Monthly Archives: April 2013

Post Failure Fest Post

One of the biggest failures of the recent 2 months I’ve been forced to deal with is finding a way to publish a blog post. I know I’ve been ranting about it too much on Facebook, I now have all the answers except one – when is my service provider (Rostelecom) going to unblock WordPress?…
Until then, I’m left with posting through 3G on iPad. Not too convenient, as you might imagine, but I can’t wait any longer. I do want to write.

That was a grumpy preface, now to the point. This week the ELT community have been devouring bits and bites and heaps of knowledge and experience end expertise shared in Liverpool at the IATEFL conference. I especially was looking forward to the Failure Fest, which took place on April 11th, was being live streamed and recorded, too. You can watch the recording here, I believe it must be available for several months on the official IATEFL Online website, together with all the other sessions, plenaries and interviews.

Back to the Failure Fest. Why do I think it’s something special?
(1) a catchy title;
(2) 8 successful people from the ELT world share stories of professional mishaps (well, 9 really, as we should count Ken Wilson the Event Compere with his 4.5-min story as well);
(3) whatever your professional interest is, whichever SIG you belong to, it’s something you can relate to, it’s somewhere you’ve been, too.

Failing is about anybody. Everybody, really. I wish I could *pompously* say that I feel FINE in the failures I have, but it hasn’t always been the case. I’m sharing 3 stories of my own now.

Failure #1. Failing to persist. This comes down to my character, I guess. I’ve been doing that so many times – getting enthusiastic, starting off with a lot of drive and then having this drive subdue and fade away before reaching a destined point or a tangible result. It’s about learning other languages (German, Italian, French, Spanish). It’s about sports (fitness, climbing). It’s about online, as well as offline, projects. I’ve recently started to learn how to work on that, though, but I still find it hard to keep the fire burning.

Failure #2. Failing to teach grammar. I feel it very acutely that I want to keep my teaching as much tailored to satisfy learners’ needs and expectations as possible, and I often end up professionally and, more importantly for me, emotionally insecure because of that. For example, from term to term, checking my university students’ questionnaire forms with their feedback on our lessons, I learn that they are not getting enough grammar. Do I feel bad about this? I do, more than about anything else. Just because I am well aware of how right they are. I don’t feel comfortable teaching grammar out of context as our university course suggests, and apparently I am not doing quite enough to contextualise grammar material in our course (it’s on my to-do list every summer..but see #1). Totally my bad.

Failure #3. Failing to get along with some people (colleagues). I feel I must give myself credit for working the most on fixing this one during the past 2 years. This is something that can be quite painlessly explored and learnt to be handled (uff passive passive). But I did fail to fit in at the private school where I worked for 2 years, and so I had to quit.

There are other general tendencies in my failing, as well as examples to prove those..but may be some next time.

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