A Letter To My Younger Self


This post is part of a blog challenge created by Joanna Malefaki in which we write a letter to our younger teaching selves. To read more posts in the challenge, click here.

Hi James,

So you’re just about to give your first lesson, armed with nothing more than a few pages of interview questions and a whole lot of curiosity. Before I give you some advice, you should know that I’ve teaching English for 9 years now and you have no idea about the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met and the things I’ve seen. But you’ll discover all of that in time. Here’s what you need to know right now… Continue reading “A Letter To My Younger Self”

A Little More About Me – A Blog Challenge

I’m a bit late to this party, but since I was tagged by @vickyloras @JoshSRound @seburnt @ShellTerrell @_divyamadhavan @leoselivan @Marisa_C @cecielt @cioccas and @shetlandESOL, I really had to respond! The blog challenge is to provide 11 random facts about myself, answer the 11 questions posed by one of the challengers, nominate 11 bloggers to take part in the challenge, and think of 11 questions to ask my nominated bloggers. Continue reading “A Little More About Me – A Blog Challenge”

Can Technology Save The Day When Times Are Tough?

To inaugurate their blog, TESOL Greece invited bloggers to answer the following question:

”During an economic crisis, resources (books, budgets, infrastructure) are limited but high standards and qualifications are required so that learners can survive on the job market. Can the use of technology help learners and teachers overcome this problem? If so, how?”

Continue reading “Can Technology Save The Day When Times Are Tough?”

ELTchat Blog Challenge: My First Lesson Plan

The current ELTchat Blog Challenge is to share with us your first lesson plan. If you can’t find it or threw it away in a tidy up many moons ago, then why not tell us about your first ever lesson as an EFL teacher? What do you remember? What do you wish you’d known then that you know now? And when you look back on that lesson, how do you trace your own development since that day? I’d love to hear about your memories and reflections.

If you’d like to learn more, listen to Bethany Cagnol’s reflections on the ELTchat podcast.

I’ve actually already blogged about my first ever lesson, in fact it was my first post proper on this blog back in October 2010. For this post I have decided to literally write about my first lesson plan, the first time I ever sat down and wrote out my aims and the procedure of the class in a formal way. Not surprisingly, this was on my CELTA. Continue reading “ELTchat Blog Challenge: My First Lesson Plan”

Minimal Materials Blog Challenge: Vocabulary Revision with Post It Notes

Richard Gresswell ran a minimal resources blog challenge over on his blog. Here are his rules:

“Describe an activity that requires no more than the teacher, students, and possibly making use of the  board, pens, and paper. Describe the activity aims and procedure concisely in no more than 200 words.”

So here’s my entry, a simple vocabulary revision activity I did last week with a class of two business students… Continue reading “Minimal Materials Blog Challenge: Vocabulary Revision with Post It Notes”

Blogoversary & Blog Challenge: What’s Your Story?

Last weekend it was my first blogoversary. A big thank you to everyone who has stopped by, retweeted the links, added me to their blog roll and RSS feed, and commented. The following post is part of Vicky Loras’ blog challenge and it seemed to fit with my first proper post from just over a year ago. In the challenge she asked us to reflect on one of the options below:

  • Have you made a big move?
  • A career change?
  • Have you been teaching and living in a country for a long time, but have seen changes in yourself as a person, educator or both?
  • Are you thinking of a change in the future?
I’ve written about a moment when everything changed for me. I hope you find it interesting (and not too self-indulgent!).
Time to decide…

Blog Challenge: Compare and Contrast Photos

I previously mentioned in my Free iPad Apps for the ELT Classroom post that I used these photos in a recent class, and Brad Patterson’s compare and contrast photo blog challenge gives me the opportunity to go into a little bit more depth about how I used them.

Taken from the Guardian eyewitness iPad app

Continue reading “Blog Challenge: Compare and Contrast Photos”

ELT Blog Challenge – An Interview With Beth Cagnol

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.

There were many highlights at this years IATEFL conference, but for me, in terms of pure enjoyment, the Pecha Kucha evening couldn’t be beat. The standout performance was undoubtedly the 6 minute French class given by Beth Cagnol, the president of TESOL France. It was hilarious, and genuinely useful for me as I live in Brussels and cannot speak French. Ever since then I’ve been using “Pardon” for every situation!
I couldn’t believe that Beth hadn’t been interviewed for the ELT blog challenge, so I had to step up and ask her. I knew her answers would be interesting and entertaining, and she hasn’t disappointed. So please allow me to introduce a natural entertainer, the first lady of TESOL France and the future first ELT stand up comedy teacher… Ms Bethany Cagnol!
Beth working it on the promenade

Continue reading “ELT Blog Challenge – An Interview With Beth Cagnol”

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!