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August 29, 2006

Living on a Budget- Dining with Your Students

Hello Readers!

Is eating out too expensive for you? Would you like to try some international cuisine? Do you need a way to get your students talking to each other? I've got a way to spice up your life, your classes, and possibly your meals, as well!

As school starts up again for the school year, and you have a new group of names and faces to remember...

... you might want to think about organizing a weekly, monthly, or quarterly dinner party with your students. For those of you with large classes, you can divide your students up into smaller groups instead of having all of your students meet together at once.

If you live in a place like China, where going out for a meal is sometimes more affordable than cooking up a storm at home, you can agree to all chip in 10-15 rmb for the dinner. Alternatively, you can talk to the head teacher and see if the school would sponsor your outing. (It's always worth a try...)

If you live in a place where eating out is not an option, you can either cook something together (e.g. pizza), prepare it by yourself, ask the students to each prepare one dish ahead of time, or allow time for the students to make the dish for you at your home.

You might be thinking, why on earth would I invite students over to my place on my own time? Well, the benefits are vast. Not only will you get to know your students better, but they'll get to know each other better as well. What does that mean? The students will feel more comfortable talking with others in the classroom, which means that you won't have to work so hard!

Secondly, it's a good opportunity to teach the students- food and kitchen vocabulary, dining etiquette, how to make small talk, and how to describe a process, to name a few.

And finally, you'll get a chance to try out international cuisine without breaking the bank, as well as accumulating a number of recipes for the future. Furthermore, if you're in a new country, it's a good way for you to keep yourself from feeling isolated and learning about the culture and language of your new country of residence.

A word of advice- if you decide to have the students cook beforehand, make sure that you work on recipes a few weeks beforehand so they will be prepared when the day of the dinner party comes. Also, you might want to photocopy a copy of your new class recipe book for each of the students, complete with their names and email addresses (with their approval, of course).

Good luck!

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

Looking for MORE articles about living on a budget as an ESL teacher? Click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, has lived and worked in China since 1998. During that time, she has worked with students that range in age from three to more than sixty years old. She’s worked in universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, as well as private tutoring. Besides teaching, she’s also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she currently writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing as well as working as an ESL instructor for the Australian International School of Beijing. Carol is also enrolled in Oxford Brookes' MA TESL program in Oxford, England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at August 29, 2006 02:46 AM

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