Happy New Year!
As I only spend a few hours a week in the classroom I’ll change some of them to other areas of my teaching-related career.
Day 1: your favourite activity from 2018
Teaching people how to use Quizlet Live. It’s quick and easy to set up, and students and teachers get really engaged.
I taught a group of elementary men from Yemen in the summer – normally at the end of the lesson they were out of the room like a shot. On the day when I showed them Quizlet Live ten minutes before the end of the lesson, they were still there ten minutes after the lesson finished and hadn’t noticed it was time to go because they were so engaged in the game.
Day 2: most memorable story from 2018
Lots of great memories, but this one was particularly fun…
Presenting at the IATEFL online conference for early career teachers, working with Ruth to talk about how to approach lesson planning. We spent 10 minutes describing our own lesson planning, then 50 answering questions from all over the world. It was an adrenaline rush and I loved it – we could have continued for much longer, except I had to teach and my students were knocking on the door! 🙂 If you’re an IATEFL member, you can watch the recording in the webinars section of the members’ area. If you’re not, why not join?
Day 3: the best piece of advice you were given in 2018
Day 4: the moment in 2018 you felt proud as a trainer
Day 5: your favourite memory as a student
Performing in our flamenco concert in June. It was third time lucky, as I missed the first year due to having a sprained ankle, and the second year due to illness on the day. It was so much fun and I’m really hoping I make it to this year’s one!
Day 6: the funniest story from 2018
Day 7: your favourite coursebook in 2018
I don’t really use coursebooks that much, but I really like how useful the Outcomes teacher’s books are, especially if the teacher who’s using them doesn’t have much training.
Day 8: a new idea you implemented in 2018
We introduced mentoring at our school this year. Every teacher has been assigned a mentor who they meet for 30 minutes a week. The system was worked out with the help of the senior team at my school, and we have some second year teachers who are also volunteering as mentors. I’m really pleased with how it’s going so far and we’ve had some great feedback. We’ve also got quite a few ideas for how to improve it next year.
Day 9: your favourite teaching aid in 2018
Quizlet – games, printable flashcards, self-study at home, Quizlet Live…
Day 10: the best joke you’ve heard in 2018
Not a joke, but something else that makes me laugh. I love the ‘Role call’ videos featuring on James Corden’s show. Here’s a recent one of him doing musicals with Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda:
Day 11: the moment in 2018 when you felt proud of your student
When Emma got the results she wanted in her Delta 🙂
Day 12: your favourite teaching website in 2018
Probably Hana Ticha’s blog – so many ideas and things to think about!
Day 13: the person who inspired you in 2018
Phil Longwell. Read his blog to find out why. Inspired by Phil, and other educators who are talking about mental health, we have started to make changes to how we provide support at our school, and we are already seeing the results. Some examples include the mentoring mentioned above, a specific session focussed on wellbeing in our induction week, and a generally open atmosphere where we make it clear that mental health is just as important as physical health.
Day 14: the moment in 2018 you realised WHY you’re doing your job
Seeing teachers from our school feeling confident enough to share what they’ve learnt with the wider teaching community, through online conferences (IH – Emma, Ruth; IATEFL – Ruth and me), the IH Journal (Helen, Amy), and their own blogs (Emma, Ruth).
Day 15: your greatest challenge in 2018
My health, as always.
Day 16: your strongest point as a teacher
Networking. Drawing on the knowledge of the amazing teaching community that I’m part of, both online and off.
Day 17: most motivational idea/quotation/picture in 2018
I curated the IATEFL blog until August 2018. Reading all of the stories of how IATEFL has helped teachers from around the world is truly motivational.
Day 18: 3 reasons why you became a teacher
- To help other people.
- To explore.
- To learn.
Day 19: your favourite teaching application in 2018
The new ‘word’ function on the BYU corpus pages.
Day 20: a piece of advice you would give to a rookie teacher
Ask for help!
(and buy my book) 🙂
Day 21: the best CPD book you read in 2018
I’m re-reading The English Verb by Michael Lewis [affiliate link – but it’s super expensive 😦 ], which is probably the book that has most influenced the way I think about English. I’m trying to work out how to convey the way he describes language to students and teachers in a succinct and accessible way (watch this space).
Day 22: your greatest frustration in 2018
That people don’t read adverts properly when they apply for jobs, or do and ignore the requirements stated. You’re wasting your time and mine.
Day 23: one thing you want non-teachers to understand
Just because you grow up speaking a language, doesn’t mean you can automatically teach it. You still need to learn how to be a teacher, work hard at it, and continually develop. Pay for good quality, trained, professional teachers, not just the cheapest person who happens to have the ‘right’ passport – all of us will benefit, and you’ll get your money’s worth.
Day 24: your most memorable teaching experiment in 2018
Teaching Polish to our teachers. Although I started with a few lessons in 2017, 2018 is when I’ve realised that I can do it, even as an intermediate learner myself. It’s so much fun, and I can sneak in some teacher training by modelling activities too 🙂
Day 25: your personal success in 2018
Launching ELT Playbook 1, my self-published ebook aimed at helping new teachers. I’m really pleased with the reception it’s got, and am looking forward to finishing the next one in the series.
Day 26: one thing you plan to change in 2019
An ongoing project: my ability to completely switch off – much improved, but not there yet.
Day 27: your greatest discovery in 2018
That I should stop saying ‘I don’t have time’ and instead say ‘I have prioritised my time differently.’ We probably have time to do everything we might want to, but we don’t always make time for it. Life is about choices, and sometimes we choose (not) to do something at a particular time – how we prioritise the things we do is our responsibility, not some abstract thing from outside us.
Also, how much better I feel when I have proper time off, prioritising it over other things. I did know this before, but had forgotten. By the way, thanks to Neil for making sure the CELTA course I did in the summer had lots of space in it for time off and reflection, and for reminding me how much I enjoy riding a bike!
Day 28: which superpower would make you a Super-DoS
Staying calm all the time in all situations. I’m better at it than I used to be, but it still needs work!
Day 29: one area to improve in your teaching in 2019
Reusing language that has come up in class, not just recording it. The recording part has improved massively over the last couple of years, but I need to follow through better.
Day 30: how do you plan to start your first lesson in 2019
By teaching our teachers vocabulary to name places in a town in Polish. And the second lesson will be introducing a Proficiency group to the joys of pantomimes.
Day 31: the most important thing you want to remember tomorrow
To go to my physio appointment at the right time – changes in routine are confusing!
Here are different challenges I’ve completed in previous years if you fancy writing something similar but this one doesn’t appeal:
- 2013 – WordPress automatic stats
- 2014 – the ups and downs of the year
- 2015 – 30 questions to ask yourself
- 2016 – things I’ve enjoyed this year
- 2017 – 17 things I’ve learnt in 2017
It’s been fascinating reading back through them and remembering the bad times and the good.
Here’s to a peaceful and prosperous 2019!