the most (?) unusual place to teach English

Have you ever taught English (or any other language) in the middle of a field? I have – now I can put a tick in “ELT experiences list” ūüėČ

it’s been some time before I published anything here. Well, the reason, of course, is summer and a lot of travel.,

First, we spent a month in Barcelona, which was great but went really fast, and then some other, less exciting directions followed. One of which was my mom’s country house where we came to visit for about 10 days. I was planning to rest and to have some time with an extended family, but also to continue teaching via Skype.

As it turned out, I was wrong to take good Internet connection for granted. I had properly  prepared for the visit: having bought a portable modem to insert into a notebook, I felt prepared for my Skype lessons that were scheduled for that 10 days. Hm, I had been terribly naiive.  the connection in the garden was very weak. The same with a different Internet provider Рit was definitely not enough to have a Skype lesson.

we went to the nearest town (a bigger village, in fact), where all the providers seemed to work all right. That left me with a really (not) exciting choice: to have a lesson (and remember, that was not about only 1 lesson, 3 or 4 was the original plan) at a playground, right behind the Lenin statue, or in the only  restaurant, cafe bar (?) in the town. I imagined the bar would become quite creepy by the evening, especially as we found out it was some military forces day, so it looked like too much risk for an English lesson.

So I took my last chance, bought a different provider’s equipment (there was also a nice condition that I could return it within a week if I wasn’t happy with it) and went to the field that was just halfway from our village and the town, but was accessible on foot – which made it all a little easier. (As I don’t drive, going to town would also make my mom drive me, or I could take a taxi, but all “those” ancient Zhiguli didn’t look too trustworthy to me).

Thankfully, Yota (the last provider’s name) provided a good connection, which I tested dilligently with various contacts from my Skype.

And there I was – teaching English via Skype sitting literally in a field! I am sorry it didn;t occur to me to take a picture of myself teaching (almost) in the middle of nowhere. The Sunday lesson went down perfectly normal, although the next one had to be interrupted because of a heavy rain (yes, there is a down side to teaching outdoors)

But I’m happy to announce there is a special ELT outcome of this all (along with something to talk about here in this blog post): I had to change the teaching strategy from teaching business English using the board and a lot of materials (as we mostly had to do without video to make sure the connection wouldn’r beak down) to somehting different. Luckily, at a lesson just before my move to the country house we decided to take a break from business English and serious talk, so something different would be welcomed anyway.

The first (a “good weather”) lesson I based mostly on the lesson called “Words” from Film English, and in went down really well, resulting in a good vocabulary set, a pleasant talk, and memorable mind pictures.

but another lesson (a “rainy” one) was based on a TED talk about 8 ingredients of success and seems to me a good one (almost universal) tobe taken to different classes and at different times. I’m going to share it here in the next post.


What about you?

Have you ever taught English (online or face-to-face) from some unusual place? Did it make you change your teaching approach in some way?

About Svetlana Urisman

I am an ADOS and an English teacher (and materials writer) in a language school in Moscow. I have been an ADOS and a teacher trainer for a couple of years and a teacher for about 10 years. I am keen to share some ideas and materials I've developed in order to take them further and not to lose them. You are welcome to use any materials represented in this blog, and I will be happy to get your feedback afterwards if you take them to your classroom! ;-)
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2 Responses to the most (?) unusual place to teach English

  1. Matthew says:

    On a beached (by a tsunami) dredging ship…I taught the captain, who never abandoned ship and lived in his quarters until they could move the craft back into the ocean 6 months later.

  2. Matthew,
    wow, my experience is not even close to that extreme)) thank yo–≥ for sharing!

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