A little bit about me...

May 24, 2017

I just thought I would share my teaching history and how this site came about!

I was always interested in other languages as a child and growing up I wanted to know how to speak in another language. I moved schools a few times and had lessons in a different language at each school. Italian, French, Japanese and Indonesian. I was never fluent in any language but I loved doing French in high school, I became quite proficient in Indonesian through further study and Japanese had always interested me as I loved the culture. I now do Karate and the instructions and counting are all in Japanese so I am hearing it regularly. 

I began teaching in late 2004 and at the same time began learning Indonesian. I had heard about a course designed for teachers to teach a Language Other Than English and, although I was interested in pursuing French or Japanese, I was told that Indonesian would be the way to go. About six weeks into my studies, I had signed contracts with three different schools teaching Indonesian from Grades 3 through to 9. As I am sure you would understand, as a beginning teacher, I took whatever work was offered. What a mistake! It was a huge disaster, sadly and I struggled. I struggled because I didn't know enough of the language to teach it. I struggled because I did not have any resources to begin with. I started purchasing textbooks that were recommended by other teachers and whatever I could get my hands on. I would get frustrated when I would spend money on textbooks and only use a few pages. The biggest issue was that I didn't understand how to teach LOTE. Teaching a Language Other Than English (or English as a second language) is far different to any other subject. Teachers need a sound knowledge of the language before they set foot into a classroom. Most teachers could probably take a lesson in any other subject if they had a lesson plan or textbook to follow, but without knowing a language it is near impossible. 

I floundered and struggled and felt overwhelmed and cried many times and felt like a big failure. I battled on with it for two years and then I accepted some work teaching a classroom and I felt relieved at the time to not have to worry about teaching LOTE. 

A few years later, contracts had ended and I wound up contacting schools trying to get some work. One school responded and asked me to teach Indonesian one day per week. I really didn't want to, but it was work and I didn't want to turn it down. So I made a promise to myself to give it a go, to work as hard as I could on making my lessons fun and enjoyable for my students. I read everything I could about teaching LOTE and used all of my knowledge up to that point about what students enjoy doing and what they find motivating in the classroom. Then I started creating my own resources, putting it all together. I spent every single weekend cutting and laminating game cards. I made sure each week that I would be organised for the following week. Instantly I had success. It was a lot of work. I spent many hours working on creating resources that linked to a topic, and the types of games and activities that students would enjoy doing. I found a balance between making my lessons enjoyable for students, while still building up their language proficiency. 

I started to think about putting my knowledge together and maybe publishing a book filled with teaching resources and everything that I had created. Over time I decided to go with a website where people could purchase the resources that they wanted to use. I have so much that I want to share and I can't wait to have it all available. My main aim to for other teachers to not go through what I went through as a beginning teacher. 



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