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Welcome to WARS Tuesday 31 Mar 2020

There is a growing clamour for railway journeys these days, rather than taking flights, more and more people are choosing to travel by rail in their down time, especially overnight.  In Vienna there is now a movement towards taking a sleeper wagon to any part of Europe or even beyond.   High speed train services have reduced travelling times considerably.  It takes 10 and a half hours from Paris to Rome with no hotel fee either.  Flight-Shame has led to more people travelling by rail, especially in Nordic countries, and longer distance sleeper routes are now opening up between European cities and beyond.   By Bazakbal


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Symptoms of Culture Shock: Face Ache and… Monday 09 Mar 2020

Possibly the biggest effect of culture shock I’ve experienced was during my first teaching contract in Japan.  Prior to the football World Cup in 2002 there were not that many signs or labels in English, so it wasn’t unusual for me to get completely lost and buy fish noodles instead of a lovely dessert. And of course, there’s the spoken language confusion – I ended up kicking out my slippered feet and shaking my chest samba-style (which doesn’t look great on a man) with a load of elderly Japanese ladies instead of the salsa lesson I had been looking forward to.                                                    By Dave


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A Crisis in Teaching Confidence - My Japanese Saint Trinian’s Experience Monday 02 Mar 2020

I had a confidence crisis in my teaching ability a few years ago on an intensive four-week English course for a cohort of Japanese high school girls who had come over to the UK.  Any positive preconceptions of what the class would be like were dashed during the first lesson… I realized I was in for a challenging time.  I had to explain to my beginner-level class that they had to use the door to enter the classroom, not the window.  It was also the first time I’d had to add to my classroom rules that you were not allowed to bark like a dog, it sounded like Crufts initially.                                                     By Dave

 


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TEFL Nightmares - ‘Enough is Enough, I Quit!’ Tuesday 25 Feb 2020

Doubts had already started to grow in my mind about the new TEFL job I’d accepted teaching business English in Benghazi, Libya (before the overthrow of Gaddafi). Just getting to Libya had been a comedy of errors. To cap a frustrating 48-hour journey from the UK I was then asked to do the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever encountered as a teacher.  Standing outside the apartment I was meant to share with my colleague my boss asked if I wouldn’t mind physically throwing out the teacher I was replacing who was refusing to leave the flat after being sacked.   I dropped my suitcases full of TEFL books on the ground and tried to remain calm as I informed my DoS that I was getting on the first plane out of Libya if they didn’t put me in a hotel till they sorted this mess out.


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How do you deal with a problem student? 5 tips that might help Friday 21 Feb 2020

There are times when you meet a class for the first time and you immediately become aware of a student with ‘attitude’ … to put it politely.  You can almost hear the theme tune to the Omen films in the background as the student looks on in a sometimes condescending manner, slouched in their seat while using their mobile phone.  You might notice that the other students try to avoid the problem student – this may indicate that the student has an issue with everyone, not just you, and is something which is important to remember.  Here are five tips that might help you deal with ‘demon in the classroom’:


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Moral dilemmas - When should a teacher bend the rules? Wednesday 19 Feb 2020

Should a teacher ever break a school’s rules? If so, when?  A few years ago, I faced a situation where if I didn’t break the regulations, I would have been haunted by the consequences.  I worked at a high school for boys in the Middle East as an English teacher.  One of my students had been raped by one of his peers.  After serving a six-month sentence in prison, the rapist was bizarrely returned to the victim’s school. 


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How (not) to make an impression with your head of department Monday 17 Feb 2020

I arrived at the two-week teacher training session back in England full of excitement at the prospect of an opportunity to enjoy the comforts of home which I’d missed in the Middle East.  To add to the wonderful experience the college had organised a Welcome Pimm’s event where teachers and course leaders could meet and get acquainted over a relaxing drink.  I picked up my lovely tall glass of Pimm’s with the customary fruit floating in it and got involved in a conversation with two other teachers.


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How do you deal with mixed level classes? 5 tips to help you cope Friday 14 Feb 2020

Split level classes can feel like teaching two or more classes at the same time; they certainly tend to demand more energy and monitoring – some might describe it more as patrolling!  Your higher-level students may get bored and can then be disruptive while your lower level students lose motivation and become disengaged.  Here are five tips to help you cope and keep the students engaged:


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Most Embarrassing Moments in the Classroom Wednesday 12 Feb 2020

This didn’t happen to me thankfully, but it happened to a former colleague of mine at my university.  After reading this, you will never make the same mistake!  Some of the lecture halls at the campus were fitted out with the most up-to-date audio equipment where instructors just had to clip a wireless microphone to their clothes and that would ensure that everyone in the auditorium could hear the speaker.


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