Tag Archives: TESOL

Exam Day!

19 Apr

Had our first major Mid-Term exam yesterday (your today). Then we took our online computer exams – Three classes of students in 6 hours (+ another 2 hour class I taught). Busy Day!

DSC_0909DSC_0901 DSC_0910

Life in China ~ Bring It (Managerial Econ Style)

22 Mar

😛 I am teaching a class of students whose English is particularly bad, but I had them last semester too and we have been moving along. It takes translating every couple of words (money, war, economy, market, cash, coin, card) to communicate, but we were happy with our steady if slow pace 🙂 

Then Today, I had two new students join the class from Int’l Trade 1 (the best students, include one who has excellent English). At the beginning, I asked the students to translate one of the words as usual. Normally it takes us a bit to look it up and figure out a Chinglish version. Now, immediately the new boy spits out verbatim the precise 3 sentence long definition from the textbook by memory. 0_0 It was the funniest thing. The entire class stopped, turned and stared at him. One girl threw up her hands, another started groaning. The entire group almost in unison went “ooooohhhhhh” and one actually WHIMPERED. LOL. He jerked back and looked around. After that he figured out pretty quick the others weren’t at that level. 🙂 Seriously, we’re working at “this is called demand” level and he’s off on QD = a + bP + cT + . . . . level. Boom. . . mic dropped, bar raised.

I Have Great Students

17 Feb

It is seriously unfair to other teachers that I got the best students in the world. 🙂 Remember I love each of you and I believe in you! You deserve the best this world has to offer, thank you for being so amazing!

Teaching Humor: Religious ESL Mix-Ups

17 Feb

Had a rather hilarious ESL fail / miscommunication error with one of my Ethics students this past semester. 

One of the chapters in our textbook covers the professional approach to ethics taken by various religions including Hinduism and Islam.  Consequently, we spend part of a class discussing the fact that Islam is based upon the Koran and that it is very important to Muslims and effects how they approach Business (some of my students will be working in Dubai so this is a good lesson for them to learn!).

The day before the final, one of my students came to see me. This girl is adorable, brilliant, and a good friend of mine, but her ESL is not perfect and she has some trouble understanding all of the content.  

She said she had a problem with the whole “Koran” thing because “you [the teacher] kept saying it was Islam, but I always thought the Koran was Christian.”

0_0 ? I could understand them not knowing what the Koran was – many of my students don’t know the name of the religious book. But how did we come to the conclusion that the Koran was Christian?

Then she added: “you know, the higher Koran are atheist and the bottom, South Koran are Christian. I don’t think there is a lot of Islam in Koran.”

😛 Aha! The light went one! 

“Korea? Do you mean North and South Korea?” 

Hahaha! Once I understood the mix-up it was easy to see the problem. Because of the accent here in Henan, “Korean” often sounds a lot like “Koran.” That long E sound is extremely important.  And they look similar too, not helping.

Once we went over the fact in simpler terms that the Koran was a book and not a country, it was much easier. 🙂  

Sigh! The little things you think are so easy to teach only to find out were an epic fail later.


Chinese Cultural Beauties ~ Moderation

11 Nov


The local cafe has recently acquired a new employee devoted to customer happiness ~ Gordy, the resident Koi fish 🙂

Adorable little guy, he swims around in his bowl quite contentedly, entertaining children and adults alike.

Having attempted to keep koi fish myself and discovering a problem wherein they kept dying, I asked the owner how they have kept him alive so long.

One of the beauties of Chinese culture is how often they answer simple questions with ancient proverbs or philosophical explanations.

The owner’s enlightening response was that the key lay in finding moderation.  The Koi fish are like people~they are a little strong and a little weak. They have particular environments that they need to survive. If it is too clean and easy, they will be lazy and unhealthy.  If it is too dirty and difficult, they will be depressed and find it hard to breathe. They need balance to survive.

So every day, he changes Gordy’s water. But where I would change the water completely, they balance clean and dirty water. They dump out half of the old water and add half with new/fresh water.  This way, the water is a lot like the local ponds that Gordy comes from ~ a little fresh water (from rain and connected waterways) and a little dirty water (from algae, dirt, and other natural dirtiers).  In this natural environment, Gordy grows both strong and happy.

Go Gordy! Live Long and Prosper!

Terrifying Mamas

9 Sep

An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.
**Rudyard Kipling

This week was the first week of classes for my Business and Professional Ethics class, where I teach senior Chinese students.  They were given the question “Your brother is unqualified for the job, but as the CEO you give it to him. Ethical or Unethical.”  Naturally, one student after another answer Unethical, giving the standard reasons. Suddenly one young man jumped up in the back of the room and said he wanted to say something.  Showing obvious passion, he announced the situation was “Very Ethical” and proceeded to offer his main reason: “most importantly, your mom probably wants him to have that job and if you don’t give it to him. . . . Well your mom is going to be so angry and I just think that’s all I need to say about that! I just think it has to be ethical, your mom will be angry at you or maybe cry.”  

There we have it folks, the gauge by which we judge our ethical standards – Mom‘s response!

Friendly Faces!

8 Sep

I’m teaching at the Kindergarten here at SIAS for over-time, and here are some of my adorable students!

Great Online Travel Tool ~ MyFax

25 Jul

Transcripts suck ~ and requesting them sucks even more.  Naturally the annoying University of Iowa charges $16 a copy–$16! Michigan State University is actually free, and UI is charging $16.  Ridiculous!

Most annoying is the fact that you have to fill out those stupid forms and send them in.  If you are a traveler like me, fax machines can be rather difficult to come by. On the other hand, it’s a little surprising how many times I’ve wished for access to a fax so I could send important, time-sensitive documents back to the states. Like Transcript requests.  :/ 

Consequently, I spent much of the morning wandering around trying to figure out how to send a fax to Universities in America when I came across this little gem–MyFax.com. The process is simple–input your information and theirs, add notes if you need to, upload the file and send.  You do need to go to your computer and verify that you want it sent when the message arrives, but that isn’t too much trouble.  Much faster than trying to send something slow-mail from China!


English Boy Names and Their Meanings

19 Jul

English Boy Names and Their Meanings:

Name (English Pronunciation)- Meaning (Origin) – Chinese Translation (Pinyin)

**Capital vowels (AEIOU) are long vowels like “lAke” or “bIke” or “flUte”

### Pronunciation is by English standards, not Pinyin!

+++These names are not all common, but are recognizable to Westerners


  1. Ryder(rI der) – One who Rides (English) – 骑士 (Qíshì)
  2. Liam(lEE ahm) – Guardian, Protection (Irish) – 保护者 (Bǎohù zhě); 卫报 (Wèi bào)
  3. Jacob(jA kob) – God Protects (Latin) – 保护神 (Bǎohù shén)
  4. Will(will) – Protection, Guardian (German)- 保护者 (Bǎohù zhě); 卫报 (Wèi bào)
  5. Aaron(Air on) – High Mountain, Exalted (Greek) – 高山 (Gāoshān); 崇高的 (Chónggāo de)
  6. Dane(dAn) – Valley (English)– 谷 (Gǔ)
  7. Matt(mat– Gift of God (Hebrew)– 上帝的礼物 (Shàngdì de lǐwù)
  8. David/Dave(dAv ehd / dAv) – Beloved (Hebrew) – 亲爱的 (Qīn’ài de)
  9. Anthony/Antony/Tony(an thO nEE / an tO nEE / tO nEE) – Priceless (Greek) – 无价 (Wú jià)
  10. Joseph/Joe(jO sehf / jO) – God Increases(Greek) – 神使 (Shén shǐ)
  11. Lucas/Luke/Luc(grAs) – Light-Giving (Greek) – 发出亮光 (Fāchū liàngguāng)
  12. Gabriel/Gabe(gAb rEEl / gAb) – God is my Strength (German) – 上帝是我的力量 (Shàngdì shì wǒ de lìliàng)
  13. Samuel/Sam(sam Ul / sam) – God has Heard (Hebrew) – 上帝听见了 (Shàngdì tīngjiànle)
  14. Levi(lEE vI) – Attached (Hebrew) – 执着  (Zhízhuó)
  15. John(jahn) – God is Gracious (Latin) – 上帝是仁慈的 (Shàngdì shì réncí de)
  16. Isaac(I sac) – He Laughs (Hebrew) – 他笑了 (Tā xiàole)
  17. Ryan(rI an) – Little King (Irish) – 王子 (Wángzǐ)
  18. Nathan/Nate(nA thahn / nAt) – He has Given (Hebrew)– 上帝给了 (Shàngdì gěile)
  19. Hunter(hunt er) – One who hunts (English) – 猎人 (Lièrén)
  20. Henry(hehn rEE) – Home Ruler (German) – 庄园主 (Zhuāngyuán zhǔ)
  21. Owen(O wehn) – Well Born (Irish) -鸿鹄 (Hónggǔ)
  22. Jack(jak) – God is Gracious (English) – 上帝是仁慈的 (Shàngdì shì réncí de)
  23. Eli(EE lI) – Height (Hebrew) – 高度 (Gāodù)
  24. Gavin(ga vehn) – Hawk (Gavin) – 鹰 (Yīng)
  25. Jordan(jOr dan) – Flow down, Descend (Hebrew) – 下方 (Xiàfāng)
  26. Nicholas/Nick(nik Oh lI / nik) – Victory of the People (Greek) – 人民的胜利 (Rénmín de shènglì)
  27. Evan(eh van) – God is Gracious (Irish) – 天堂上帝是仁慈的 (Shàngdì shì réncí de)
  28. Charles(char ls) – Free Man (Latin) – 自由人 (Zìyóu rén)
  29. Connor(con ner) – Lover of Dogs (English) – 我喜欢狗 (Wǒ xǐhuān gǒu)
  30. Adrian(A drEE an) – Water (Latin) – 水 (Shuǐ)
  31. Nicolai(nEE kOh lI) – Victory of the People (Russian) – 人民的胜利 (Rénmín de shènglì)
  32. Thomas/Tom(tom ahs / tom) – Twin (Greek) – 双 (Shuāng)
  33. Robert(ro burt) – Bright Fame (English) – 了名气(Le míngqì)
  34. Tyler(tI ler) – Door Keeper (English) – 门房 (Ménfáng)
  35. Colton(cOhl ton) – Dark Town (English) – 黑暗镇 (Hēi’àn zhèn)
  36. Austin(ah stehn) – Dignified (English) – 自重 (Zìzhòng)
  37. Jason / Jace(jAs on jAs– Healer (Greek) – 医家 (Yījiā)
  38. Dominic/Dom(dom ehn EEk / dom) – Of the Lord (Latin) – 从主 (Cóng zhǔ)
  39. Kevin(keh vin) – Gentle Birth (Irish– 轻松生 (Qīngsōng shēng)
  40. Zachary / Zach(zak ahr EE / zak) – The Lord Remembers (Greek) – 记得神 (Jìdé shén)
  41. Blake(blAk) – Black, Dark (English) – 黑 (Hēi); 深 (Shēn)
  42. Chase(chAs) – To Hunt, To Chase (English) – 狩猎 (Shòuliè)
  43. Ian(EE ahn) – God is Gracious (Scottish) – 上帝是仁慈的 (Shàngdì shì réncí de)
  44. Adam(a dahm) – Man, Of the Earth (Hebrew) – 亚当 (Yàdāng); 男人 (Nánrén)
  45. Justin(juhs tehn) – Just (Latin) – 刚 (Gāng)
  46. Nolan (nOh lahn) – Famous (Irish) – 著名 (Zhùmíng)
  47. Brody(brOh dEE) – Muddy Place (Irish) – 泞地 (Nìng de)
  48. Tristan(tri stahn) – Loud Sword (French) – 长剑 (Zhǎng jiàn)
  49. Damian(dA mEE ahn) – To Tame (Greek) – 降伏 (Xiángfú)
  50. Micah(mI cah) – Like God (Hebrew) – 同神 (Tóng shén)


20 May

I’m so wonderfully blessed. ❤ Just spent the afternoon chatting with a student about his dreams for the future and past accomplishments. He has worked incredibly hard and gone from speaking broken Chinese only to speaking Chinese, good English, and good German. He’s now graduating from college with an American Bachelor’s degree, and he’s off to Germany to start new adventures.  It’s such a blessing to see what he has done and to hear about where he is going.  And to be the proud teacher of a student this awesome (who brings me cola every time we talk 😛 ) is just a wonderful feeling. I’m so happy to have a chance to be part of their lives. ❤ 

Teaching is not an easy job, I’m a little surprised at just how difficult it actually can be.  Well, time-consuming is probably a better word than difficult.  It just takes a lot of time, effort, and heart.  To be rewarded with students who get to move forward in their lives, who are seeing dreams realized and lives blessed is worth every last bit of work.  


Sweet Students 🙂


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