Hello and welcome back to my blog, where I welcome you and myself as well. This has been the longest stretch of non-writing in the 7-year-old history of my blog, and for the first time I am not feeling bad about it. There were things to do and worry about, there were people to talk to about teaching in the actual offline world, there were friendships to be nourished. At 32, I now allow myself to take it easy(ish) and practice focusing on what’s right in front of me and what’s most important. This paragraph could run for many more lines, but nobody really cares about non-writing, so I’ll get to the writing then.
With similar experiences of creative
blocks silence in the past, I’ve learnt that the easiest blog post to write upon return is a random listicle of loosely connected thoughts, ideas, facts, news, impressions. So here goes…
***** What’s on my mind on August 21st, 2018, in Nha Trang, Vietnam *****
(1) Vietnam is a beautiful country and I have pictures to prove it.
(2) The Vietnamese people I’ve met who speak English make next to none grammar mistakes. Teachers, students, nuns (more on the nuns below). Vietnamese learners I’ve got to know appreciate feedback – in fact, directly ask for it! And they seem to be really willing to work hard on their English. They want to be your Facebook friend – and your friend. They are easy-going, friendly, nice, and very open.
(3) For slightly over a month I’ve been involved in something special, something different, something that’s giving me back all my energy to think of teaching creatively, with a purpose, with enthusiasm, with emotional rewards … teaching the way I’d sort of got out of touch with. I was invited to be a teacher of English (with a focus on developing speaking and listening skills) in a Facebook group to over 1300 practising Vietnamese Buddhists, both laymen and monks/nuns living in temples and pagodas. It’s a closed Facebook community and the safest, kindest online learning environment I’ve ever encountered. It is TRULY full of gratitide, love, and respect (well I feel that way). I am not a Buddhist but I am a teacher, and I wonder if such ELT strand as EBP (English for Buddhist Purposes) already exists – or if I’m the pioneer 🙂 Anyway, doing this has been bringing me TRUE joy in the teacher fulfillment sense (as well as many online blessings and general good vibes and thoughts). It has also made me go outside my comfort zone and create… a YouTube channel for the learners to have easy access to the videos and tasks. I have not yet learnt to make the videos look “cool” and properly “vloggy,” but I have learnt to edit automatically created transcripts. Baby steps. A crucially important aspect of this non-job has been getting to know SO MANY friendly, interested, dedicated to learning people of all ages!!! In my 12 days of vacation in Vietnam I have received many invitations to meet – and in fact, met one of the students (a nun) from this Buddhist learning community. I feel Vietnam has its arms ready for a big embrace for me (I am naive and impressionable!). By the sheer length of this point in my listicle you might figure out how excited I get talking about this… Will there be other blog reports about it? We don’t know (but likely)). This teaching makes me happy. Moving on to next point.
(4) I helped to organize excitELT conference in Tokyo in May. I loved all about it and felt especially good about two good deeds: we collected a box of used and new graded readers and sent them to a high school in a small provincial town in Vietnam (a country where for many teachers getting graded readers to use in class with their students is utterly impossible – so isn’t it but just a little bit unfair to go and tell them how amazing extensive reading with those readers is or can be?… just thinking outloud..); at excitELT this year we also offered mentoring to presenters who felt like they wanted help with their presentation prep (it was a great experience for me and I think I’d like to do more of it! That is, help.).
(5) I feel like a list of 5 items would be good, but what’s my number 5?… Oh yes, I’m looking into finding a job in Vietnam and moving
there here. If you want to hire me or know someone who might be interested in hiring me, or just know someone or something – do leave a comment. =) Thank you kindly!
Thank you for reading.
Come again, I might write more soon. 😉