How to Teach, What to Wear, Teacher Tributes, and Teacher Journals

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  • John Phelps Is Awesome by Mitch Burbick 2010

    Let’s be frank. Super English is full of awesome teachers. It’s part of what makes working here so great, everyone’s general level of awesomeness is off the charts. However, there is one man that stands alone, at the head of this crowded grouping of awesome, and his name is John Phelps. He is all at once the man, the machine, the legend. His teaching skills are the things of epic book length poems, and if this were the middle ages, bards would be singing his adventures
    across the plague ridden English country. He is almost everything all young boys want to be and more than everything mothers hope their daughters will one day have luck and looks enough to catch. John Phelps, this one’s for you.

    John is a great teacher. When I first got to Thailand and was training, I had the pleasure of watching him teach a few classes. I wasn’t experienced at that point and he made everything look so easy and full of energy. Little did I know that having a fun class that’s full of energy at the end of the semester is almost as hard as pulling a rabbit out of a hat. (A live rabbit.)

    John is a never ending source of inspiration for games and teaching gimmicks. The man is a machine in this regard. I’m convinced he goes to sleep not just because his body needs it, but just to recharge his lesson planning abilities. There have been plenty, and by plenty I mean countless, mornings where I’ve come out of the shower shivering and wondering how the heck I’m going to get across to my students what I need to get across to them. Almost without fail John has off the top of his head come up with not just one, but multiple ideas on how to blow my student’s brains wide open. I haven’t had the chance to watch him teach recently, but hearing his stories of limbo competitions, animal dance offs, and general unbelievably imaginative antics, I know his kids are enjoying one of the best teachers Super English has to offer.

    John’s teaching powers are so legendary that he’s been called in as back up muscle for a class that’s been known to chew up and spit out teachers over the past year. What’s been difficult for others hasn’t fazed the man. He’s come in, batted clean up, and stuck with it. Serious praise is deserved for this type of go-get-‘em attitude.

    As a housemate and friend, John has been incredible not just to me, but to everyone lucky enough to be on the Super team. John has always made himself a guy I could always talk to no matter what. Both his wife Janet and himself make themselves available, whenever the time. From welcoming new teachers with banana and chocolate chip pancakes and French press coffee to rallying everyone for a weekend motorbike ride to an out of town waterfall, he’s always thoughtful and inclusive.

    John really is the best that Super English has to offer. A hard working, genuine, adventurous, empathetic and generous person to the core. My time here in Thailand, along with everyone’s that has worked with him, has been greatly bettered by John’s presence. John Phelps, he’s the man.