Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher, trainer, writer and manager

10-year challenge

You may have seen the 10-year challenge meme on facebook or Instagram. Here’s my take, and something of a reflection on the decade, one in which I’ve grown and developed enormously as a person, and learnt so much.

Here’s the first photo of me I can find from 2010, from January 9th:

Sandy sitting in an armchair

I was halfway through my second year of full-time teaching after university/CELTA. I’d completed the IH Business English Teaching Certificate and was partway through the IH Certificate in Teaching Young Learners (before teens were included).

It was another 10 weeks before I presented at a conference for the first time (March 2010 – though I’d attended a few one-day events in Brno, Bratislava and Prague), 6 months before I joined Twitter (June 2010) and 10 months before I started my blog (October 2010).

Here’s a picture of me from Christmas Day, three days ago:

Here are 20 things I’ve done in the intervening period, ready to launch into 2020:

  1. completed the IH Certificate in Advanced Methodology, IH Certificate in Online Tutoring, and Cambridge Delta.
  2. started a Masters in Professional Development in Language Education with NILE.
  3. become a CELTA trainer, and worked on 14 courses with a range of great trainers.
  4. realised that I can be a Director of Studies, and been one for 4.5 years.
  5. published 674 blogposts (this is number 675) on this blog, and many posts and articles in other places too.
  6. written three books, and contributed to a few others.
  7. tweeted over 29,000 times, mostly at conferences I think!
  8. helped to curate #ELTpics and the #ELTchat summaries page.
  9. become addicted to IATEFL conferences, volunteered on the IATEFL Membership and Marketing Committee, and set up and run the IATEFL blog for a couple of years.
  10. presented at a lot of other conferences and online events.
  11. been diagnosed and learnt to live with ulcerative colitis and become a much better cook and a considerably healthier eater in the process.
  12. got a Fitbit, and drastically increased the amount of exercise I do.
  13. visited a lot of new cities and countries.
  14. learnt 2 new languages to a reasonable level, and had a go at 7 others to fuel my addiction.
  15. met a lot of fascinating people and made a lot of new friends.
  16. taken around 60,000 photos, give or take.
  17. become increasingly aware of my massively high carbon footprint, and started trying to reduce it.
  18. bought a flat.
  19. found other people who enjoy board games as much as I always have!
  20. learnt to answer back to my inner voice, deal with my thoughts in a much more constructive way, and stay calm and manage my emotions in challenging situations.

So what’s next?

The biggest thing I’d like the 2020s to bring for me is an answer to this 2016 letter, though point 20 means that it’s not even close to the issue I felt like it was before. I don’t think about it anywhere near as much as I used to, but it’s always there a little bit. I know time will tell, and I’m happy either way, but a family would be nice (yes, I know there are other ways that can be achieved!)

Apart from that, more of the same please. That includes the next ELT Playbook, which I’ll be starting soon if all goes to plan. I love my life, I don’t regret anything from the past 10 years, as even the bad things have been experiences I’ve learnt from which have made me who I am today, and I’m excited about what the future holds.

Have a great decade. Enjoy!

Comments on: "10-year challenge" (19)

  1. You rock! Seriously, you have been a source of inspiration for me for as long as I have known you. You are such a go getter and have overcome so many challenges over the years with so much positivity, and created so many opportunities for yourself and then made so much of them. Congratulations and I hope the decade ahead brings you a lot of joy (and maybe even the family you are hoping for, if it is meant to be…) Lots of love and keep shining x


    • Thank you for such an amazing message Lizzie! 🙂 I love learning from and with you too, and thank you again for the books – they’ll come in so useful. You’re exactly one of the friends I mentioned in the post, and I’m so glad I met you and got to know you. I hope the 2020s bring you everything you want and need xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • 🙂 Just the truth! Glad the books will be useful, I like that they are getting a new lease of life. Re meeting, knowing, learning, me too. Was also thinking I might do my own version of your post, so to speak. Been quite a decade for me too (basically the final 3 months of CELTA + the rest of my career thus far!)… A nice positive thing to do. Let’s see what the next decade brings us and what we bring it! xxx


  2. Love this post, Sandy! That’s the decade when we met! Xx


  3. Hana Tichá said:

    Wow, Sandy. I admire your ability to recall all those bits and pieces of your past (not that they are really bits and pieces – they are all amazing achievements!). You are a truly inspiring person. Happy 2020. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. […] Sandy’s 10-year Challenge has inspired me to do one of my own (something which the original 10-year challenge she mentioned did not manage – she is clearly more inspiration than it was :-p ). A whole decade is coming to an end (something which escaped my attention until I read Sandy’s post – I blame the cough and snot-fest I’ve been partaking of since Christmas Eve…) so I concur it’s a good time for a reflective activity. […]


  5. Tyson Seburn said:

    Lovely! I’ve seen yours and Lizzie’s now and do enjoy a good ole throwback to blog challenges, especially since I do love looking back and 10 years is an amazing amount of reflective time to see accomplishments and change. 😀


  6. Congrats on all you’ve achieved, Sandy, and thank you for sharing so much excellent content here on the blog as well as on twitter and fb. I agree with Hana – you’re an inspiration to the ELT community. I wish you all the best in 2020!


  7. […] younger to present self–a somewhat shallow reflection on one’s existence. But Sandy Millin and then Lizzie Pinard married this into a blogged reflection on themselves in the 2010s and so […]


  8. I wish I had words to say how wonderful you are, Sandy! I’ve been your silent admirer 🙂 while following you through your blog- Delta Conversations. I am still not half way through my Delta journey but I am so glad that I found you along the way as a person who inspires and someone who is Real inside out. I follow your blog and hope one day I will have a story to tell. All the best to you for many years ahead and keep inspiring us with your amazing achievements. Best wishes to the best


    • Thank you very much for these lovely words Zsidik! Good luck with your Delta, and let me know when you’re finished so we can add your conversation 🙂


  9. […] I thought I would start by reflecting on the last ten years by joining Sandy Millin, Lizzie Pinard and Tyson Seburn in the 10-year challenge. Here’s my list of 20 things I’ve done […]


  10. […] that was doing the rounds at the beginning of this year.  By doing so I am joining James Taylor, Sandy Millin, Lizzie Pinard and Tyson Seburn in the 10-year challenge. So, I’m a little bit late to the […]


  11. findpol51 said:

    Dear Sandy,
    A range of achievements and ones you can be proud of.

    I look forward to reading as many of your posts as I can.



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