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You're Being Observed

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One advantage to working in an academy is that you get observed, although sometimes teachers find it an ordeal. It's stressful, you're under pressure, and you want to look good. But if the observer is good, the feedback session will be thought-provoking and an opportunity to reflect on your teaching.


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Expanding language school is looking for full-time and part-time teachers.

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William Christison
William Christison

Teaches English classes in companies and in his own private home.

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Sometimes feedback can be on your little quirks. I was once told I look to one side of the classroom more than the other when I speak. I was totally unaware of that. I have since tried to share out my looks more equitably. However, I also remember in one of my first jobs in a fly-by-night academy the director said I spoke from too far back in my throat. He didn't tell me how to change that.

Anyway, I find if you want to do well in an observation the main thing is to be absolutely clear what the aim of each activity is. Once I was surprised to find myself tripping up a bit in that department: I normally pride myself on having clear lesson aims. I was teaching an upper-intermediate class using a First Certificate book and I had planned an in-class reading. Anyway, I had the students read aloud: one student would read one sentence, then the next student the next sentence, and so on. My idea was to correct their pronunciation as they read. This stage of the class was really about pronunciation, then I would “exploit the text” (that always sounds comical to me).

Anyway, my observer was doubtful that this was time well spent and thought that just doing a straight timed FC reading, focusing on answering comprehension questions, would have been more fruitful. I must admit that hadn't crossed my mind, primarily because reading is so easily given as homework; but that day the students needed to be “exposed” to this text in class so I could move on to highlighting language in it. So the observer opened my mind to the possibility of doing straight readings in class.

Once an observer thought I should pick up the pace of my lessons by gearing them to the fast students: that way things would be faster, livelier, bouncier. The slower students would just have to do their best to keep up. Actually I have taken this to heart, though sometimes slower students feel left behind and then slow things down by asking lots of questions. In this case, I'll usually make sure they get it and take my chances on the dynamism front.

Not all of my observations were positive: some basically amounted to the two of us disagreeing. One particular observer thought translation should never be used in class. I thought that was ridiculous. The other day in class we were talking about food and the word “rosemary” came up. I didn't know how to explain it beyond saying it was a spice. It just makes sense to translate it as “romero”. This same observer also didn't know much about the Lexical Approach and favored PPP (Present, Practice, Produce). So we were on different wavelengths and really didn't have much to say to each other.

I remember I once told a friend of mine, a free-lance teacher (who doesn't work in an academy), that I was going to be observed, and he said he envied me. That surprised me because I was feeling nervous about it. But he was right: being observed has clearly benefited my teaching. So I'm in luck: I'm up to be observed soon!

Language School Requires Teachers

IH MaddridUpdate: July 20, 2017:

We are now recruiting for two different types of contract:

i) In-company teachers for up to 12 hours a week. Freelance or on contract. We are looking for enthusiastic, experienced In-Company teachers. We can give you work each morning and lunchtime. Competitive pay rates, access to first class training, development and resources. CELTA or equivalent essential. Mid-September or October start date.

ii) Adults and YL teachers on around 20 hours a week, lunchtime to evening schedules. If you are an enthusiatic and dedicated teacher who loves working with young learners and adult students, we are looking to fill a limited number of positions. Competitive pay rates, excellent resources, support and teacher development. CELTA or equivalent and relevant experience essential.

For either position, please send your CV and teaching qualification certificate to For more information see our website

More info on International House Madrid on MadridTeacher, and more info about IHMadrid's TEFL Course.

More about David Overton:

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        Telephone: 912-877-646.
        Cell: 652-93-92-89.

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Teachers Required

The Green Monkey Schools and BBS are seeking English teachers for 2017-2018 teaching season Corporate classes are in-company, usually in Madrid but also in the suburbs. Classes to children, adults and teenagers are in our schools located in and around Madrid as well as Barcelona.

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