Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Hi all,

Wow, this week... is a blur. We've got Christmas off, of course, and Christmas Eve is short, at both my schools. So, I'm finishing early on Christmas Eve Day. We're driving from Toronto to Washington DC for the Holidays to see my mother and family for the first time in two years. I should be happy, right?

Well, I am, mostly, except that this causes my class schedule to shrink to the kind of rushed format I don't remember since Korea. Holy Smokes! I'm introducing 0, 1st, and 2nd Conditionals in one day, when I normally take 3. For those not Grammar nuts like me, that means I'm teaching students how to say "When it rains, it pours," "If it rains, I'll bring an umbrella," and "If it rained today, I'd bring an umbrella." Three different structures, three different meanings, all in one day. Oof!

My afternoon gig is similarly pressed-- We're doing the first week of the course in, essentially, three days.

I'm either way too dedicated to this job, or I'm just got my priorities backwards. I've been offered full-time by the morning job, but had to turn it down, since it wasn't enough hours. Working 40 hours a week is what I need, but they had only offered me Monday-Friday, 9-4, and 9-12 on Fridays. From a stress standpoint, that'd be awesome. From a financial perspective, not so much. I felt sorry to have to let them down, but that's the way it's gotta be.

This leads me to an interesting observation: ESL teachers don't get paid as much as you might think. We're getting there, mind you, but we're not unionized, and we're therefore not as well paid or protected as those in the public system. It's something I'd like to work on, when I'm a bit more established in the area and in the field.

I continue to pursue TESL Ontario and my B.Ed. I love TESL, but to make the kind of money I need to support a family, I need to work in the public system. As someone with 3 teachables before I even get into ESL, I should be able to find work as a teacher in the public system easily.

Different note: It's bizarre being back in Toronto in December. What happened to the weather, here? My Korean students all had this notion that Canada was this frozen wasteland, and then here I am in Toronto, and we've barely had any snow, much less cold weather, this winter.

I love winter: it's by far my favorite season. I love snow and ice, and I love the cold. But this ain't no Canadian winter.

Watch as I jinxed it. Sorry, everybody.


Sunday, December 13, 2009


Hi all,

Well, we're building up to Christmas time again. I'm looking forward to the vacation from work, short as it is, and to seeing my family for the first time in two years.

The short vacation comes from the nature of the ESL business--we never really close, and often end up working year-round with minimal vacation time. However, that said, I understand the reasoning: people who come from all over the world to study English here in Canada expect to still be able to attend school, even in what for Canadians would be holiday season.

It just means I'll be driving to Virginia on Christmas Eve. We're turning it into an adventure: we're going to stop in as often as we can at coffee shops to get Hot Chocolate, and I suspect that, by the end of the trip, my brain will no longer be able to handle any more Christmas Carols.

I'm almost done with my first round of units at the schools I work for, meaning I should be able to start recycling old material soon. Knowing me, I'll still be creating new stuff for use in the class, if only to avoid it getting stale/becoming boring for me and the students, but it's nice to know that there's an end in sight for this.

I still miss Korea--it was, as Jen puts it, a break from reality here. I begin to understand why some call it just that. In Korea, one didn't have to worry so much about bills or constant lesson prep. On the one hand, I miss how easy that was.

On the other hand, I'm glad to be doing what I do--I think it'll serve me in good stead for Teacher's College, down the line, and I am really enjoying some of my classes.

All the best to you and yours this Holiday Season.