave feedback.

5. I gave my own "perfect" answer if no student had done so.

6. I repeated with run-on sentences.

We ran out of time, so I assigned that choppy and run-on sentences worksheet as homework and we'll talk about it at the beginning of next class.

It was an excellent class-probably one of the best of the semester and I think the students found it really helpful.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

ESL Speaking Textbook Reviews

four corners esl textbook
ESL Speaking Textbook Reviews

If you're looking for some advice about which ESL textbook to choose for your next class, check out:

ESL textbooks for children--I talk about my 2 favorites, mostly because they are an actual, well-though out series, unlike most of the other fluffy stuff filled with pictures and other crap that is kind of useless if you want to actually teach something.

ESL textbooks for adults--I preview my 3 favorite 4-skills textbooks that place a heavy emphasis on communicative speaking activities, which is just my style. These ones are also solid, minus all the fluffy stuff.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

ESL Job Offers: Think about Salary/Hour Worked

A short video talking about how to evaluate various English teaching job hours. Instead of just going for the highest salary possible, a more helpful paradigm is salary per hour worked.

If you're an English teacher trying to get personal finance figured out, you'll probably find this book useful:

The Wealthy English Teacher: Teach, Travel, and Secure Your Financial Future

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Foreign University Teacher Doesn't Get Contract Renewed-for Good Reason?

ewha womans university
Foreign Professors in Korea: Watch what you say on Social Media

An interesting article from the Korea Herald about a foreign teacher at Ewha Womans University who didn't get her contract renewed and took it to the next level. She lost, and I think for quite good reason.

The moral of this story? Watch what you do on social media. Anecdotally, one of my coworkers at my previous uni also didn't get his contract renewed and the rumor mill had it that it was because of bad stuff he posted on social media about his students. Be careful!

Work in a Korean University (or want to?). Join this Facebook group: Foreign Teachers in Korean Universities.

Friday, May 1, 2015

ESL Lesson Planning for Kids

ESL Lesson Planning for Kids

I know that this site is all about teaching in Korean universities, but at some point we've all found ourselves teaching kids during our careers and if you're like me, perhaps you felt a bit like a fish out of water. But, not to worry! Here are 4 stellar sites that you can use to plan ESL classes for children.

Barry Fun English

This is a site that one of my readers Neil recommended (thanks for the tip!) and here's what he says:

"Multimedia Games with a plethora of common topics/word-sets to choose from. There are also ready made or customizable worksheets available. Free games rotate monthly, or try a premium membership for a month for free. These games are a dream for kids with short attention spans. So ALL KIDS basically!"

Boggle's World is my favorite site for pre-made worksheets on just about any topic. Don’t re-invent the wheel! Just go to Boggle’s World.

Kids love puzzles and this is by far the best site out there to create your own, based on whatever material you are studying.  Crossword puzzles in particular are an excellent way to review material in an interesting way. Each puzzle only takes a few minutes to create using this site.

Based in Japan, this is the best site for complete lesson plans for your children's ESL classes. They are interesting, fun and will help you plan awesome classes with not a whole lot of effort. Perfect for the busy teacher!

Applying for University Jobs in Korea: Follow Instructions Carefully

An application package tip for when you're applying for uni jobs in Korea:

For even more solid advice about getting and keeping this prime job, check out: How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreamsover on Amazon. You can get it in both print and digital formats.