ELT Blog Challenge: An Interview with Ania Musielak

If you haven’t heard of it yet, the premise of the ELT Blog Challenge is simple.  Ask one of your favourite PLN people 5 standard questions, which you’ll see below, and from there, get to know them in ways that you might not otherwise have the chance to on twitter or other social media.

I was lucky enough to meet Ania Musielak as IATEFL Brighton in April. Somehow we’d managed to miss each other on Twitter beforehand, but since meeting up she’s become an essential part of my PLN.

She lives and works in her hometown of Tarnowskie Góry, after graduating from Silesian University as a Philosophy Doctor. She has worked as an English teacher, trainer and writer for 11 years, specialising in using drama and literature in teaching English.

As with anyone who meets Ania, I was not only impressed by her obvious intelligence and commitment to teaching, but her beaming, ever present smile. When it came to choosing an interview subject, she was an obvious choice. In fact, I’ve given my blog over to her for a couple of posts. Soon you’ll be able to read her thoughts about drama for the shy student and teacher, and here, you can read her interview. Take it away, Ania!

Me, Ania, and the smile.

1) If your students were to label you with 3 or 4 adjectives, what might they be?

Very talkative, understanding and forgiving (too forgiving sometimes) and lively. 🙂

Ania’s fridge.
2) What would we find in your refrigerator right now?

My refrigerator hmmm….always eggs, milk and butter cause I like baking, then some basic things – ham, jam, juice, cottage cheese and champagne or white wine:) And in the freezer ice cream and frozen homemade dishes.

3) If you weren’t a teacher, what might your profession be?

If I weren’t a teacher I would definitely be a fitness instructor. I even had a plan about 5 years ago to finish some instructor courses. I always wanted to study English Philology – as far as I can remember:) My parents were always telling me stories about Britain and Ireland (my mum studied in Dublin and my dad in Cardiff) and were showing me pics and slides and souvenirs. And they were my first teachers. The question for me was – English but interpretations and translation, teaching, or literature and culture? And I chose the last two options!
As to sport – I love it and it’s a huge part of my life, so at some point I thought about becoming a fitness instructor – but as something additional. Unfortunately I didn’t have time for it, but I still practise a lot of sports. I go jogging, I swim, I dance and I have my lifts and my skipping rope. Before Aga (her daughter) was born I trained six times a week – kickboxing, dancing, swimming, I went to aerobics and I jogged. Now I don’t do sports so often – with Aga around it’s difficult – but definitely as often as I can. And me not having a driving licence helps – I walk everywhere.
Ania’s sport gear.
4) What do you find most difficult about the teaching profession, or what has been your most difficult class as a teacher?

My most difficult class…I would have to say that a group of teenagers I taught about 6 years ago – I was too indulgent and couldn’t keep discipline. They were very difficult, forced by parents to come to lessons, had no motivation whatsoever and nothing worked.

It was a lost cause, I was very stressed, I worried a lot about failing as a teacher but nothing worked (and I was like 5/6 years younger at that time so I didn’t really look like a strict teacher). The director and I decided to split them and they went to different groups and had lessons with different teachers. But there was one boy – he was really good at English and he was very quiet – he came back to my class next year and I taught him for some time. Now he’s 19 and he always stops when he sees me in the street for a chat.

Ania’s multimedia centre.
5) What was the last book/movie you read/saw, and what have you seen/read way too many times?

The last film I saw was The King’s Speech and the last book I read would be I Heart Paris by Lindsey Kelk (a bit ashamed to admit this but it was before coming to TESOL France). The film I’ve seen way too many times would definitely be Dirty Dancing (I’m not being very original I know) and Notting Hill.

Ania lost in her book.
A big thanks to Ania for the interview!

9 thoughts on “ELT Blog Challenge: An Interview with Ania Musielak

  1. Love it !

    Fitness instructor. It's not surprising, but I never would've guessed it. I would've thought an actress or drama teacher. 🙂

    I ♥ Paris…. moi aussi ! Was it a good book, Anna ? @bncpaul interviewed me a few days ago and my last book was Metronome about the history of Paris through its metro locations. So cool !

    These blog interviews are a blast. Can't wait to see them keep flowing. Cheers, b

  2. Wonderful interview! The first word that comes to mind when I think of Anna is “smile”. Imagine what the world would be like if every human had her smile? Heaven on earth maybe. When I came home from IATEFL I told people that everyone was happy in Brighton. I think Anna had a lot to do with that overall happy feeling. Great to learn more about this radiant human. Thanks James! Miss you both!

  3. Hi Ania and James,

    Dearest Ania,
    It was so nice to read your interview and learn more things about you. I had no idea you would like to become a fitness instructor, although I should have guessed with your perfect physique : ) I am so lucky to have met you in person and attend your workshop. I look forward to giving you a big hug in Zug : )

    Hi James,
    Thank you so much for interviewing Ania – she is one of my favourite people on Twitter and in general : ) I agree that Ania = smile and I am very lucky to have met her face to face – I look forward to meeting you too in Zug : )

    Thank you both so much,

  4. YEsss ! It was great to meet you and Anna at IATEFL and super to learn more about Anna. Every time I get a twitter follow request, it's always her name that comes up, (along with Brad's) in the follows/is followed by slot!
    So now each time I recieve a twitter message I am reminded of the smile 🙂

  5. James, thank you so much for volunteering to interview me:)That made me clean my fridge;)

    @Brad Thank you for coming up with such a great idea:) And as to the book I heart Paris – it's definitelly an easy read;) But I learned about some great shops and cafes in Paris thanks to it:)

    @Vicky – Thank you so much for your nice comment:) And I am so happy that I get to see you again in Zug:) I'm really looking forward to that – we'll have so much fun (and learn a lot of course;))

    @Tara – I smile because I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by wonderful people – including you:) I am so glad that we met in Brighton:) And I miss you sooooo much!

    @Elizabeth Anne I am so happy that we met in Brighton:) And I look forward to seeing you again – Paris hopefully? 🙂


  6. Hi Ania & James!

    What a great interview! I left a comment before but it was when Blogger erased the blogs. I don't think people can be too forgiving. I love that your students would say that about you. Shows how much you care and generally love them. In my experience Ania you've got an amazing heart! So glad to have met you and spent some beach time with ya and James! So the question is when do we get to learn more about Lobster claws (i.e. James) 😉

  7. Shelly, thank you so much for your nice words:) I am so glad we could spend some time together:) You are a wonderful friend:) And just like you – I want to find out sth more about James;) I think Mike is going to interview him, right?

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