Showing posts from 2017

Dealing with Reverse Culture Shock

I few months back I wrote a blog entry that looked at ways that people can deal with culture shock in a positive manner when they travel to a foreign country. What a lot of people don't realize though, is when you return from an extended visit abroad people are often faced with something called Reverse Culture Shock. The idea may seem strange a first, as many people think "how can I experience culture shock in my home country, when I have lived there my whole life?" but take it from me or anyone who lived abroad for a significant amount of time, it really exists. In fact, reverse culture shock can be so powerful that I've seen people who are incapable of handling life backhome, who quickly return to their life abroad.

In this entry, I first want to try to explain what reverse culture shock is and then I'll offer some suggestions on how to deal with this unnerving feeling that many experience upon their return home.

People who experience reverse culture shock, li…

Looking for some great teaching opportunities in China?

Hey Everyone
I recently started working with Maple Leaf Education through my work at the University of Victoria, and they have a lot of exciting opportunities for TEFL teachers in China right now. If you're interested in finding out more about teaching in China, you can check out their website at or email them with your questions at

These Acronyms are Making Me CRAZY: ESL, EFL, EAL, ELL, TEFL, TESL, TESOL, CELTA....

As someone who promotes English teaching-training programs at a university for a career, I'm constantly being asked by potential students, institutions, and even experienced teachers what all these acronyms stand for and what's the difference between them. I get questions like "Should I take a TEFL class or a TESL class?" or "What's the difference between ESL and ELL?" all the time, so I wanted to write a quick blog entry to address the confusion.

Before I start to break down some of these acronyms, it's important to note that so many acronyms exist simply because the field of English language education is constantly evolving and becoming more specialized; especially over the last couple decades. Some of these terms may sound similar and may lead you to wonder, why do they all exist, however these slight differences can impact significant decisions like: Which type of course is best suited to my career goals? What are my students greatest needs? Wh…

7 Essential Tips to Successful Classroom Management

For many new teachers (and even some experienced teachers), so much classroom time is often wasted on managing the behavior of your students in class. For me, the same was definitely true. My memories of doing my practicum to become a public school teacher, to this day are still enough to provoke nightmares. The stress that can come from having to focus so much time and energy on classroom management, while trying to make it through the required curriculum, is literally enough to make some teachers quit and pursue other careers. 

The good doesn't have to be this way. The less good news, is that there is no set of procedure or tips that will solve all teachers classroom management problems. So much of how your class operates depends on two factors: You and your unique set of students. That being said, I can guarantee the following tips will help you manage your classroom.

1. Remember you are the boss
For a lot of new teachers, especially if you are only a few years older tha…

Best Countries To Teach English in 2017 | TEFL in Korea, Vietnam, China, Thailand & Cambodia

Good insight into the TEFL job market in 2017.

Thanks Alex Stevenson from

Best foods to try while teaching in these Asian countries

I'm going to post a bit of light-hearted entry this week, as I'm going to talk about one of my favorite parts of traveling and living in a different country:

If you are like me, food makes a huge impact of your level of happiness. I also know that when traveling to a new country it can be difficult to find something that you like to eat. This is especially true when traveling or living in Asia, where the food is dramatically different than Western food options. When I first arrived in Korea I had no idea about Korean food as I'd never tried any before going there. It honestly took me about 6 months to find out what foods I enjoyed when I lived there. The same can be true about China. Sure I'd had lots of Chinese food in Canada, but the funny thing is Chinese food is a lot different in China than in North America. When you add in the language barrier when visiting many restaurants in Asia, then ordering food gets that much tougher. So here we go, my favorite food in se…

Top 50 ESL Activities Superlist by Jackie Bowlen

Looking for ideas for your ESL / ELL class? Then you need to check out this great list of activities on MY LIFE! TEACHING IN A KOREAN UNIVERSITY by Jackie Bowlen.

Fun Ways to Teach Writing to English Language Learners

Fun Ways to Teach Writing to English Language Learners

Over my time in the ESL / ELL industry, I've heard many teachers complain about teaching their students how to write. To me, this always surprised me as teaching writing was something that I really enjoyed. A lot of people think that it's boring, or hard to evaluate or limited in what you can do with your students. This blog entry will hopefully show that teaching writing doesn't have to be these things. Teaching writing to your students can be fun and a rewarding experience for you and your students.

Think outside the box
A lot of people who teach writing only pay attention to the fundamentals of learning how to write and use traditional writing lessons / activities in class. They start teaching writing in a very systematic process. Sentence structure - paragraph structure - essay structure...with some grammar and punctuation lessons in the middle. Of course, these skills are important, but the process that students le…

Travel and Make Money: A Gap Year Teaching Abroad by Anje Rautenbach


I came across this helpful article the other day, so I thought I would share it with my blog audience. In it Anje summarizing the jobs that are available in some of the most popular places to go teach English and also supplies some general information on the requirements to go teach abroad.

I also like this article because Anje does a good job presenting the benefits of going abroad and discredits some of the outdated stereotypes about the people that do choose to teach English in a foreign country.

If you're thinking or planning to go teach English abroad for a year or longer, I highly recommend reading this article.

Teaching English in Thailand - What you need to know

I love Thailand. Although I haven't had the chance to teach English there yet, I was lucky enough to visit this beautiful country a couple times when I lived in Korea. With it's rich culture, friendly people, amazing food and breathtaking scenery, it's no wonder why this country is such an attractive place to live and teach. In this blog, I'll want to discuss somethings you need to know if you want to teach there. Much of this info comes from my friends who taught there and passed on their experiences with me, and my own research, as a couple years ago I had seriously considering going there to teach.

To teach in Thailand, you must have completed a university degree, and although not necessary for all jobs, a TEFL or TESL certificate or diploma is highly recommended (For reasons why you should take a TEFL program read this entry). Past teaching experience is not necessary as well, but very beneficial if you have it. If you want to teach at a university in Th…

What to bring to your teaching job abroad

Of course there are many variables that will affect what you need to bring when teaching abroad (i.e. weather, culture, length of time you'll be gone, etc) but in this entry I want to tell you about some essentials that you should bring with you, no matter where you go. My reason for this entry: I was at the airport the other day picking up some teachers from Japan, and I was shocked by the amount of stuff they brought with them(and they were only coming to Canada for 4 weeks). You'll be thankful for this list after you get off your 12 hour flight and have to take public transit to get to your new home.

Things to bring

Unlocked Cell Phone - When you move to a new country you'll have to get a new SIM card to use that phone abroad

Medicine - If you have specific medicine that you need while abroad, bring it with you. There is no guarantee that you will be able to get it where you are going

Work Clothes - Good to ask about the dress code at your new school before you go

Versatile …

21st Century Education


Interesting Facts about TEFL


The Personal Challenges Language Learners Face

Recently, I had the chance to sit into a Spanish as a foreign language class at the university that I work at. They needed volunteers to act as beginner students who were trying to learn Spanish in their teacher training program, so I volunteered. As I know very little Spanish myself, I definitely didn't need to 'act' like a beginner student. The class I attended was taught completely in Spanish, and it seemed like everyone else could understand what the teacher was saying better than me. When asked questions or given instructions, I really had no clue how to respond. This experience to me, an English as a foreign language teacher, was extremely beneficial in so many different ways, as for the first time in a long time (since probably grade 9 when I studied French) I was put into the shoes of our students. Sitting through this one class was a great reminder of some of the challenges that language learners face on a daily basis; challenges that can be hidden from teachers.

Benefits of Teaching Abroad

In previous posts, I have listed some of the benefits that I think people get from teaching English abroad, but I wanted to provide you with this video from Rich at Teach Abroad. Though it's very broad, I think his video provides a pretty good summary of what to expect from your time abroad:

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this video and some other benefits you think people can get from teaching English in a foreign country

Some of My Favorite Websites for English Language Teachers

If you google something like "ESL lesson ideas" or "ESL Games" or really any topic related to teaching English as a foreign language, you will literally get millions of results in less than a second. To make this search a little less daunting, in this blog entry I'm going to give you some of my favorite websites for English language teachers. In the comment section or on my Google+ page please let me know about some of your faves.

Dave's ESL Cafe (
Besides being one of best websites for finding teaching jobs around the world, this website also has a great discussion forum on all things ESL, tons of great teaching ideas and even resources for students who want to learn English. This site is very easy to use and is continuously updated.

Busy Teacher (
Need a worksheet for your class, then look no further than This website contains over 17000 printable worksheets, lesson plans and awesome lesson activities …