Number one for English language teachers

Awkward questions and situations

A selection of your classroom anecdotes involving awkward questions and situations.

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    I've been teaching English to the Business students at the Universidad Austral de Chile in Valdivia, the south of Chile and for more than 14 years now, I've been teaching to freshmen who scarcely know some very basic English. These students are usually both fascinated and terrified with the experience of having a class completely talked in English when they feel they are just beginning.

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    There were 10 - 11 year old kids in my class where I taught English and French. One day one of the kids asked me about 'Sida' or Aids in English as it came up in our conversation. I was happy to explain (in French) this subject for the first time as it is regarded as a taboo here in our society. I was feeling very happy about my explanation as all the kids were very interested in my explanation. It was as if they heard about it for the first time. So, the children were all in a complete ...

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    I teach Russian at an American university, where I study for my MA in TESOL. One of the problems I had is to remember students' names. Some of groups are big, and all names are foreign to me, but I always try to learn them as soon as I can.

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    Last year I was teaching an all-male class of post-beginners with slightly unrealistic academic aspirations. I liked the students but wasn't keen on teaching them because they were in such a rush to get on to more advanced grammar and vocabulary that they didn't pay attention to basics. Progress was slow.

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