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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Welcome to my new ESL blog!

Welcome to my new blog, Motivation for the ESL teacher and ESL student. My name is Dara K. Fulton and I am happy to launch this new venture with you. Starting today, I will be blogging and recording videos on my YouTube channel about something that is dear to my heart, English as a Second Language (ESL). I love teaching ESL and passionate about this great profession that often times don't get the respect it deserves. I believe ESL teaching is not only challenging, but an experience that is worthwhile for both the teacher and the student.

A little about myself

I have been teaching ESL for over 7 years, but my career actually started while attending college and becoming a writing tutor. This was in 2003-04. I helped fellow college students in their writing skills. Majority of those students were taking ESL classes. The greatest gift was hearing students say, "Thank you for all your help," or "If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have passed my class." Although education wasn't my major or a career I thought about at the time (I was a geology major and later majored in liberal arts), those comments inspired me to help more people.

Fast forward, I volunteered as an adult literacy tutor at the Brooklyn Public Library, graduated from
college, and later became an AmeriCorps member where I taught ESL classes in Chinatown, NY. I eventually worked at a non-profit agency teaching ESL classes at the professional level. All of these experiences and more inspired me to teach. It also inspired me to motivate the men and women from various countries to not only learn English, but to ENJOY learning English. I also wanted my students to feel comfortable while adjusting to a new country and culture.

So why am I here?

I want to continue my quest in helping people within the ESL profession. One of the ways is offering motivational tips for both teachers and adult learners. Since my experience is working in adult education, I am more familiar with this population. However, it is my hope that the tips I offer here and on my YouTube channel can be applied to young learners as well. I want to motivate the new and experienced ESL teacher in their journey. Why?
Because...

It is not easy being a teacher. 

The hours can be long or sporadic, depending on where you work. The students may vary in English skill levels. There might be outdated materials or not enough textbooks to go around. Also, the lack of support from ESL administrators can be a downer for many teachers. The list goes on and on.

It is not easy being an ESL student.

Particularly for adult learners, the challenge to help them learn a new language while adapting to a new country isn't easy. Adults are independent and have the right to challenge a lesson or a teacher's approach. There are various reasons adults take ESL classes. Some may be looking for work while others are looking for social connection. It can be a lonely or intimidating experience to move to a new country and not have any friends or a support network.

Lastly, there is a misconception about teaching adults. For example, some may feel that adults should already have prior knowledge of English before coming to the United States. Sometimes teachers believe this to be a fact, and may have high expectations for their students. The pressure to teach "everything" (a curriculum or concepts that may take time to complete) in a strict time crunch can be overwhelming. For students, this can cause isolation among classmates, stress, frustration, or a disinterest to learn English.

I want to offer practical ways to combat these issues and more while encouraging you, the teacher, you, the student to KEEP GOING.

I look forward to being on this journey together...all for the love of ESL! :) :) :)


Disclaimer: The views and tips expressed on this blog and YouTube channel are my own and based on my personal experiences as an ESL teacher.

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