The good folks over at International TEFL Academy are having an article writing contest for their alumni, so I thought I’d put something together to submit to them.  See below for a link to the article that I submitted that is now up on ITA’s website:Tommy Joiner/ ITA Article Here is a copy of the article that I wanted to throw up on the blog as well: Teaching English Abroad: What’s in it for you? A perspective on teaching English abroad from ITA Alumnus Tommy Joiner          …Continue Reading “Teaching English Abroad: What’s in it for you?”

I found this TED talk and wanted to make sure that I got it up on my blog because it’s something that I thought about often when I first came to Korea.  The whole world is obsessed with learning the English language, this much is clear.  When you first start teaching English as a second language, however you can’t help but wonder whether you are contributing to the elimination of cultural diversity.  It has often crossed my mind that I may in some way be…Continue Reading “English Mania”

Recently during some of my lower level ESL classes, I was starting to get bored with the lesson plans that I had been using (as were my students).  So I decided to spice things up a little bit by creating a lesson that centered around using some of the words and phrases I had recently taught in class with a real live English speaker.  I contacted one of my best friends from back home (thanks Max Green) and got him on the line via Skype…Continue Reading “Skype Lessons”

As previously mentioned, everyday I find a new quote that I post on Twitter for my students.  At the beginning of every class, we discuss the quote.  Lately, I’ve been on a Michael Jordan kick, so today I expanded upon a quote that I found by MJ and made the whole focus of the class Michael Jordan.  I found an old interview on Youtube that I used for today’s lesson in addition to the following quote by the big man himself:”I’ve failed over and over…Continue Reading “"I wanna be like Mike!"”

I use these with my advanced level English students all the time to help with comprehension and to create discussion.  Ironically, my advanced level students are the easiest to teach since they speak English almost fluently.  That being said, even my advanced level students have difficulty understanding conversational English and these videos really help to develop their listening skills.  Additionally, the topics of most TED talks are by no means elementary so it forces my students to activate their critical thinking skills and develop an…Continue Reading “TED Talks for learning English”

In one of my last posts, I mentioned that I start all of my advanced level conversational English courses with a quote (Quote of the Day).  The quotes that I use in class vary in theme (motivational, inspirational  humorous  love, etc.) and I try to keep them as diverse as possible.  In this post I will explain how I go about breaking these things down with my students.1.) The first step is to select a quote.  I begin by poking around on and select a quote…Continue Reading “Quote of the Day (breaking it down)”

Shot this video the other day asking a few of my students to answer the question: “Why is it important for you to learn English?”  It’s amazing to see just how important it is to the people that I teach to learn English as a means to enhance themselves professionally and personally.  I realize how lucky I am to have been born a native English speaker in our global community and how many opportunities there are in the world for people who speak English.

One of the coolest things about my job and working at a Hagwon (private language academy) is the fact that I get to teach students of all different ability levels and ages.  At first, I found it quite challenging to adjust my lesson plans so drastically but now that I’m a month into the gig, I’ve learned to appreciate the variety.  I don’t have any strict guidelines that I have to adhere to, so I get to design lessons on my own for all of…Continue Reading “English Teaching Ideas”

So, I’ve technically only been here for two and a half weeks but I feel like I’ve figured out a lot about teaching English in a hagwon in South Korea within a short period of time.  It is only appropriate that I share my wisdom with those of you following my journey (especially to anyone reading this blog that thinks they might be interested in teaching here in the future).  Please see below for 5 questions that you need to ask yourself prior to making the leap…..1.) Do…Continue Reading “Teaching English in Korea (hagwon style)”