A Princess, a frog and a Queen


Today my kiddies classroom antics were just plain cute, I had a princess in class, she was dressed in full court attire. No one knew who she was nor what she was doing in my classroom. We started my usual classroom routine when suddenly our owner knocks on the door and pops in with my dear Queena. I was busy with a little girl who was still shy so I didn’t even stop to hear what was going on and just had the little one sit down and kept going with my class. Queenas’ mom came in with her for a second to say hi and then left.

The little princess was not too happy with one of my boys, my little froggie, he kept trying to talk to her and get her attention but she just huffed and puffed in her corner. She gets a little jealous at times and with Queena coming into class she was very jealous which lead to a little more huffing.

Queena sat so super quietly in her corner and didn’t make a noise. She literally just say and followed any instructions I gave her, which was not normal as she usually giggled in my classes, but then she was in a class with different children and she is super shy.

About 10minutes into our lesson the admin came in after finally figuring out who the princess was. They told me her name and so class continued, with a huffing princess, an annoyed froggie and my quiet Queena. At the end of class I found out that she refused to go into her makeup lesson and would only go into a class with me in it, so her mom said chat room was fine.

It was really heart warming to know that she actually liked my lessons and not only was she learning phonics but her mom told me she had made friends with the kids outsides of class. Awesome!


Explaining ESL and EFL


 I remember when I first started this journey that the ESL and EFL meant nothing to me. The I was confused and at a stage I thought they were exactly the same thing. I’m hoping that this will unconfuse a couple of people and also give you that extra bit of info to help narrow down your choices.

The essential difference is that EFL is the UK term whereas ESL is more of an American term.

But there is a further distinction, an important one:

ESL is teaching English to non-native speakers in an English-speaking country. The class is usually of mixed nationalities. Students have a more practical need for English, and more opportunity to practice it. They will often also have constant exposure to an English-speaking culture.

When doing my TESOL course we taught students like the above in varying degrees.

ESL Students:

  1. Lessons planned to their specific needs. Going to the doctor, filling in forms or even just reading a childs’ report card.
  2. They should be taught cultural norms and the way in which native speakers use the language. It can cause a lot of problems for them if they do not understand things like tone and even sarcasm.

EFL is teaching English to non-native speakers in a non-English speaking country. They often have very little exposure to English and very little chance to practice with native English speakers.

While teaching children in Hong Kong I have found this to be especially true. with the minority have English-speaking nannies/house keeper or parent, the majority of children do not get to practice English outside of the classroom. In fact some parents cannot understand more than a rudimentary level of English.

EFL students:

  1. To practice English as much as they can. I often let my kids, even phonics students, have a good 10-15 minutes at the beginning of class just talking. Sometimes its absolute nonsense. But, at least they are using English.
  2. A chance to see the many sides of English Language. Not just the boring rules and vocabulary. Play around with tone and voices, make up songs. Anything to show them that English can be used in a very wonderful and powerful way.

In the long run it just depends on which one you want to teach. While ESL seems like the easiest option it can often be more challenging. You will have adult students, often those who have a larger knowledge of grammar than you do…Shock, horror,gasp.

Good Luck! 🙂




Summer Little Monkeys

I have been teaching 3 Summer Little Monkeys classes three times a week, Mon/Wed and Fridays 9:30-11:00 (Monkeys A) and 1:30-15:00 (Monkeys B) with an hour lunch break in between. Then on a Tuesday I have one Little Monkey class and a few other Phonics lessons. My monkeys classes had about 8-9 kids in them at a stage and my word have they been exhausting! 



I’m going into my second full month of teacher now and Summer Intensive is about to begin. This means that my off days are going to change as well, from Monday to a Thursday for the next 7 weeks. That’s going to be hard to get used to. I’ve enjoyed my two consecutive days off.