Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Letter to my First-Year Students

I’ve found myself reflecting a lot about my first year of teaching, my students who I got to know over the year, and the careful alterations in approach and in material that I made each quadmester.  I learned more about myself as a teacher and the needs of the people sitting inside my classroom.  This letter is to you, the 200-ish students I was privileged to meet and work with last year. 

To my Students in my First Year of “Official” teaching,

I call last year my first “official” year of teaching because everyone that you talk to about teaching overseas or in private schools never seems to calculate that experience as “real” teaching.  I have no idea why, as most of the people who say things ask, “when are you going to become a real teacher?” have usually never stepped foot in a classroom or worked in a position of responsibility with “learners.”

Anyway, before the new year unfolds, I just wanted to say thank you for all that you did for me last year.  I was lucky enough to hear a lot of “Thank yous” from many of you at the end of our classes together and I appreciated every one of them. At the same time, I owe you thanks as well.  You made me want to walk in to my classroom each day pushing to be the best teacher I could be.  You pushed me to look carefully at the best strategies that would benefit each of your learning needs.  You required me to reflect on my lessons at the end of each day to discover what I could change for future students to make my approach more effective and engaging.  I am so grateful for that.

You also taught me so much about being on a team.  In our classes, we were on a team together.  Sometimes I stood at the front of the class; sometimes you did.  Sometimes I sat shoulder to shoulder with you as I watched you interact in group discussions; sometimes you sat back and listened to your peers, taking in their perspectives and preparing your own responses.  I truly wanted to make sure everyone on our team was where they wanted to be, and you were truly missed if you were absent.  The team wasn’t complete without each of you.  I will never forget that.

Even more, you opened my eyes up to so many different cultures and life experiences.  I greeted each class with excitement to introduce my lesson and have you take it to your own level and see it through your perspective.  You respectfully shared personal stories and beliefs (and sometimes food!) from amazing places around the globe and you welcomed me to be a part of your life.  Coming back to school as an adult can be daunting, but you took the challenge and made studying part of your already busy life.   I have incredible admiration for that.

For some of you, I got to work with you in more than one term. We got to grow together, both of us learning new things as we went.  You took on the challenges I brought to you, and I accepted the ones that you brought into class with you.  Together, we created a system that worked.  From part-time jobs to family commitments, from health issues to stressful schedules, you did your best.   I respect that.

So, thank you for being my student: thank you for not giving up; thank you for taking risks; and thank you for opening your minds.

Thank you for being MY teacher:  thank you for teaching me not to give up; thank you for teaching me to take risks; and thank you for opening my mind.

I can’t wait to see what this year has in store.

Sincerely,

Your Teacher

 

Teacher to Student Part 1: Packing up my Desk

chaos or no chaos

I have been cataloguing my experience since leaving my teaching position to go back to school and immerse myself in the education of education – pedagogy, discourse, reflection, and practice.  I have divided my experiences into 6 parts.

Part 1: Packing up my desk

Part 2: Entering OISE

Part 3: An Inside Look: Practicum 1

Part 4: Returning as a Student

Part 5: A New Observation: Practicum 2

Part 6: The Next Step

Part 1 – Coming soon

Creative Commons License photo credit: Martin Pulaski

Theatrical Philosophy of Teaching ESL

Classroom before - chiew

As I grew up surrounded by teachers in my family, it was little surprise that I also wanted to join that field.  Nonetheless, I could have never imagined where in the world this incredibly inspiring profession would take me.

My ESL teaching ideology is deeply rooted in my passion for the performing arts.  My classrooms all contain hints of what I carry with me from my theatrical experience and degree in Theatre.

As an ESL instructor, I see this type of classroom as a “rehearsal space” for a much larger and more important performance: real life.  A teacher must come to know and understand students as a director would with its actors.  Neither a teacher nor a theatre director is there to provide all of the answers.  Instead, we are here to guide, to coach, and to inspire the learners.  The relationship we build in the classroom, or rehearsal space, should instill a sense of energy for students to want to learn and grow with the new language.

Like a director, who must bring forth useful tools for actors, a teacher is responsible for creating materials and demonstrating the devices required to succeed in the art of language learning, be it for reading, writing, listening, or speaking.  Naturally, all of these skills overlap and are used together in real life performance; therefore, a teacher needs to assist in this real-life preparation while acknowledging students’ different learning styles and aspirations.  From there, an instructor can implement effective lessons accordingly.

Most importantly, an ESL teacher must be willing to go an extra step to provide a comfortable learning space that allows students to achieve confidence: confidence to use new language outside of the classroom; confidence that they can achieve their goals if they work hard; confidence to not be afraid to make mistakes; and confidence to never stop exploring.  This will surely make them ready for the real stage, which is the whole reason teachers should step into the classroom to begin with.

The Three Cuckolds

 

 

 

 
Creative Commons License photo credit: Lower Columbia College

Creative Commons License photo credit: eltpics

 

 

Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Letter to my First-Year Students

I’ve found myself reflecting a lot about my first year of teaching, my students who I got to know over the year, and the careful alterations in approach and in material that I made each quadmester.  I learned more about myself as a teacher and the needs of the people sitting inside my classroom.  This letter is to you, the 200-ish students I was privileged to meet and work with last year. 

To my Students in my First Year of “Official” teaching,

I call last year my first “official” year of teaching because everyone that you talk to about teaching overseas or in private schools never seems to calculate that experience as “real” teaching.  I have no idea why, as most of the people who say things ask, “when are you going to become a real teacher?” have usually never stepped foot in a classroom or worked in a position of responsibility with “learners.”

Anyway, before the new year unfolds, I just wanted to say thank you for all that you did for me last year.  I was lucky enough to hear a lot of “Thank yous” from many of you at the end of our classes together and I appreciated every one of them. At the same time, I owe you thanks as well.  You made me want to walk in to my classroom each day pushing to be the best teacher I could be.  You pushed me to look carefully at the best strategies that would benefit each of your learning needs.  You required me to reflect on my lessons at the end of each day to discover what I could change for future students to make my approach more effective and engaging.  I am so grateful for that.

You also taught me so much about being on a team.  In our classes, we were on a team together.  Sometimes I stood at the front of the class; sometimes you did.  Sometimes I sat shoulder to shoulder with you as I watched you interact in group discussions; sometimes you sat back and listened to your peers, taking in their perspectives and preparing your own responses.  I truly wanted to make sure everyone on our team was where they wanted to be, and you were truly missed if you were absent.  The team wasn’t complete without each of you.  I will never forget that.

Even more, you opened my eyes up to so many different cultures and life experiences.  I greeted each class with excitement to introduce my lesson and have you take it to your own level and see it through your perspective.  You respectfully shared personal stories and beliefs (and sometimes food!) from amazing places around the globe and you welcomed me to be a part of your life.  Coming back to school as an adult can be daunting, but you took the challenge and made studying part of your already busy life.   I have incredible admiration for that.

For some of you, I got to work with you in more than one term. We got to grow together, both of us learning new things as we went.  You took on the challenges I brought to you, and I accepted the ones that you brought into class with you.  Together, we created a system that worked.  From part-time jobs to family commitments, from health issues to stressful schedules, you did your best.   I respect that.

So, thank you for being my student: thank you for not giving up; thank you for taking risks; and thank you for opening your minds.

Thank you for being MY teacher:  thank you for teaching me not to give up; thank you for teaching me to take risks; and thank you for opening my mind.

I can’t wait to see what this year has in store.

Sincerely,

Your Teacher

 

Teacher to Student Part 1: Packing up my Desk

chaos or no chaos

I have been cataloguing my experience since leaving my teaching position to go back to school and immerse myself in the education of education – pedagogy, discourse, reflection, and practice.  I have divided my experiences into 6 parts.

Part 1: Packing up my desk

Part 2: Entering OISE

Part 3: An Inside Look: Practicum 1

Part 4: Returning as a Student

Part 5: A New Observation: Practicum 2

Part 6: The Next Step

Part 1 – Coming soon

Creative Commons License photo credit: Martin Pulaski

Theatrical Philosophy of Teaching ESL

Classroom before - chiew

As I grew up surrounded by teachers in my family, it was little surprise that I also wanted to join that field.  Nonetheless, I could have never imagined where in the world this incredibly inspiring profession would take me.

My ESL teaching ideology is deeply rooted in my passion for the performing arts.  My classrooms all contain hints of what I carry with me from my theatrical experience and degree in Theatre.

As an ESL instructor, I see this type of classroom as a “rehearsal space” for a much larger and more important performance: real life.  A teacher must come to know and understand students as a director would with its actors.  Neither a teacher nor a theatre director is there to provide all of the answers.  Instead, we are here to guide, to coach, and to inspire the learners.  The relationship we build in the classroom, or rehearsal space, should instill a sense of energy for students to want to learn and grow with the new language.

Like a director, who must bring forth useful tools for actors, a teacher is responsible for creating materials and demonstrating the devices required to succeed in the art of language learning, be it for reading, writing, listening, or speaking.  Naturally, all of these skills overlap and are used together in real life performance; therefore, a teacher needs to assist in this real-life preparation while acknowledging students’ different learning styles and aspirations.  From there, an instructor can implement effective lessons accordingly.

Most importantly, an ESL teacher must be willing to go an extra step to provide a comfortable learning space that allows students to achieve confidence: confidence to use new language outside of the classroom; confidence that they can achieve their goals if they work hard; confidence to not be afraid to make mistakes; and confidence to never stop exploring.  This will surely make them ready for the real stage, which is the whole reason teachers should step into the classroom to begin with.

The Three Cuckolds

 

 

 

 
Creative Commons License photo credit: Lower Columbia College

Creative Commons License photo credit: eltpics

 

 

Awards

Kristin’s Backpack won 1st Prize for TESL Ontario’s 2011 ESL Week Blog Contest.
About Me


Welcome to Kristin’s Backpack! I jumped on the blogging bandwagon in 2010 to share my Canadian-theatrical-backpacking perspective on my world adventures. With my return to Canada, I will continue to dig into my pockets and reflect on life as it has come to involve Teaching, Travel, and Theatre. Time to unzip the pockets!
Portfolios
Check out my past and current work here: 

Kristin's Library
Looking for some interesting reading material? Check out my Reading Picks and Bookworm post for some ideas! 

               
This is what summer is all about- finished a book yesterday and am on to the next today.  I just opened The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, which has been on my shelf for ages.  I have been extremely interested in reading accounts that stem from true stories in a dark history that is often swept to the side.  
At the same time, I have been listening to The Maze Runner series as an audio book and have been extremely captivated by the young characters’ circumstances and their view on the world.  
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