Lessons Learned from a First Year ESL Teacher

1. Creativity is key

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Did you ever have a teacher who exclusively taught from an outdated, horribly written textbook + workbook combo? I did. And do you know what I learned from them? NOTHING. I’ve learned that classes should be really fun and engaging and as a teacher you should always try to make it seem like a different form of entertainment. Any subject can be interesting if you sprinkle some creativity into it. (I once made a dating game to practice physical description words)

2. Teaching is exhausting

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As a student you don’t fully comprehend or even try to understand the effort your teacher is making. Your job as a student is to sit, listen, and learn. Your job as a teacher is to facilitate, present, listen, ask 1 billion questions, get everyone involved, try to be creative, manage the classroom, I could keep going but I think you get the drift.

3. Don’t underestimate your audience

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Just to clue you in, in my classes I talk in English 100% of the time. Even with my super young students (5year olds), and they can still understand what I want them to do. They can follow directions, and even answer a lot of questions. It’s easy to disregard small kids’ intelligence, but I wouldn’t.

4. Things will go wrong, learn to BS

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How many times was the Internet down, my PowerPoint was broken, or an activity I planned didn’t take up the whole class period? More than once. But thinking on your toes is essential in teaching. I learned to BS my way through a class period by playing a random game, thinking of a last minute activity, or resorting to asking tons of questions.

5. Become fluent in body language

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It is SO easy to tell when students (or any audience) is not interested in what you are saying or doing. When you notice people’s eyes starting to glaze over, you have to switch it up and be a bit creative (refer to lesson 1). Don’t just keep doing what you’re doing because it’s obviously super boring.

So I know most of you aren’t ESL teachers, but I think the lessons I’ve learned as a teacher can be applied to any career field. Being creative and adaptable, knowing your audience, and thinking on your feet are invaluable skills for anyone.

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Weekly Recap Vol. 3

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I forgot to do my weekly recap on Monday! My weekend was super low key, but I did have a pretty good week:

* There was a really cool storm coming through while I was on one of my Lakeshore runs

* I crashed an Optimus party with some of my Leo Burnett amigos, so fun!

* I wrote this post about what it’s like being a twin, spoiler: it’s pretty great

* I went to the conservatory and Lincoln Park Zoo with some friends, and we had an absolute blast

* Chicago is chuck full of street art, it seems like every corner I turn there’s another masterpiece on a brick canvas

If Cities Were Stereotypes from High School

1. NYC: most popular

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This cities’ reputation proceeds it, and it’ll f*ck you you over in more ways than one. Sounds a little like the popular kids in high school…

2. Paris: best dressed

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For anyone who asks, Parisians and the city itself (buildings, cafes, even the alleys) are just as glamorous as the media portrays. Much like that girl who always wore amazing outfits while everyone else slumped around the halls in sweats.

3. Madrid: most social

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Cheap, chill, and super chatty. Madrid’s atmosphere is easy-going, to say the least. You’ll always be welcomed with a nice double-cheek kiss, similarly to the kid in high school who transcended social boundaries, and was somehow friends with every person on Earth.

4. Amsterdam: most attractive

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With endless canals, pastel-colored buildings, and rows of house boats: Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Although they’re known for their cannabis consumption, but it should really be highlighted for everything being so effing beautiful.

5. Chicago: best personality

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Big city glam, with rural town charm. Most of the inhabitants are kind and welcoming (in comparison to other cities). Not to mention the pure magnetism of the breath-taking skyline & lakefront combo.

6. London: most likely to succeed

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This city basically exudes “my way or the highway” type attitude, it doesn’t take shit from anyone or anything. I mean, come on, just look at how they drive. As in, they are one of the very few countries that drive on the left side of the road, forcing all travelers to abandon all previously held beliefs about societal movement. They don’t just drive on the left side: people also walk on the left side, go up the stairs on that side, and the escalators are switched. Talk about a true bossy pants.

Currently Craving: Home Goods

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1. // 2. // 3. // 4. // 5. // 6. //

Logan (my boyfriend) and I just moved into our first apartment sans roommates! I feel so adult! But since I was an RA in college, and Logan lived in a studio, we are seriously lacking on some home goods. I’m typing this as the painters are moving around me painting our whole apartment white (it’s currently a weird mix of burgundy, blue, and brown from the last tenant).

Our place is pretty massive for a one bedroom (at least to me), so I’d love to fill the space with some shelving units that we can put pictures, plants, and knick knacks in. I’m also dying over this Madrid Etsy print. Since Logan and I taught there for a year, Spain is close to our hearts. That headboard makes my heart happy, and it would make reading before bed so comfy!

What kinds of things are you currently craving?

#thisgeneration vs #lastgeneration

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I saw this campaign on tumblr a few weeks ago, and it made me have a lot of thoughts about my feelings and feelings about my thoughts. The gist of these designs by Ajit Johnson is that #thisgeneration is too reliant on the internet, too self-involved, and, from what I can tell, just down right stupid. Like aren’t we all sick of hating on millennials yet, or no?

Since I grew up during the digital revolution #90sKid, I had a first row seat to the rise of at-home internet, a home computer, and even the invention of the first smartphone (yeah, I’m basically ancient). It’s because of these experiences, I think my generation is especially aware of the the true capabilities of the internet; not just for looking up directions or a recipe – but as a means to build relationships, self-educate, and [obviously] as a source of entertainment.

Social Media connects you with new and different people

Nothing is bad about gaining world perspective from the comfort of your own home. Websites like tumblr and twitter encourage constant communication and the exchanging of ideas between people who are very different from you. Whether you’re chatting with someone on the other side of the world, or the other side of your country – you’re being exposed to new opinions and ideas. Sounds like personal growth 101 to me.

Social Media literally bridges distance

I lived and worked in Spain for a year, and it was thanks to Facebook, Instagram, and FaceTime that I was able to stay hyper connected with my main squeezes. It also made me feel like I was still in touch with my at-home culture, and the lives of my friends and family. Thanks interwebz!

Social Media is an educational tool

I’m an avid tumblr scroller, and the website has really opened my eyes to huge social issues happening all around me that I may not otherwise be aware of. Tumblr users can post content that may not be in the big news circulation, but still needs awareness. A lot of my education about the LGBTQ community, and other minority classes has come from tumblr users who share news stories, published works, or personal experiences that I otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to.

So next time you eye-roll at a millennial on their phone, keep in mind the true good these platforms can bring to our society.

What It’s Like to be a Twin

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I have been “#blessed” to have been born an identical twin! That’s right, there is someone walking around who looks just like me, so I guess the world is #blessed as well, did I just use that phrase twice in two sentences? Well I’ve decided to answer some FAQ questions we’ve gotten over the years from friends, family, and random ass strangers.

How can I tell you apart?

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This is only from our newbie friends. Because once you get to know us, you can easily tell us apart. But just for shits and giggles: I have a nose ring, and a mole on my right cheek, Kayla (my twin), does not.

Can you feel their pain? 

Ummmm what….? No.

How do you know you are you when you wake up, and you aren’t actually Kayla?

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Again, ummm what….? Yes we have legitimately gotten this question more than once.

Can you read the other’s mind?

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Yes!

LOL JK. But we usually are on the same wavelength, and more often than you would guess we say the same thing at the same exact time. Or I’ll text her something she was JUST about to text me. Not to mention, when we show up at the same place wearing essentially identical outfits… But I think these things happen because Kayla and I are freakishly close, like seriously guys, we are the poster twins for being BFFs.

Do you like being a twin?

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DUH! Being a twin is like being served your soul mate on a golden platter. I honestly feel bad for everyone else, because I cannot possibly imagine not having this kind of relationship in my life #sorrynotsorry. Obviously, I don’t know what it’s like to not be a twin (I’ve been one my entire life hahaha), but I assume the grass is greener over here where I am.

What’s the worst thing about being a twin?

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The list of cons is very short, but I’d say identity is the biggest struggle for twins. People often lump the two of you together into one mega personality, but Kayla and I are very different. This was especially prevalent growing up because we were involved in the same activities (we were tennis doubles partners), had the same friends group, and just generally liked doing everything together. But Kayla and I went to different colleges in different states, and I even moved abroad for a year – so we’ve come a long way in developing our own identities. But, honestly, if I have to be lumped together with another person, I’m really lucky it’s her.

twinsSELFIE

My Favorite Part of the Day

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I’m definitely a morning person; it’s my favorite time of the day! I think my circumstances growing up kind of forced me into being a morning person. Wow, that sounds really dramatic seeing as how my “circumstances” involved an enormous floor-to-ceiling window that woke me up early every morning for 18 years. Whatever, the point is I really like mornings and I have a few reasons why.

But first coffee

I can blame my boyfriend for getting me hooked on this caffeine-riddled delicacy. I started drinking coffee during my senior year of high school, and let me tell you, I felt like a total bad ass. Trucking my little travel mug to first period made me feel soooo grown up. My addiction has grown up with me, and I look forward to my favorite cup of joe every morning.

Morning talk shows

I watch the Today show every single morning. I’m not sure why I love morning TV so much, but maybe it;s because the news on these shows is a bit lighter and fluffier, and gets me in an optimistic mood for the day. Hip hip hooray for news stories centering around puppy dogs, and the latest salad trends.

Daily Skimm

On a more serious note, I recently subscribed to the Daily Skimm, and I’m already obsessed. They send you an email every morning with summaries of major national and international news. It’s a great digestible way to stay informed on national and global issues, something I think is super important.

Possibility

I guess my real love affair with the early hours of the day lies in the truth that there’s endless possibility for what will happen in the next 16 hours. Especially since I’m unemployed at the moment, my day is really a blank canvas *cheesy.*

What’s your favorite part of the day?

What It Feels Like to be an “Introvert”

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I remember when I learned about introversion and extroversion in my college psych class, and it felt like a wave of relief to me. Growing up in the U.S. is basically like living in the extroversion olympics (events include: speed friending, joking 101, conversation starters on crack, and how fast you can fill a moment of silence). What’s up with that?

It’s not just the education system that celebrates these social butterflies, but the trend continues well into adulthood and the workplace. I’ve noticed the celebratory atmosphere that surrounds people who can easily network, say every opinion they have in meetings, and spend 45 minutes talking about every minute detail of their weekend is still ever-present .

I don’t mean to hate on extroverts, but it’s necessary to celebrate the quiet and calculated introverts that make up 50% of our society.

So what exactly is does it feel like to be an introvert? Obviously these are all based on my own opinions.

I like being around people, but it’s also really draining

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Just because I consider myself an introvert doesn’t mean I hate people. I actually have quite a few close friends that I really enjoy spending time with *call CNN*. I like going to parties with lots of people, but afterwards I definitely need some alone time.

I realllyyyyy enjoy my alone time

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Reading, writing, tumbling, watching 10 hours of Netflix, whatever the alone activity is I really enjoy doing it on my own.

All I need is me, myself, and I

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I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, do you know what that means?! I think one of the best things about being an introvert is the fierce independence that goes along with it. I know a lot of people who need to do things with other people all. the. time. And these extroverts usually find things like seeing a movie alone, or eating by yourself really daunting – but not I!

Introverts need less stimulation than extroverts 

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So this is one of the reasons introverts find parties, networking events, or big groups draining. Because they need less stimulation than extroverts. So when your at a place/event with lots of shit going on, it’s kind of overwhelming, and you’ll definitely need some quality internet alone time post-event.

My 5 All-time Favorite Reads

I grew up doing those little library summer reading programs where you get little prizes for reading “x” amount of books, when the summer ended I continued reading for rewards during the school year with the infamous Pizza Hut Personal pizza reading program. But now, at the ripe old age of 22, I read because it’s actually fun. So I guess bribing kids to read with pizza, and cheap toys really does fuel a lifetime love of literature.

I’m going to be real with you, my reading preferences are pretty superficial. I enjoy classic YA novels, murder mysteries, and dystopian societies. To each his own, ya know? So let’s get this list started with some 

*1 sentence summaries*

#5 Harry Potter Series  (HP & The Prisoner of Azkaban if I HAD to choose)

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HP thinks he’s going to be killed by a murderous man, but alas, the wizarding world is chuck full of surprises for lil old Harry & his friends.

#4 Looking for Alaska

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Dweeby boy goes to a boarding school and meets the coolest most mysterious girl, the entire book is written in countdown form [super unique].

#3 Gone Girl

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2 perspectives, 1 hubby, 1 wifey, 1 murder & 1 million twists.

#2 The Language of Flowers

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Really cool story of a jaded girl who finds herself in a sticky situation & explains her thoughts and feelings through flowers; told by a series of flashbacks.

#1 Sharp Objects

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A reporter returns to her spooky hometown, controlling mother, and bitchy teen sister, all while people are showing up murdered.

5 Life Lessons I Learned in College

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I graduated from college a year ago. Wait, what? Yeah. After three wonderful years in Wisconsin, it was time for me to leave the beautiful dairy state with two-degrees in hand and big plans for the future! College didn’t just teach me about advertising and psychology (my two majors), it taught me about life. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to get a higher education, and here are 5 lessons I learned from my time as a Warhawk.

1. There are a lot of different kinds of people, and they’re all great

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College really opened my eyes to all the different kinds of people there are in this crazy, cool world. I grew up in a large suburb of Chicago, so my school was pretty diverse, but honestly, I was ignorant. I didn’t know much about other ethnicities, genders, or sexualities. My all time favorite college class wassociology of gender where we openly discussed the  problems behind a binary gender system, and the importance of acknowledging and accepting people who don’t fall into this weirdo binary system we have. I didn’t know much about transgendered, intersexuals, or any other variant before this course and it really opened my eyes. I also met a ton of people that had such varied backgrounds, it really helped me understand and appreciate other people.

John Green *the best author/vlogger ever* does a way better job at summing up this point here 

2. Failing is actually ok, and probably better in the long run

Frisbee copyMe and two other girls who were on the Ultimate team my freshman year (I wasn’t good)

I’m not talking about failing classes, because that’s definitely not better as you’ll be stuck at college for 100 years if you do that. I’ve always been a big goal setter, and it wasn’t until I went to school that I started failing at goals I set for myself. I had my heart set on being an RA after my freshman year, but didn’t get it. I wasn’t good at ultimate frisbee. I didn’t get the first internship I applied to. And I didn’t make 1 million BFFs. BUT THAT’S OKAY. Even though I failed at a lot of things, I still graduated as a happy, healthy, employed 21-year old! I learned a lot from those failures, and they ultimately shaped me into the positive go-getter I am today.

3. Stop comparing yourself to other people

RALook how glam my RA staff looks, you should’ve seen us during hall closing

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram make it super simple to make you feel like you’re a loser by comparing yourself to your friends. Wake up buddy, you aren’t a loser. It’s easy for people to portray their lives as fabulous, but it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows for them either (they get pimples, gain weight, and get stressed out too). Think about how you portray yourself online, and realize how glamorous your life appears to outsiders.

My problem was that I always compared people’s social lives with mine. I realized I was an introvert after one of my first psychology classes, and it all made sense to me. I have amazingly strong, and wonderful relationships with BFF #1 and BFF #2 (Kayla and Logan). I don’t think anyone else can really compare when it comes to those two people, and that’s okay. I don’t need a lot of social stimulation to be happy, and college taught me to be okay with chilling in my room alone, watching Netflix, and texting Kayla non-stop. That’s just my thing.

4. Stand on your own two feet

RUNEmily is the best example of someone who does new and exciting things all on her own

Every year of college was really different for me. For example: my first year I was a part of my university’s Ultimate Frisbee Club Team, my second year I was the event planner for my dorm’s Leadership Involvement team first semester, and I was hired as an RA second semester. My third, and final, year was spent as an RA, and a social media intern. I took all of these positions on my own and without having guaranteed friendships on the other end. I remember walking up to the first ultimate frisbee practice all by my lonesome not knowing anyone. It was terrifying, but also super liberating! All of those experiences taught me l could be outgoing with people I had never met *small victories, people*!

It’s so so so important to be able to motivate yourself, and not be dependent on other people. So stand tall and do something crazy all by yourself.

5. Be willing to change 

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If you ask me, “high school you” and “college you” should be totally different people. College should question your beliefs, values, and ideations. It should challenge you to think about life, people, and experiences in a totally new and exciting way. It’s so important to be open to learning about other ways of living! Try a new food, switch up your style, or befriend someone who’s totally different than you. At 18, you are way too young to be set in your ways, so stop being a stubborn teenager and open your eyes to all of the possibilities your life has to offer!

Although I’m done learning vocabulary and theories, I’ll keep these lessons I’ve learned near and dear to my heart for the rest of my life. Cheers to constantly learning, changing, and evolving.