Traveling On A Student’s Budget: From Hitchhiking To Couch Surfing

Young people around the world like to travel around and see new things, meet new people and create memories. The number one issue that most students face is their lack of money for such excursions into the unknown. Luckily, there are ways to travel at relatively low prices and still see the world and experience everything it has to offer.

Hitchhiking

The most popular way of traveling cheaply (or even for free) is hitchhiking. Finding a Good Samaritan every once in a while shouldn’t be too difficult. All it takes is raising your hand next to the road and hitching a ride to wherever the driver is headed and is willing to take you.

Paying for lunch or for drinks along the way is a great way to repay their kindness and keep moving on. Just remember to be careful about hitchhiking and don’t be afraid to be picky about your drivers – some people might want to do you more harm than good.

Volunteering

Many student organizations offer free travel and accommodations for their volunteers, offering you a great way to travel cheaply. While you will have to do some volunteering along the way, it still beats paying for your own expenses. You will not only see new places but also learn new skills and meet new friends, which is a whole other benefit to volunteering that you should consider.

Cruising and crewing

Many oversea cruises looking for bartenders, house maids, chefs, etc. These jobs offer a great way to travel the sea and earn some money along the way. It’s a great way to travel around at literally no expense and even end up on the positive when you are done with cruising. If sea or home sickness is not a problem for you, definitely think about cruising.

Travel internships

There are agencies and firms out there that pay for people who travel around and promote their brand. Just imagine traveling the world in a Coca-Cola minivan. It offers the company cheap publicity and marketing and it gives you a chance to travel around the world at no expense whatsoever. While you will have to take photos of everything you are doing and abide by the contract of the company that is financing you, this is a minor issue when you take into account everything that you are getting.

Flying smart

Not all flying companies have high costs. You can easily find cheap flights all around the world if you look in the right places. One such website is Ryan Air and while you can’ travel to literally any location, you can still find a huge number of cheap deals on offer.

Look for cheap flights and providers that can help you travel to your desired location as cheaply as possible. You will probably have to adjust your dates accordingly and travel light, but it’s a great way to spend as little money as possible and still see the world.

Freelancing

While not a method of travel itself, freelancing gave birth to a type of people you may have heard of – digital nomads. These people travel around the world with nothing but their backpacks and laptops. They work wherever they end up sleeping that night and travel around for very low prices.

They can afford all of that because they are freelancers – all of their work is done online and there’s no need for a static job placement. Check out a review of essay writing services like https://www.trustmypaper.com/ in order to take a peek at what it means to be a freelancer and write for a living. Think about freelancing the next time you are thinking about traveling the world at an affordable price.

Trade labor

You can combine hitchhiking with trading labor wherever you travel. Some inns, hostels and family businesses will happily offer you food and shelter in exchange for labor. You can work a couple of days in each place and move on along your journey, hitchhiking along the way. This is a cheap and effective way of travel if you are in going through a rural village area where people are more welcoming and willing to trust strangers.

Travel contests

You and your friends can apply for a travel contest that pays for all of your expenses in exchange for meeting certain criteria. These are usually racing around the world with little to no support from the organizers, apart from the media coverage and an instant way out if you give up.

These adrenaline-fueled races and competitions are a wonderful way of bonding with your friends and creating memories that will last a lifetime. How many people do you know that took such a challenge? It’s risky, exciting and most importantly – you get to travel the world cheap.

Couch surfing

Perhaps the oldest trick to traveling cheaply, couch surfing has been around for a while. You can sleep at someone else’s place provided that they allow for couch surfers in their home and then move on once you get some rest.

This is a great way to meet new people and pay very little for your travel expenses when you put everything on paper. While not many people will let you stay the night because they don’t know you, those that let couch surfers crash for a night have often been couch surfers themselves.

Conclusion

Traveling for on a small student budget takes some ingenuity but it’s certainly possible. The important thing is to always stay in touch with someone back home and have a way out should you get stuck. Traveling completely isolated from your real life can have huge consequences and it’s quite risky.

While it’s smartest to travel in groups, traveling this way is one of the best experiences you can have. Being a modern nomad and traveling around with only your backpack at hand is a wonderful experience that everyone should try at least once.

Teaching History with a Box

Teaching history with a tissue box assists in reinforcement of knowledge, facts, and ideas in any history subject area or concept. Using a readily available cubed tissue box provides endless possibilities for teaching and learning history. Students use critical thinking skills as they learn to research, ask questions, and develop a better understanding of historical events.

The advantage of using cubed tissue boxes in math is twofold. First, tissues are a necessary item in classrooms and using empty tissue boxes supports recycling. Second, the shape allows for stacking boxes to make connections within a time period or with other time periods in history.

How to Use Boxes for Mathematics

Since tissue boxes are a cube, their six sided shape provides a uniform size and shape for displaying information. Students prepare their work using construction paper, word processing programs, maps, art/paint programs, or other materials for attachment to the history box. Students glue their completed materials to the appropriate side of the tissue box.

It is important to allow students to be creative, while being historically correct.

The following are recommended uses for each side of the six sides of a tissue box. Students select which side of the tissue box is the top.

  • Top: The historical event which the box is focused.
  • Bottom: Student name and resources used in research of the historical event.
  • Side 1: A brief description, including facts about the historical event.
  • Side 2: A visual arts representation of the historical event; such as a diagram, pictures, collage, etc.
  • Side 3: Pictures of how the historical event is viewed today.
  • Side 4: How the historical event is connected to with other subjects; such as other math areas, science, history, etc.

Teaching science with a box and teaching math with a box provides examples how this strategy is used in science and math, along with how to make connections with other subjects.

Sample Use of a History Box

U.S. Civil War 1861- 1865 (MS/HS)

Students are assigned or allowed to select a specific battle or military event that occurred during the civil war. An example:

  • Top: Battle of Antietam
  • Bottom: Student name, textbook, Encyclopedia Britannica, and the website Antietam National Battlefield – National Park Service (also the URL).
  • Side 1: The bloodiest one day battle in U.S. Military history. Over 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. Gen. Robert E. Lee had moved his troops into Maryland with an eye on capturing Washington, D.C. His army was stopped by Union troops under Gen. George B. McClellan. The next day, September 18, the opposing armies gathered their wounded and buried their dead. That night Lee’s army withdrew back across the Potomac to Virginia, ending Lee’s first invasion of the North. Following the battle, Abraham Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Side 2: Student provides a simple map of the positions of the Union and Confederate forces at the beginning of the battle around Antietam Creek.
  • Side 3: Student provides copies of properly cited pictures of the Antietam battlefield today.
  • Side 4: The terrain (Geology) of the battle field accounted for many of the high casualty areas, such as bloody lane. The temperature (Science) was in the middle 70s during the battle and humid.

Completed civil war battle boxes are arranged in the classroom according to historical timeline order.

Other Sample Uses of History Boxes

Formation of the United States 1776-1789 (Upper E/MS/HS)

  • Students are assigned or allowed to select a historical event that occurred during this time period. In middle and high school, there are enough historical events during this time period that there are no repeat historical events. All history boxes are displayed in the classroom in accordance with the date of the event during this time period.

Rise of Industrialization 1865-1890 (Upper E/MS/HS)

  • Students are assigned or allowed to select a historical event that occurred during this time period. In middle and high school, just like the Formation of the United States, there are enough events in this period to eliminate duplicate events and final products are displayed in the same manner.

Making Connections

Through the completion of these history boxes, students develop a better understanding of the relationship between historical events. It is important for students to internalize how these historical events impacted with other events or were dependent on other events. The cause and effect of historical events are more visual and concrete through this hands-on learning project.

Ways Teachers Use Technology

Teaching history with a tissue box assists in reinforcement of knowledge, facts, and ideas in any history subject area or concept. Using a readily available cubed tissue box provides endless possibilities for teaching and learning history. Students use critical thinking skills as they learn to research, ask questions, and develop a better understanding of historical events.

The advantage of using cubed tissue boxes in math is twofold. First, tissues are a necessary item in classrooms and using empty tissue boxes supports recycling. Second, the shape allows for stacking boxes to make connections within a time period or with other time periods in history.

How to Use Boxes for Mathematics

Since tissue boxes are a cube, their six sided shape provides a uniform size and shape for displaying information. Students prepare their work using construction paper, word processing programs, maps, art/paint programs, or other materials for attachment to the history box. Students glue their completed materials to the appropriate side of the tissue box.

It is important to allow students to be creative, while being historically correct.

The following are recommended uses for each side of the six sides of a tissue box. Students select which side of the tissue box is the top.

  • Top: The historical event which the box is focused.
  • Bottom: Student name and resources used in research of the historical event.
  • Side 1: A brief description, including facts about the historical event.
  • Side 2: A visual arts representation of the historical event; such as a diagram, pictures, collage, etc.
  • Side 3: Pictures of how the historical event is viewed today.
  • Side 4: How the historical event is connected to with other subjects; such as other math areas, science, history, etc.

Teaching science with a box and teaching math with a box provides examples how this strategy is used in science and math, along with how to make connections with other subjects.

Sample Use of a History Box

U.S. Civil War 1861- 1865 (MS/HS)

Students are assigned or allowed to select a specific battle or military event that occurred during the civil war. An example:

  • Top: Battle of Antietam
  • Bottom: Student name, textbook, Encyclopedia Britannica, and the website Antietam National Battlefield – National Park Service (also the URL).
  • Side 1: The bloodiest one day battle in U.S. Military history. Over 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. Gen. Robert E. Lee had moved his troops into Maryland with an eye on capturing Washington, D.C. His army was stopped by Union troops under Gen. George B. McClellan. The next day, September 18, the opposing armies gathered their wounded and buried their dead. That night Lee’s army withdrew back across the Potomac to Virginia, ending Lee’s first invasion of the North. Following the battle, Abraham Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Side 2: Student provides a simple map of the positions of the Union and Confederate forces at the beginning of the battle around Antietam Creek.
  • Side 3: Student provides copies of properly cited pictures of the Antietam battlefield today.
  • Side 4: The terrain (Geology) of the battle field accounted for many of the high casualty areas, such as bloody lane. The temperature (Science) was in the middle 70s during the battle and humid.

Completed civil war battle boxes are arranged in the classroom according to historical timeline order.

Other Sample Uses of History Boxes

Formation of the United States 1776-1789 (Upper E/MS/HS)

  • Students are assigned or allowed to select a historical event that occurred during this time period. In middle and high school, there are enough historical events during this time period that there are no repeat historical events. All history boxes are displayed in the classroom in accordance with the date of the event during this time period.

Rise of Industrialization 1865-1890 (Upper E/MS/HS)

  • Students are assigned or allowed to select a historical event that occurred during this time period. In middle and high school, just like the Formation of the United States, there are enough events in this period to eliminate duplicate events and final products are displayed in the same manner.

Making Connections

Through the completion of these history boxes, students develop a better understanding of the relationship between historical events. It is important for students to internalize how these historical events impacted with other events or were dependent on other events. The cause and effect of historical events are more visual and concrete through this hands-on learning project.

Teach Students How to Think

When teaching a lesson, it is important that students be actively thinking in order to learn the material and connect it to their lives. Therefore, it is also important that teachers teach students how to think. There are four levels of thought for any given lesson: evaluation, synthesis, analysis and application. Learning how to incorporate these four levels of thought in a lesson plan will help every lesson be successful.

First Level of Thought: Evaluation of Information

The evaluation thought process for any lesson is the beginning building blocks for higher level thought. Skills that involve evaluation thinking include deciding, ranking, defending, verifying and critiquing. This is a basic level of thought that simply looks at the information for what it is. Reading about information, collecting some research on a topic and understanding the basics of the topic involve evaluation.

Connecting Information to Prior Knowledge: Synthesis of Information

To synthesize information, students must go beyond the basic information and do something with the knowledge. Students should use prior knowledge to connect to new knowledge during this synthesizing thought process. Some things that require a synthesis thought process include hypothesizing, inferring, predicting, imagining, estimating and inventing.

Teaching Students to Analyze Information

Analyzing information takes student thought to another level, requiring them to understand the basic information, connect it to their lives through synthesis and then extend that information to additional information. Activities that require students to use analysis include compare/contrast, creating an anthology, classifying information and sequencing information.

Application of Information to Student’s Life

The final level of thought that all teachers should strive to have their students achieve is that of application. To apply information learned to a new situation requires the highest level thought and understanding. Students who are capable of demonstrating, illustrating, generalizing or showing how to do something have effectively achieved this level of thought and understanding.

Using Levels of Thought For an Effective Lesson Plan

By incorporating each level of thought in a single lesson plan, any teacher will be able to ensure student learning. With only rare exceptions, lessons should be split into four sections, with an activity devoted to build each level of thought independently. Not taking the time to achieve the highest thought levels will result in partially learned material that may or may not stick with students and have any impact upon their lives.

Teachers should ensure that each lesson they teach includes a basic focus on each of four different levels of thought. Starting with an introduction, students will be required to utilize evaluation thought. Next, students should be encouraged to connect new knowledge to previous knowledge through synthesis. Deepening understanding comes through analysis and finally, students apply new knowledge to future experiences through application.

Should Employees Quit Before Finding a New Job

Quitting a job before securing new employment can be risky. Yes, sometimes people do it for what they consider is a magnanimous reason: they don’t want to take away time from their current employer in order to look for work. An alternative reason is that it’s difficult to carve out time to look for a new job while still at the old job.

Whatever the rationale, it is important to consider the consequences of quitting a job before finding a new one. Here are five reasons why it is wiser to hold on until the next job offer comes along.

The Labor Market is Unstable Right Now

This should be reason enough to consider staying put. With record-breaking layoffs and an unemployment level at 6.1 percent, up from 5 percent just six months ago, now is not the best time to up and quit a job, any job, without having a new position.

While job seekers who are at their wit’s end due to poor or stressful work conditions may be ready to jump ship, keep in mind nothing is more stressful than being unemployed and looking for a job. With that in mind it is important to have a backup plan. That means if it really is time quit, have another source of income – savings, a significant other, part-time work or preferably all three – and a job search strategy.

It Pays to Have a Steady Income

Job seekers who do not have unlimited financial resources and a back up plan will find it difficult without a steady pay check, and quitting usually means giving up the right to unemployment insurance; though it’s best to apply just in case.

The benefit of having a job while looking for another one is that it provides a regular flow of income. It may mean less freedom to actively look for a new employment opportunity and therefore a longer search time, but ultimately having a job will make the transition to a new position easier and less stressful.

A Knee-Jerk Reaction Could Result in a Jerky Job

The difficulty with quitting before securing another opportunity is that if the perfect job doesn’t appear rather quickly, many job seekers will begin to panic and wind up making a bad job choice. That means they could wind up in the same horrible work situation they just left or maybe something even worse. Ultimately it is better to stick with the devil you know. At least until the right opportunity comes along.

Finding a New Job is Never as Easy as it Seems

Even if jobs are a dime a dozen, finding and securing the right one will take time. Experts have been known to say one month of searching for every $10K of salary, though this is not necessarily a proven fact.

Depending on the position, industry and company, searching for a job takes time and several steps. It means job seekers have to prepare and send in the perfect resume, go through the interview process, complete the background and reference check, receive a job offer and start work – all of which will likely take several weeks.

The End Result Could be a Hiring Red Flag

Sure experts will say that the world of recruiting has become more lenient over the past few years and employers are more open to hiring job seekers who currently don’t have jobs or have large gaps of unemployment. However, given the choice between equally qualified candidates, the one with stability is more likely to win out.

And while it may seem strange to the average job seeker, there is something about a person with a job that reeks of responsibility. On the other hand, the desperate job seeker who is likely to take the first decent offer is a turn off. It may have to do with that old “hard to get” mind set.

So, before bailing on a current opportunity, think twice. It really does make sense to hold on and not quit until the next job offer arrives.

Free Sample Letter of Resignation

For some people, a letter of resignation is one of the most challenging types of correspondence to write. This is because the letter must strike a balance between professional and personal. The letter must be professional in nature, yet still convey a personalized message that may be charged with emotion, depending on the parties involved.

Giving Notice of Resignation? How to Quit Your Job Gracefully

A written notice of resignation serves more than one purpose. Most importantly, this letter serves as official notice of the intent to leave the company. Firmly establishing the last day of work may be important for insurance purposes and company benefits (like the exact amount of accrued vacation to be paid out).

Resignation Format Not as Important as Content

A written letter of resignation becomes especially important if tension exists between the employer (or management) and employee. A difficult boss could make the process of leaving a job difficult; in the absence of a written letter, he or she could simply deny that an employee ever gave advance notice of the intent to leave. If any difficulties like this are anticipated, it would be a good idea to provide the letter of resignation to more than one person.

It’s important not to get caught up in the formatting of the letter (see the free sample letter of resignation template below for help with that); what really matters is that the resignation letter leaves management with a good feeling about the departure.

Quit Your Job Positively – Leaving a Job Should be Uneventful

Even if no problems are anticipated, it is simply good taste and very professional to write a formal letter of resignation to an employer. Here are some tips for crafting a professional, respectful letter of resignation:

Maintain a somber, yet positive tone. Say positive things about experiences at the company.
Don’t burn bridges by saying anything negative about the company. The new job may not turn out exactly as expected, and a return to the original company may be desired at some point.
Try not to single out any one person as a reason for leaving. This news can spread around, and even though it may not seem important at the time, that person may be in a position to get revenge in the future.

Free Example Letter of Resignation Template

Below is an example resignation letter template that briefly states the individual’s reasons for leaving the company in a positive manner.

(Insert date and address block)

Dear Manager,

I regret to inform you that I will be leaving the company two weeks from today, on X date. I truly enjoyed working here, getting to know everyone, and working on X projects during my tenure at X company. The position I have found will give me greater time off flexibility (or replace this explanation with another politically correct reason for leaving).

I feel honored to have worked at this company and will greatly miss the camaraderie shared among the work group.

Sincerely,

(Insert four spaces to allow for a signature)

John Job Quitter

How to Customize the Sample Letter of Resignation Above

To customize the preceding sample letter of resignation, replace any references to “X” with exact dates or names and insert information as noted in parenthesis. Notes in parenthesis are for reference only; delete these in the actual letter.

Don’t Say “I Hate My Job” in Letter of Resignation Wording

Even if the resignation is not an amicable one, try to find a positive way to state the reason for leaving. Stick to factual, positive statements. Resist the urge to say something like, “I hate my job.” For instance, use neutral reasons like “the new company location will reduce my commuting time by one hour per day” or “I am joining this other company because it affords me the opportunity to work in an exciting field.”

Resign from Job Properly – Use Resignation Letter Template Above

When someone resigns from a company, it’s always a good idea to provide a written notice of resignation. Use the tips and resignation template in this article to draft a unique letter of resignation that leaves a good impression on the company being left behind.

How New Teachers Can Manage a Classroom

Dealing with discipline problems is part of effective classroom management. Every new teacher needs a classroom management plan that will lead to a positive learning atmosphere. An effective management plan should be in place before any teaching can take place. Often, discipline problems happen because a new teacher lacks confidence in one or more areas of his/her ability to successfully manage a classroom.

While there is no single best practice or method for managing a classroom, experts agree on a handful of guidelines: teachers must be consistent in their message and consequences, lay a strong foundation of expectations early in the school year, follow through with promised punishments when students misbehave and stay on track without giving into distractions.

Have a Consistent Message and Consequences

Students must understand first that teachers care about them, but that teachers mean what they say. For example, if teachers say the next person who talks in class will be required to do an extra homework assignment, teachers can find themselves in trouble if someone talks and they don’t give them an extra homework assignment.

When teachers communicate the consequences clearly, students know how their classroom is run and therefore, they feel safe. Simply put, students won’t challenge a new teacher’s authority because they won’t need to.

Have a Strong Foundation of Expectations

An effective classroom management plan needs simple systems to help students become more self-directed in their learning and behavior. Teachers should set up expectations for success so students always know exactly what to do for every task, rule and procedure. All throughout the year, teachers should teach and reinforce those rules and procedures consistently.

Students learn better when they know what is expected of them. In the beginning of the school year, teachers should spend much more time reinforcing rules and procedures than on actual teaching. This also means teaching rules and procedures as deliberately and thoroughly as academic content for the remainder of the school year.

Have a Plan to Follow Through With Promised Punishments

If teachers don’t follow through with promised punishments, larger problems will arise. So from day one, misbehavior should be deal with quickly. Teachers should determine a range of consequences (maximum of five) and always begin with a warning. Teachers should state the consequences in clear and specific terms so that students will know what type of punishment they can expect if they break a rule. Teachers should relate the consequences to the rule as directly as possible.

For new teachers, the challenge is always how to implement all three systems so that classroom management runs most effectively. Controlling a classroom isn’t easy, but with simple systems, new teachers will have an easier time managing student behavior while promoting a more cooperative learning environment.

Preparation for Teaching in Urban Schools

Most teachers receive some form of training before they enter their own classroom to practice as a full-time educator. In a study of teacher preparation programs in “Surveying the Landscape of Teacher Training in New York City,” two basic types of teacher preparation were described:

1) early entry –students begin full-time teaching before having completed all their certification requirements and

2) college recommending – require student-teaching after the majority of preparation has been completed.

As a result of the need to place teachers in hard-to-staff schools and stimulus from the federal policies No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, there has been an increase in the proliferation of early entry teacher preparation programs because they provide a needed resource in such schools.

Debate on Teacher Preparation

There is a debate as to whether teachers need the kind of preparation offered by college recommending programs. Those who oppose this form of preparation advocate for alternative certification through programs such as Teach For America. They argue that state requirements for licensure are too rigid and prevent otherwise capable instructors from being able to work in schools who need them. They advocate for deregulation and the end of state-sponsored licensure.

Proponents of college recommending preparation argue that teaching requires preparation that can respond to the rigorous demands of the contemporary classroom, which becomes more complex if that classroom is in an urban context.

They describe what the contemporary teacher needs to know before entering the classroom, which includes knowledge, skills, and dispositions for teaching. More specifically, proponents argue that teachers must know about learners, know how to connect curriculum to the wider purposes of education, and use assessment to understand learners and respond appropriately to their learning needs.

Vagle, in “Searching for a Prophetic, Tactful Pedagogy: An attempt to Deepen the Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions Discourse Around Good Teaching,” extended these notions to include the concept of a ‘prophetic tactful pedagogue’ who sees teaching as a way of life, is perceptive of their students’ lives and responds accordingly, who deliberates vicariously to create meaningful spaces for children to learn, and who recognizes and responds to pedagogical moments when the teacher is called upon to provide direction and care.

Urban Schools

The urban context has implications for schooling. Many writers make a note of the distinguishing features of urban schools. Weis describes urban schools in Urban Teaching: The Essentials as places that operate with large ineffective bureaucracies, lack the needed funds to properly educate the children they serve, and have high levels of diversity.

Others have further delineated the unique aspects of the urban schools and these include high population density, profound income disparity, high levels of student, teacher, and administrator mobility, and student populations likely to have health problems.

Because these distinctively urban traits impact student learning, many researchers argue that the education provided here must address these matters. For example, Solomon wrote “Ideally, urban education provides a curriculum and pedagogy that increases the life opportunities and the practice of responsible citizenship of those residing in urban communities…To accomplish this, however, requires a teacher preparation that moves beyond subject instruction, beyond the images of urban schools as dangerous and foreboding places, to focus more on the larger social, economic, and political structures that maintain urban communities in marginal, inequitable existence.”

Thus the specific issues presented in the urban setting necessitate a specific form of teacher preparation. Researchers have found that teachers with early entry preparation are less effective in raising student achievement in urban schools than those with more preparation.

Teacher Training Makes a Difference

Does teacher preparation, which indicates the route by which teachers enter urban school classrooms, make a difference? Research leans toward the idea that teacher preparation absolutely makes a difference because it may or may not give future instructors the training and practice needed to work in urban schools. Teachers in urban schools need knowledge, skills, and dispositions that work best with high-need students, but they also need to be prophetic, tactful pedagogues to be effective in this unique context.

How to be a Teacher who Leads in the Classroom

Teachers are always wanting to insure that their students like them. They strive to provide interesting lessons each day and hope that the students will be motivated to learn and achieve. The challenge for teachers becomes linked with balancing friendliness, trust, and kindness with discipline, accountability, and expectations.

Students can mistake a friendly teacher attitude as favoritism and believe they are not as valued as other students in the classroom. Awkward situations can arise between a teacher and a student whenever there is a feeling that the two are friends thus leading to misunderstanding and mistrust.

Teachers must be aware that technology can provide outlets for students that can link the two as “friends.” Facebook and MySpace enable students to communicate with teachers and begin to believe that the teacher is someone who is “cool” and interested in their personal lives. The risk can be quite high for teachers and may lead to serious consequences.

Create a Friendly Classroom Environment

Teachers who are leaders will provide a learning environment that is inviting and that feels safe to students. As soon as students walk into the classroom, they should feel a friendly atmosphere that will motivate them to do the daily tasks set before them. It is a matter of creating a setting for the students that supports successful completion of learning tasks and a positive relationship between teacher and students as well as within the student group.

One way to create this environment is to greet the students each day. This can be done by starting the class with a simple good morning or hello. Some teachers use an anticipatory set at the beginning of each lesson to insure that the students are ready to learn and listen. Organizing the lesson with a beginning and ending sends a message to the students that learning has a purpose and that the teacher wants to see each one of them enjoy the experience in a positive way.

Communicate Well With Students

Paying attention during lessons is a very significant skill needed by all students in order to be successful. Teachers can become frustrated whenever the assessments completed by students indicate that learning was limited or did not occur as they had planned. Behavior issues can also arise that distract from what a teacher may be presenting in class.

One important key to successful student outcomes is linked with communication. Teachers must examine their methods of communication whenever they are analyzing the progress of the students. If there is a disconnect between the teacher and the students, eventually there will be a different teacher identity which is no longer being the leader of the students.

Stay in a Positive Mode While Teaching

Whenever students are asked why they liked a particular teacher, usually the answers will be linked with the fact that the teacher was interesting and caring. In order to provide a friendly classroom environment, teachers must exert every effort to teach with a positive mindset and face the challenges that arise with a commitment to insuring the best possible for each student. Challenges could be many during any given school year. However, it is the responsibility of every teacher to search for answers and to work towards providing learning as the positive that occurs in the classroom.

Providing daily praise to students will help portray that positive. It is significant that teachers understand praise must be appropriate and applicable to the specific situation. The problem becomes when the verbal praise is misconstrued by the student as saying the teacher likes him. This can lead to the mistaken identity of being a friend to the student rather than a leader whose goal is to motivate learning. Teachers must praise the efforts and the actions rather than the student personally. Whenever the teacher states he liked the way in which a student handled a challenging situation, that student then has the opportunity to feel encouraged and be motivated to continue the same positive behavior.

There is a fine line that has been drawn between teachers and students when it comes to the relationships in the classroom. The roles of teachers are clearly linked with promoting student learning successfully and helping students find the best strategies to reach their academic goals. When teachers create friendly classroom environments, communicate clearly with the students, and remain positive whenever helping students find solutions, the opportunity for learning is endless.

Copying Lesson in ESL Writing

Every ESL writing teacher wants their students to be able to communicate clearly in written English using standard rules of paragraph organization, sentence structure, and punctuation. The great mystery remains, however, about how best to provide lessons that will help students attain that goal.

Every ESL student will gravitate toward the method that best suits their own style of communicating, which can be problematic if that student becomes wedded to one particular way of expressing ideas rather than trying alternative strategies that may work best in specific instances. It is reasonable to present ESL students with the argument that, for example, a newspaper article, a recipe, a poem, and a love letter are all different types of writing which are created or developed in singular ways. Who could argue that the practical need to prepare a grocery list emerges from the same emotional starting point as a resignation letter? – see Letter Writing exercise for more classroom activities.

Of course, ESL students are not necessarily in need of taking part in a debate about various concepts relating to rhetorical theory, but ESL students at all levels can benefit from the practice of Copia or “copying,” especially at the sentence level. And from this practice, ESL teachers can not only show students how they can develop more flexible writing strategies, but they will also discover incredible potential for reinforcing important grammar concepts.

Curious? I hope so. I have used this sentence writing technique with high-beginner to advanced levels of ESL classes, and I think you will find the activity interesting and fun for all ESL students…and particularly convincing for those students who seek practical strategies for improving their writing.