Tag Archives: Resolutions

More about 30 questions

So I blog sporadically here and there (and there) but this particular emerging space is my comfort hub. There’s no, or little if ever, sense of a critical eye frowning over what I post on these pages, which fact makes me feel free to blabber my way from month to month, all through the year into the next. Namely, into Orthodox Christmas day 2015, right into this post about how I asked myself and my students 30 questions.

 

***** Taking personal (and a personal journal) into class *****

 

As much as I’d like to fantasize about myself being special, I really am no different. Every end of the year I look both back and ahead to come up with reflections and resolutions that are then shaped into something on paper. These have been lists, mindmaps, structured passages, incoherent passages, questions and answers. Well, frankly speaking, this is the first time the year analysis came round as answers to 30 questions. You can find the questions themselves in this post I just wrote for TeachingEnglish Blog, and to make your life even simpler here’s an extract from that post to shed some light:

 

In the end of December I decided to do a certain exercise that I’d found on the Psychologies mag webpage (here’s the link, but I feel the need to warn you that the page is in Russian). The idea of this exercise is to help you shape your reflections of the year by asking yourself 30 questions. These questions were picked by the author of the article from the book “My 5 years. 365 questions, 1825 answers.”

 

Unimportant note with a possibly more useful link: after 2 minutes of googling and finding this page for the English (original?) version of the diary book, I realized I’d seen it before. Josette LeBlanc would know where =)

 

As I was thinking, smoothly and effortlessly retrieving the highlights of my year, and methodically writing my way through the questions, I saw this as a perfect task for my class. The following day the following class happened:

* Students (2 girls in their twenties) and I worked together on translating the 30 questions from Russian into English. The task was good for their level, but more importantly, it was a useful time to collect their thoughts for the future answers.

* The task assigned was to pick any 3 questions to talk about; any other 2 questions to write about; 1 more question to ask their partner and ensure some dialogue happens. As I’d brought my journal into class, they could see I’d already answered a few questions myself and kept writing as they were writing. Initially, I had not planned to actually share my answers or participate in the 3-2-1 task but I had no problem doing so when they invited me to.

 

Then we ate gingerbread cookies that I’d cooked and brought, drank cherry tea and were off for holidays, more deserved for the students than for this idle travelling teacher this term. The class was as pleasant and smooth as I’d seen it to be, but the most exciting thing was to find the impact of it in my Instagram feed right on New Year’s Eve. One of these students tagged me in a long post she’d written there (in Russian)), which summed up her reflections of this, important for her, year. It was the first long Instagram caption (post, I insist!) for her, and of this sort, and she mentioned that our class had inspired this. It was undoubtedly the best present and, in plain honest words, – just made me feel happy and even somewhat special for a fleeting second.

 

That’s all that happened. It took me 2 more days to finish my 30 questions which, in fact, did not cover most significant points and shifts in my own year 2014. It was a truly special year and parts of it I have been sharing in this space throughout the year. I will continue to do so with no promise of my posts to be solely about teaching. In the meantime and to finish the first post 2015, here are three of my *23* resolutions for this new promising year, accompanied by 1 image:

1. I will try to write one blog post or an article once a week (“What a lame resolution it is”, I thought to myself as I found this new blog project by David Harbinson!).

2. I will try to look for a chance to write freelance for some online magazine. NON-ELT. Challenge of all types – to create more opportunities for writing with deadlines; to see what I can write about if not about English language teaching. It’s a resolution with roots all the way back to my teenage years, you gotta start some time.

3. I will be this (see the picture). In my class and out of it.

FullSizeRender (1)

My current personal journal, thanks to Cecilia Lemos, still true 3 years after.

Thanks for reading.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

[I] Don’t resolve.

Just like Malu Sciamarelli this year I’m not writing resolutions.

I also feel significantly rebellious. Not much linguistically, but rather in regards to the perceptions about teaching I’m gathering from various sources online. Maybe this year I will have the will, spirit and intelligence potential to get a little closer to seeing the picture clearer, to having more understanding, to shaping understanding into thoughts which I’ll then learn, through practice that I’m planning, to put down as less confusing sentences. This is not a resolution as it is so tough to even promise it to myself.

I know I haven’t replied with due respect to all of the taggers for the 11 challenge. I mean to say I haven’t replied or reacted almost at all and only very few (=a couple of) people know why or have been informed that I care a lot about their tag. I use this chance to say so to all of the educators who thought of me in their hectic pre-NY time. Thank you, I appreciate the thought a lot and every tag I got gave me a reason to feel needed, if only for the challenge. As for the grounds of my denial, at the end of the year I had a sudden pang of self-reproach in egocentrism and this challenge did not look very helpful. However, RANDOM is one of my favorite English words, so if you read my posts which I might be writing this year with some new meaning for myself (explained a bit at the bottom of this post), you risk finding random facts about me. Let’s think of it as a really lame way to attract visitors, improve blog stats and also develop your readers’ observation skills. This is not a resolution because of the sheer meaning of “random”.

Unlike my ordinary self this year I cringed at the thought of and detested my routine of meticulously writing up a list (a format so much loved) of achievements of all kinds for the past year. Instead, I let the mind and pen loose which resulted in a one-page something. I didn’t press myself to structure that page and think thoroughly. I now can share with you a random achievement that has just sprung to my mind: I clarified some points regarding punctuation. However, I fear you may find examples of non-compliance to the rules in this very post and many others. It’s all the mind and pen on the loose. At this point I feel I can finally pull the post to the ELT side of it in an extremely random fashion and maybe question myself and you:

How important are the rules in the language we teach? This is actually a real question to you and I’d appreciate your ideas, which are surely better than mine.
I can say I will likely be very serious about spelling mistakes my students make. Pronunciation and twisting of basic grammar patterns make me almost shudder, too. I’m very demanding for ideas and their logics. I am not keen on excessive comma usage so typical of Russian students. And that’s may be it.
I think, I am sure, my being a “connected” teacher with quite a bit of various language exposure online has spoilt me. I’m more relaxed about certain things than I ever was, and that is especially obvious when I overhear some conversations in the staff room – and hold my tongue. I’m afraid this term in particular LAX has been the word to describe both language and discipline in my classes. This is not (though could be in fact) a resolution to do otherwise. But maybe something I would like to muse about: reasons, consequences, impact, for myself and my students.

And finally, there’s the idea which lands here from outer space of my mind.
What’s in a blog for a teacher? A million things depending on who the teacher is and what’s in their head. And possibly it is good if your view of what you need your blog for is strong and standing firm. And possibly it’s just about as good if your answer to the “why do I blog?” does not remain the same as you blog on. My current *momentary* view suggests this space is the space to talk for me. I’m sorry if it’s not always ELT-related (but you may also notice there is nothing in the title of the blog that hints at ELT). Now THIS is a resolution. This year, as I see it for myself now, my blog is to zoom in on some things and zoom out on others. I’ll bring in the focus or have it blurred. So maybe through the planned practice of conscientious reading, reflective thinking and steadfast writing I’ll be a bit more of the type of a teacher and a person I want to be.
You as my community are the source, nudge and support factor. So stay with me, please. Thank you.

Now this is almost over and for those who made it till the end there’s a prize. Last year I did resolve to read certain blogs – and without specifically remembering it I actually did just that (on almost, almost all of them)! A bit of an achievement, too.
Here’s the list of reading I’d include in 2014, in addition to those from 2013 which I am not going to desert.
Unwrapping the Education Box by Divya Madhavan
EFL Notes by Mura Nava
Authentic Teaching by Willy C. Cardoso
Livinglearning by Anne Hendler
AlienTeachers 2.0 by Alex Walsh
The Breathy Vowel by Alex Grevett
Lauraahaha by Laura Patsko
mikejharrison ESOL teacher by Mike Harrison
Anything from Chia Suan Chong that will maybe appear here or on the pages of ETprofessional.
And iTDi Blog quite obviously.

Tagged , , , , , ,
Advertisements