August 2015 archive

Happy Professors Series: Adventures in Thailand

DSC_4955 copy“I was incredibly fortunate to teach for four months through a volunteer program earlier this year in Phitsanulok, Thailand. I’ve traveled to so many places in the world, and it’s a goal of mine to visit as many places as I can, as often as I can. Luckily, as a college student, I was able to take some time off during my sophomore year to do this.

As a photographer, I was sure to document every moment and every city we visited. Whether we were petting tigers at Tiger Kingdom, riding elephants, visiting the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, or exploring the temples, it was all just wonderful.

I taught English at St. Paul’s Kindergarten and my students were amazing. We taught them English through playing sports, different games, kitchen activities, and making crafts. They also taught me about the culture and customs. It was a learning experience for everyone during those four months.

My journey with teaching involved a lot of out of the classroom preparation and setup. Living on campus and interacting with the students after school made for a hands on learning environment that was very fulfilling.

For me, teaching makes me happy when I can see the difference that I’m making with the students. When they finally understood something or said a sentence in perfect English; that’s when it felt rewarding.”

~ Stephanie

Taught in Phitsanulok, Thailand

Currently living in Idaho

The Scholarpreneur: A Valuable Resource for Anyone in Higher Education

cropped-IMG_01691.jpgIf you’re in higher education, stop what you’re doing and listen to The Scholarpreneur podcast.

Scott Rank has done a great job of getting insightful and untraditional academics involved in his website and podcast. From former tenured professors who now own thriving businesses, to adjuncts who now have their own clients and classes for purchase, to online instructors who make six-figures and offer best-selling books, The Scholarpreneur covers it all.

If you’re an aspiring, full-time, or part-time instructor, I highly recommend spending some well-deserved time listening to the podcast. The resources and tips within each 30-40 minute interview are worth a second listen when you’re ready to take notes.

Scott asks the questions you want answered, and his guests provide invaluable advice and action steps that listeners can truly use to their advantage.

Not to mention, he was a gracious host when I was a guest on the show the other week. In my opinion, he’s doing exactly what it seems other academics are moving toward (or should be moving toward):

Being strategic about the way your use your degree and teaching experience.

If you’re in academia, take a note from TheScholarpreneur.com, and get started on your own business idea, products, and personal website.

You can even get started by listening to my guest spot on The Scholarpreneur podcast:

http://thescholarpreneur.com/spp-022-working-part-time-but-earning-a-full-time-salary-by-teaching-online-with-erin-lovell-ebanks/

Happy teaching, learning, and listening!

The Pursuit of Less

DSC_3987 copyThe trend of sleep-deprived and overworked Americans is widely acknowledged.

Unfortunately, these days, it’s a badge of pride to say you’ve been “too busy” to work out, call a friend, prepare real food to eat, or even sit down.

From time to time, I feel myself falling into each of these categories.

What’s so great about being part of the “busy” culture?

Your priorities get turned around, and all the on-the-run eating, and neglect of social ties and loved ones are some of the worst things we could do for our own health and wellbeing.

I didn’t necessarily want to own up to a lot of what McKeown talked about in his book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, but I realized how easy and detrimental it is when we fall into the “busy” trap. When we slowly cut out an hour of exercise here, for an extra hour of work on a new project there.

It’s a gradual process that can slowly wear on a person until they decide to make some small changes to get back on track, or for some, need to do a complete overhaul of one’s life.

McKeown discussed essentialism as determining what should get done, and doing just that, while cutting out the excess.

He made some memorable points about working less, more slowly, and more purposefully to end up with better productivity and less burnout.

Maybe it’s okay to say “no,” to understand your limits, and to work less for the sake of living more.

So for now, try essentialism on for size. Slow down, look inward, and experience what living life more fully feels like.

Happy Professors Series: Learning and Teaching in Malaysia

DSC_3887 copy“My dream is to become a university professor in TESOL and to perform research on best teaching practices for English language learners; I want to work with students who are learning English.

Currently, I’m serving as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) at a Malaysian national secondary school named SMK Seri Nilam. My journey as a teacher started in 2014, but a lot has happened since then.

I first volunteered at the Center for Multilingual Multicultural Studies (CMMS) where I served as a conversation partner and spoke with students as a native English speaker. The students were from countries all around the world including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Morocco, China, Japan, South Korea, Columbia, and Guatemala.

Then I became a Supplemental Instructor at for a global college program in Orlando, Florida. The program aims to help international students transition into the American university system. My students were from Russia, Venezuela, and Brazil. I would attend classes with my students and give supplemental lessons to help them acquire the material and to review terms they did not understand. I also proofread their assignments and essays.

Then I received a Fulbright grant to travel to Malaysia as an English Teaching Assistant. I now teach English at a low-performing secondary school where the students’ English language ability ranges from beginning to intermediate. I try to make English fun and accessible to them by playing games, singing songs, and doing crafts.

Outside of the classroom, I paint murals with students and help with extracurricular activities such as Scrabble and Choral Speaking. I also organize English camps, which are intended to take the students out of the school setting and allow them to practice speaking English, oftentimes with other ETAs who are native English speakers. English camps typically have themes, such as beach cleanup, recycling, environmental conservation, art around the world, and women’s empowerment. And finally, I get to travel around Malaysia and to other countries during school holidays.

I love connecting with students and watching as they gain new ways to express themselves.

My students in Malaysia used to be extremely shy and lacked confidence. Whenever they saw me in the hallways, they would run away or giggle with their friends, but did not dare speak a single word to me for fear of being laughed at by their fellow peers and teachers.

Now, as I am walking down the hallways, the students call out to me and ask how I’m doing. I have one student who went from knowing only two words in English—coincidentally my name, “Miss Rose”—to speaking entire sentences about what her favorite food is and what her hobbies are.

The Malaysian education system is quite different from the American system, so being a teacher here has helped me grow and develop new strategies for making my classroom interactive and conducive to learning.

I feel very fortunate that my first students were from different countries around the world, and that they spoke a different native language and grew up in a different culture. I also feel very lucky that my teaching career is being formed by a community on the other side of the world. Teaching students from such diverse backgrounds has been challenging, but it has helped me understand more not only about other cultures and ways of living, but also about myself, my own culture, and my values.”

~ Rose
Currently teaching in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
Previously taught in Orlando, Florida