Chris Morton's Reviews > Teaching with Chopsticks

Teaching with Chopsticks by Jonathan Last
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Apr 06, 12

Read in April, 2012

This is a book about teaching English as a foreign language that’s a must if you are or ever have been a TEFL teacher. Or even if you’re thinking about taking that year out and would like a heads up on what it’s really like.

In fact that’s the great thing about this book. Not only does it include the obvious drama of overcoming initial feelings of loneliness to create a new set of friends; acclimatising to a foreign environment, and plenty of nights down the local bar… it’s also very much about the job you have to do when you get there. It’s primarily about the experience of being thrown into a room with a group of children, staring up at you: expecting you to be their teacher; then gradually learning the skills needed to cope with all the ups and downs of the work.

Jonathan Last went to Korea with the intention of writing a book about his teaching experiences and it shows. The detail he puts in and the way the plot moves around his ever changing attitudes towards the job and Korea in general… this is no memoir, you’re actually there with him, which makes for great reading.

I also enjoyed the subtle sense of humour, the way Last manages to fit in jokes almost accidentally and thus the humour feells very natural.

The only problem with this book is that it isn’t available in print. It’s been published by a small company specialising in e-books called e-books publishers. One day I hope to see it picked up by a larger company because it definitely deserves a wider readership.

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