ESL- The Last Week

20160126_110438Two main lasts are happening this week.  I’m happy about having only a last couple of days without Ryan but I’m sad that today is my last day of teaching because I have my final evening class.  I really enjoy teaching ESL to adults.  As much as I love teaching kids, adults are motivated and interesting in a different kind of way.  I have loved getting to know my students and their stories.  I will miss them.  20160126_110303And they will miss me.  Yesterday during my last morning class the students surprised me with a party complete with a cake, flowers, cards, pizza and other food.  I really appreciate their effort and planning.  It made the day extra special.  I wish all the students could have been a part of it but that’s one of the realities of working with adults, they come to class around their work and kid schedules.  This is only a part of the awesome class that made teaching so enjoyable for me.  Maybe in the future, I will have an opportunity to teach English again.

A Day in My Life

Although Ryan and I are moving towards Australia, we are still doing our best to be present and make the most of our relationships, jobs and life here.  So coming back from Atlanta, I dove right back into work.  Monday was filled with meetings and today I was back in the classroom.

For my adult ESL class we reviewed different tenses based on their level, did worksheets, had conversations and finished the class with a writing activity in their journals.  Writing is a skill and editing is another skill.  We’re currently working on both and I use this handy little chart to remind the students what main things to be looking for when editing their own work as well as editing each other’s work.  This class is super motivated and they really enjoy learning and working together.  It’s nice to teach students who you know are there and ready to learn.
The Editing Cycle

While my first class of the day was pretty tame.  My ABE class (adult basic education) is always a little more upbeat and lively.  We reviewed numbers and colors and what plants need to grow.  This whole term we are focusing on plants but we throw in other basic knowledge and skills to keep the students interested and learning.  And we try to do activities that engage all their senses including videos like this one when we’re counting, we might as well exercise at the same time.  This class loves coloring and listening to 50’s music while they work.  They take every opportunity to get up, dance and move.

More Teaching Hours

My stacks of teaching materials and papers are currently expanding.  In an effort to allow Ryan to work less while we’re in transition to Australia, I’ve taken on more hours at work.  I now have three classes that I regularly teach at the local adult school.  These classes include the multi-level ESL class that I’ve been regularly teaching since the end of April at a local plumbing company, Mr. Rooter.  This course will hopefully continue to grow and expand despite some of the recent challenges.


I’m also teaching a level 3/4 ESL combination class two mornings a week.  I subbed for this class regularly last year and I am excited about working with my co-teacher who will be in the class the other 3 mornings a week.  Level 3 and 4 is great because, as another teacher put it, the students already know a lot but they still have a lot to learn.  It’s exciting to continue to work with adults who come to class because they are motivated and excited to learn.

And if you look closely at the picture of materials, you might also catch a glimpse of a biology book.  No, I haven’t magically become a science teacher but my third class is an ABE class.  ABE stands for Adult Basic Education.  I will be co-teaching with two others teachers in a class of about 50 adult students with varying degrees of disabilities.  These men and women are also very excited about learning and this year many of our lessons will be centered around plants and planting.  We have a grant that will allow us to buy and plant succulents which is a great hands on activity.  So I’ll be working on some simple lessons that teach about plants, growth and basic biology.

These classes are great opportunities for me to keep learning and growing in my teaching and educating abilities.  It especially fun to be able to work cooperatively with other teachers who bring in their own unique ideas and abilities.  Although Ryan and my ultimate goal is still Australia, I know this time will not be wasted and I’m excited to see what this semester has in store.

The Beach and the Rain


As I write this post we are listening to rolling thunder.  With our drought, any rain is exciting and although we’ve had some sprinkles today, the real rain remains elusive.  Ryan and I went on a two hour walk around Camarillo hoping to enjoy some of the promised scattered showers but we didn’t feel a drop.  Please pray that California would receive rain.  For my weather loving husband, this is an exciting time to keep watching the radar.


Yesterday was beautiful, slightly windy and a wonderful day to spend at the beach.  Not a raincloud, or any cloud for that matter, in sight.  Ryan and I took one of the students I teach online to the Santa Monica.  She is spending a few weeks in California for the summer.  It was fun to meet her and show her some of the great places California has to offer.  Since she arrived in California on Wednesday, she was still dealing with jet lag.  But napping on the beach was just the ticket.  Ryan did some body surfing and I relaxed and enjoyed the sun.

Teacher Appreciation Week

20150512_111006I was hired just in time for Teacher Appreciation Week.  Of course, I’ve been subbing for about a year now but this is the first Teacher Appreciation Week that I’ve been official staff.  It’s sweet to be included in the festivities.  I was handed a card complete with a hand written note from the principal yesterday and today was included in the passing out of shiny red apples.  Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to all my teacher friends!

ESL and Mr. Rooter

Typically plumbing is not synonymous with ESL.  However, I don’t tend to stay on the typical path so I’m excited about my newest work opportunity.  Today I start my first Adult Ed teaching assignment (other than subbing) and it happens to be sponsored as well as take place at a local Mr. Rooter.  The company is starting this class for their employees and also opening it up for the community.

Mr. Rooter

This class is definitely a great opportunity but it also presents some challenges.  It will be a multi-level class and today I’m walking in only knowing generally what level the students might be.  But I have a lot of support from other teachers and the Adult school so I’m excited about all the possibilities.  Teaching adults is wonderful because they are self motivated and they attend these classes because they want to learn.  I’m really looking forward to getting to know this class and maybe I’ll learn something about plumbing too.

“My” Classroom


Welcome to my classroom.  Well, it’s not really my classroom because another teacher uses it for the evening class and I’m just the substitute for the morning class.  But for the next three weeks, at least, I will be teaching the morning ESL class for pre-literate students.  I’ve already been subbing for this class part-time and I jumped at the chance to take over the class full-time when the other substitute needed to back out due to prior commitments.

The students in this class are great.  They are adults from the surrounding community and include Spanish and Thai speakers.  We’re doing very basic English but it’s fun to watch the students discover and help them with the challenges of English.

Going Crazy for Curriculum

For those of you who don’t know, part of my part-time job is developing curriculum for an online ESL school.  Teaching English through the computer is a great use of technology but the classroom takes on a whole different feel.  Activities have to be modified and lesson plans have to be innovative but that’s what makes it interesting.  In the end students get the benefits of using new technology and having a native English speaking teacher.

I’ve just spent the last couple hours sorting through ESL videos and working on the structure for the latest set of ESL lessons.  Since the first lessons are geared towards younger learners, the videos and activities need to be energetic and engaging.  For example an example of the ideas we pull from, you can check out this YouTube video (The Shake Shake Song) from MapleLeafLearning.  I like it because it combines the new body part vocabulary with actions and singing.  You can’t listen to this song without doing a little shake!

whatdoyoulikesongAnd I also have been getting to know the characters and people in the videos that we tend to draw from.  This is Marty Moose.  He is from Canada. He knows how to make pizza and ski and play the guitar.  He’s a pretty talented moose.

Although the work can sometimes be tedious because organization, consistency and cohesion make a curriculum easy to use and follow, it’s great to be able to be creative once again and take advantage of my multi-tasking mind.  I’m thankful for a job that I enjoy, where I can learn and also create.


Yellow Roses and June Gloom

This morning was cool and overcast signaling the start of “June Gloom“.  But as I walked out of the house to substitute teach, I was greeted by a bush filled with yellow roses.  These sunny, lovely smelling roses made my morning.

IMG_0325When I got to the school, the marine layer was already breaking up.  And I walked into the classroom to find a lesson plan all about the weather and June Gloom.  It was fun to discuss the weather with the students as well as learn about some of the causes of June Gloom.  We discussed the meaning of ‘onshore’ and ‘offshore’, ‘clockwise’ and ‘counterclockwise’ and something called the ‘Catalina eddy’.  This was a useful topic for the students because the weather is something that is discussed a lot and it’s something we have to live through.  The consensus was that because most of them come from much warmer places, they enjoy the generally cooler weather found on the Southern California Coast.

I personally would rather deal with June Gloom than the Santa Ana winds.  There is something beautiful about walking along a cool, overcast beach in the summer.  I think this week might deserve a beach trip.  A cool beach and yellow roses.  A lovely start to summer.  Happy beginning of June everyone!