TESOL Thoughts

Reflections on Teaching and Learning

Teaching to be Rich and Famous

A year ago, I completed my MA in TESOL from the New School University and graduated with a diverse crowd of people teaching all over the world. This was my first experience learning online, and it definitely changed my outlook on e-learning. I met some incredible people (both faculty and classmates) every semester, and found my courses to be more demanding and engaging than my preconceived notions of an online program had me believe. Thanks in part to having taken a couple summer courses onsite, I got to meet in person the classmate I admired the most: Adriana Picoral. Each one of her posts were always so well thought, full of good examples, and to the point. I also met one of the funniest, brightest teacher friends I have to this day, Katrina Schmidt. A year later, we still communicate via Facebook and email, and we continue to share our work online. Last Saturday, the three of us submitted a proposal to present together at the next TESOL Convention. If we get accepted, this will be our first presentation at an international conference.

Because this year I’ve decided to focus on embracing professional challenges little by little, I’ve decided to try and do a poster presentation at next year’s TESOL conference as well. A poster presentation appeals to me because I’ll have a chance to interact with other teachers one-on-one and hopefully learn more about the subject matter: using flash cards to teach vocabulary.

As usual, I’ve been procrastinating writing all weekend long. This blog post is in fact the cusp of my procrastination (I think I have a few more hours left to submit it because of the time difference). Writer’s block, insecurities, self-corrections, ADHD, and too many tea breaks are all to blame for my half-written proposal. Then came Katrina’s email this morning right after officially submitting our proposal online. Her confirmation message to Adriana and I read, “…my horoscope said that something i do early this month will be very good for my professional future SO YOU KNOW THAT MEANS WE WILL BE ACCEPTED AND THEN WE WILL BE FAMOUS AND RICH TEACHERS, right?”

A funny comment turns into a somewhat serious reflection and the perfect excuse to continue procrastinating…

While it does infuriate me that many teachers have to have two jobs in order to make a decent living, and it bothers me to no end that our profession is generally underpaid, I do have to say that I feel extremely lucky to love what I do. I also feel fortunate to have the chance to meet so many motivated and engaging teachers all over the world and to work doing something that always inspires me to keep learning and asking new questions.

Since I have been trying to access corpus tools to improve my understanding of language and help students learn vocabulary, I thought I’d do a quick check about teachers being rich and famous by looking up the most common adjectives used to describe a teacher.

For your viewing pleasure (or corpus-based reality check), here are the top 100 collocations of “teacher.”

These are the most common collocations with the word ‘teacher’. 

1

 SCHOOL

1889

2

 MUSIC

1145

3

 STUDENT

1037

4

 EDUCATION

924

5

 CLASSROOM

715

6

 ENGLISH

699

7

 SCIENCE

486

8

 HIGH

485

9

 FORMER

464

10

 PHYSICAL

430

11

 COOPERATING

399

12

 MATH

396

13

 ELEMENTARY

386

14

 HISTORY

325

15

 ART

321

16

 PARENT

298

17

 SPECIAL

291

18

 RETIRED

270

19

 GRADE

260

20

 PRESERVICE

245

21

 KINDERGARTEN

232

22

 SUBSTITUTE

229

23

 STUDIES

224

24

 MASTER

223

25

 BEGINNING

209

26

 TECHNOLOGY

205

27

 GYM

147

28

 PIANO

147

29

 EFFECTIVE

145

30

 REGULAR

144

31

 BIOLOGY

140

32

 PRE-SERVICE

130

33

 MATHEMATICS

120

34

 QUALIFIED

115

35

 FIFTH-GRADE

107

36

 UNIDENTIFIED

106

37

 SUNDAY

104

38

 FIRST-GRADE

101

39

 100

101

40

 HIGH-SCHOOL

99

41

 EXPERIENCED

97

42

 PHYSICS

94

43

 THIRD-GRADE

92

44

 ARTS

88

45

 PRESCHOOL

86

46

 DRAMA

84

47

 FAVORITE

84

48

 FOURTH-GRADE

82

49

 HIGHLY

81

50

 CHEMISTRY

80

51

 SECOND-GRADE

79

52

 ACCREDITATION

75

53

 DANCE

72

54

 ARTIST

71

55

 MENTOR

70

56

 CERTIFIED

69

57

 VETERAN

69

58

 PE

68

59

 SIXTH-GRADE

65

60

 YOGA

62

61

 UNDERGRADUATE

61

62

 ALLOWS

58

63

 SPIRITUAL

57

64

 HOMEROOM

55

65

 SECONDARY

54

66

 COOKING

51

67

 RESOURCE

50

68

 ACTING

48

69

 OUTSTANDING

47

70

 FORMAL

47

71

 NOVICE

45

72

 SPANISH

45

73

 SUPERVISING

44

74

 LATIN

44

75

 ITINERANT

43

76

 IN-SERVICE

41

77

 FULL-TIME

41

78

 IMPROVING

39

79

 MIDDLE-SCHOOL

38

80

 INSERVICE

38

81

 PROSPECTIVE

38

82

 ASSOCIATE

38

83

 FIRST-YEAR

37

84

 INSTRUMENTAL

37

85

 ECONOMICS

37

86

 GIFTED

37

87

 BILINGUAL

36

88

 HOMOSEXUAL

36

89

 PART-TIME

33

90

 ALGEBRA

32

91

 1ST

32

92

 PERCEPTIONS

32

93

 ELEMENTARY-SCHOOL

31

94

 SPECIAL-EDUCATION

31

95

 VOCATIONAL

31

96

 SEVENTH-GRADE

29

97

 INFLUENTIAL

29

98

 CARING

29

99

 EIGHTH-GRADE

28

100

 APE

28

 TOTAL

17668

1. Davies, Mark. (2008-) The Corpus of Contemporary American English: 450 million words, 1990-present. Available online at http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/.

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