It’s all worth it…

A co-worker here said it best when he said that teaching is a real gamble with your mood. A student can single handedly ruin or brighten a teacher’s day. This wonderful student who I had in class last cycle really brightened my day…


Don’t laugh at other people’s mistakes… unless their mistakes are really funny.

A new class cycle started at EF this week, which means I am busy learning a ton new names, answering all kinds of questions about the United States, trying to create a class room environment that will set my students up for success!

On the first day of class, the students and I draft a class rules contract together. I want to know what kind of learning environment the students want and, maybe I’m an optimist, but I like to think they are more likely to follow rules that they had a say in making. Then all of us, including me, sign it. All of our rules are important, but I think the most important one is “don’t laugh at other people’s mistakes”. Unfortunately, this rule is really difficult to follow when some mistakes are hilarious.

Next weekend is the English First Spelling Bee, so we’ve been having preliminary rounds in our classes. Now, you don’t have to tell me that English spelling is really f-ing hard. 7th grade me who almost failed spelling knows that is a fact. Last night, my Trailblazers (junior high school students) were really struggling with the list, but boy did they try hard and have good spirits. Since not a single student shined above the others, throwing our “don’t laugh at other people’s mistakes” rule out the window was pretty easy when it came to the “creative spellings” of certain words. Being able to laugh at “creative spellings” was also the only way any of us made it through the written preliminary round of the spelling bee. Below are some of my favorites.


upstekle, upsteghel, upstackel, upthegirl, upstickle


hamousefear, hammisvier, hamsfire, humasfire, famousepear, famousfire


anets, anash, anoes, ones


losed, losted, losuth, lostshoot, lostshod, losuete, lostside, losset


smooth, smunch, smeche, smoke, smujg, smact, smach, smurft

In the kids’ defense, I don’t think that words like “smudge” have any place in a spelling bee.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

Apart from my blog’s subtitle and the ‘About Me’ page, I’ve really downplayed the fact that I’m in Indonesia teaching English. Teaching ESL abroad offers so many opportunities for growth for everyone involved. Below is a picture of the classroom rules that my students and I made together. At the first meeting of every new class, I like to go over classroom guidelines and let the students play a role in deciding what should and shouldn’t be done in the classroom. Then, we talk about how following each of these rules will help us all learn better and after everyone agrees, we all, including me, we all sign the bottom of the page. I love this class’ rule sheet because of the awesome pictures that the students drew to accompany each rule.

Working together in following these rules, I hope that my students’ English skills will grow. I hope that I will grow as a teacher. And  I hope that we all grow as global citizens.