Number one for English language teachers

Laura McGinnis

Laura moved to the Czech Republic shortly after graduation, and started working for a small language school in Prague. At the time of writing this diary, she was in her second year as an English teacher.

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  • Mobile phones

    Author: Laura McGinnis Type: Reference material

    I hear it while I’m taking attendance: the muted beep followed by rapid clicking. Technically, class doesn’t start for three minutes so I let it slide, but I decide to say something before I start teaching.

  • Error correction

    Author: Laura McGinnis Type: Reference material

    “How do I correct this?” I ask myself. With two weeks to go is it more important to increase confidence or accuracy? Do I stress my faith in them, or do I scare them into a kamikaze course of listening preparation? As I proceed through the list, the audible and visible signs of their distress increase and I'm beginning to panic a bit myself. What's my responsibility here? With a limited amount of time for improvement, what's the most important error for me to identify and correct?

  • Private students

    Author: Laura McGinnis Type: Reference material

    A few weeks ago, I got a call from a woman I didn’t know. She’d got my number from an American she met at a nightclub that weekend, she said, and gave the name of a distant acquaintance, a friend of a friend I’d met a week before. “Great,” I thought. “So this guy gets drunk and starts handing out my number to random Czechs.” I was making a mental note to start screening my calls when she asked if I’d be willing to give private lessons. A friend of hers wanted to improve ...

  • Subbing sick

    Author: Laura McGinnis Type: Reference material

    On Friday I awoke with the kind of cough I’d once heard a doctor describe, rather euphemistically, as “productive". It’s a pleasant word, productive, calling to mind industrious little ants, or a Stalinesque five-year plan, and kind of glosses over the detail that all this “productivity” is making inhalation a rather tricky process. I decided to skip my weekly Czech lesson, hoping that an extra hour of sleep would effect some kind of medical miracle, but it was no use.

  • A walk in the city

    Author: Laura McGinnis Type: Reference material

    Because only half of them are there, because it really is a beautiful day, and mostly because I know that the lesson I’ve planned is fairly dull, I consent. But there are some ground rules. We are taking a tour of Prague, and they will have to tell me about the sites that we pass. In addition, they must give me directions to each site before we walk there, since Direction Giving was the topic of today’s scrapped lesson. So for the next hour, we walk through the tourist district of Prague, ...

  • Mikulas

    Author: Laura McGinnis Type: Reference material

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