Monthly Archives: May 2012

What’s it like, inside your PLN? Guest post by Alexandra Chistyakova

It’s been a looong while since I posted here last, which was right after British Council’s E-merging forum 2. Days of work and procrastination and pressing deadlines from all over followed – and finally it’s almost SUMMER!

Well I”d like to welcome you into this summer 2012 with the first ever guest blog post on my blog! Ta-da!=) This post has the AIM. It is meant to attract/tempt/convince/seduce EFL teachers into joining online professional community that exists here – in the blogosphere, on Facebook, on Twitter. There’s NO reason I see for teachers to not join us. To not make connections in the global ELT sphere. To not benefit from all the knowledge that is given. ETC. You know it – you’ve been here before, so if you find this a good idea – please share this post around, make it reach the teachers who are skeptical as yet. Let’s get them on board! They, too, have lots to share!=)

Alexandra is my colleague and I”m so happy she’s created her PLN. So we decided it’d be a good idea to share this example – with an intention in mind to show that it’s simple and so possible!) Enjoy Sasha’s insider views!



If you’d asked me about my view of teaching almost a year ago, I’d most likely have mentioned the following words and phrases: endless time and energy-consuming hard work; a repetitive but yet involving constant challenge and stress dead-end job; long anti-social hours, toil and burden. I did feel happy and content after successful lessons but these were a cold comfort to me. My teaching career’s future didn’t seem bright and promising. I thought to myself that students would come and go but I would go old and turn into an old spinster in the end. Not very optimistic, was it?


However, starting my PLN added a new momentum to my work. Getting to know so many other dedicated like-minded teachers around the globe opened up new horizons to me, energized and inspired me. And though I’m still working hard never finding spare time for myself, my job doesn’t seem so pessimistic to me anymore. Now, to my description of teaching I would add the following: joy, excitement, communication, purpose, inspiration, interchange, life-long passion. So my job ceased to be anti-social and got the purpose.


Before establishing my PLN, my professional life was something like sitting in a room and socializing and networking only with the people who happened to come in into the room. Creating your nation and/or worldwide PLN is like walking out of this tiny room into a sunny summer day and meeting lots of people walking around, smiling, open and friendly, and ready to share, the people who are enjoying their lives and profession.


 A PLN is both beneficial and joyful. First, you establish a lot of new connections who you can learn from and who are interested in your work and who you can share your experience with or ask for advice. This no doubt helps you to grow professionally. Second, you develop a new perspective at what you are doing. You find source of inspiration and creativity. You make new friends – just think of exchanging casual messages or commenting on each others’ photos on a regular basis with such biggies as Scott Thornbury, Ken Wilson, Luke Meddings, Penny Ur, Jim Scrivener and others! Doesn’t it feel great?!


We are all professionals engaged in the same field. One might think, “What can I, a secondary school English teacher, give or share with such biggies as Penny or Scott?” The answer (given to me by Luke Meddings) is your perspective, the way you look at teaching process and issues. The people out there, in your future PLN, are waiting for you and ready to listen, discuss, learn from and share with you, because what you’re doing and know is valuable and unique.



 Alexandra has been a teacher of English at Moscow State University (Russia) for 7 years. She has also been working as a private tutor. Her professional interests range from teaching very young learners to adults. Follow Alexandra on Twitter @AlyaAlexandra, on Facebook here. She has recently started her own blog – ELT Diary