The one where you meet someone who reads your blog…..

Blogging is an interesting thing. For me, it’s like writing a journal. I chat and ramble and engage in interesting conversations with you guys but because everything is online, while it is real, it doesn’t feel real. Do you get me? I mean I share my stories, I ask for advice but everything is in world wide web!! It isn’t tangible. I do not meet people!!Until……..

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Well, a couple of weeks ago I met two teachers who said,

Oh! When I heard your name and saw your face, I knew I was reading your blog!

How cool! How embarrassing!!

The things I say here!! The things you guys actually have to read and then to meet teachers who have actually read my blog and like the stuff I write? It’s so weird!!

But this isn’t the first time this has happened. Last year I went for lunch with some friends in Newcastle and one of the people there said,

Oh!

I read your blog as I was preparing for my pre-sessional interview!! Your tips were helpful.

Mind-boggling folks!!

So, you don’t really understand the “power”, “dynamic” of blogging until you have that face to face interaction I guess  or maybe I don’t!

How does that make me feel?

Well, I guess I feel strange and happy at the same time. Happy that I can help someone, strange cause, boy oh boy, do I ramble!! I guess bigger bloggers are used to it, but I am not. That’s why I am writing about it today. Does meeting someone who has read what I say, change the way I blog? Nope!! Still gonna ramble!!!

So what about you guys? Have you met any of the teachers who read your blogs? How does that make you feel?

Short and sweet today. I have to write 15 posts this month!

Don’t think that’s gonna happen, but I will try!!

Till next time….

Jo

 

 

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My Whiteboard & the thought process behind it

Hi guys,

Blog post numero duo (don’t worry my counting in Italian is gonna end today!) is here. Today I am going to talk about and show you my whiteboard. I have never really shared pics of my whiteboard, but I thought I’d share something cause well it’s interesting to share the ‘thought’ process behind what goes on my bard.

My context

I was teaching academic English and the lesson was a writing lesson.

My thought process

Of course I don’t think my whiteboard is perfect nor do I think that you will want to lift it and make it your own, but it makes sense to me and my learners. My white board is often photographed (I will touch upon the whole photograph thing a bit later on).

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Let’s take a closer look

You know when you reach the end of a series of sessions which have all been leading up to the writing of a long essay? This is what this board was for. A round up of the things my learners needed to focus on before handing in the first draft of their cause and effect essay. It was, in fact, based on questions and things I had noticed needed to be highlighted. I like using asterisks and smiley/sad faces. I draw boxes, circle things and so on. I do not use colours cause I am colourblind and that does not make sense to me (see what a non colour coordinated whiteboard looks like?).

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Setting Homework

Yeap! I make a list of everything my students have to do for homework. This works for me cause I don’t erase it, so it is there the next time I go into class and I get to check it. It works for my students as well cause they take a pic and check their homework (hopefully they do it as well!!).

Camera in the class: Do or don’t?

Well, personally, I don’t mind when my students take a pic of my whiteboard. I do always warn them though. I say,

Just because I am OK with you taking a pic of my whiteboard/ slides, doesn’t mean all the tutors are, so you need to ask for their permission.

I also tell them when they need to write something down. You see, when something is super important, I tell them to take notes and not just a pic. I think they retain it better in their memory. Someone actually told me that. Dunno if it is an urban legend though or true!!

So, there you have it. My whiteboard. I’d love to see yours. As for the #hanachallenge, I am on number 2 (have committed to 15…. let’s see).

Don’t forget to follow my blog (if you aren’t already). ‘Like’ my Facebook page (see sidebar on ways to connect).

Thanks for stopping by!!

Till next time….

Blog post number 1: My big news!!!!

Hi guys!!!

A while ago Hana Ticha wrote a blog post about how lots of bloggers were not really blogging that much and we (silent bloggers) kinda took it as a challenge and decided we’d try to blog as much as possible in September.

I set a target of 15 blog posts. Let’s see if I manage to do it.

We named it #thehanachallenge and you (yes, fellow edu blogger) can take part if you wish and try to set a target of as many as possible.

Beach in Chania

Let me explain my silence

I have actually gone from a rambler to not writing much at all.

I have been busy. I mean really busy. I have too many hobbies and a demanding full time job, so I kinda stopped blogging.

The other thing is that I feel all “blogged out”. I mean, I have kinda shared most of the things I wanted to share. I have written loads of blog posts!!

Blogging was also a way I shared my ideas cause my teaching situation made me feel a bit isolated, but now I go into the staff room and exchange opinions and then it’s out of my system folks!! I never had a proper staff room before. A space to share ideas, talk about our work problems. The past few months I did.

This brings me to my big news. Yup. So, if you have been reading my blog for a while you probably know that

I am in Greece

I teach EAP in the UK during the summer

I teach Business English online

Well, this year was a bit different. My EAP journey started in March and….

I just got a full time job at a UK university!!!

It’s my first full time EAP tutor post. I am so excited and so scared!!! It will be a new chapter in my career as a teacher and quite challenging cause I have never lived in the UK during the winter, I have never been far away from my family for so long and yeah, it’s a new beginning.

So, there’s my life update and blog post numero uno!!!

Till next time….

Jo

The girlie side of ELT: 2 Summer Reads

Book Reviews
Hi everyone,
Today’s post is about books!I ❤ reading light-hearted books, especially during summer. I will actually talk to you about two of the books I have read so far and recommend them. If you like novels that are funny and about love, I have something for you love!
Both

13 Weddings by Paige Toon

I read this in 3 days. It is about a girl called Bronte who woks for a magazine. She meets someone, falls in love, and so on so on. You see her adventures and giggle from time to time. I like that about books. If a book makes me laugh, I am content. I really liked the ending because it was not predictable. There is a second story line which I did not really get (father- daughter relationship), it did make me want to read more though in order to figure out what was going on.
I recommend this book if you are looking for something easy to read, on the beach during the summer.
You can get the book here.
paige

The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson

I haven’t finished reading this but I thought I’d mention it cause first of all, I really like where the story is set. England and in an antique shop. This one is about two people who love antiques and meet. They are both married and not very happy in their  marriages. It is interesting to see the couple dynamics. Not as light- hearted as the other book, but nothing heavy (so far). Again, a book you can flip through during your holidays. You can get it here.
milly

Other recommendations

If you haven’t read the Rosie Project or the Rosie Effect, you need to. Again stories about finding love but written from a guys perspective. I have one spoiler for you. He makes a questionnaire in order to find his perfect wife. These books are really fun to read and page turners. You can get the Rosie Project here and the Rosie Effect here
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If you enjoyed what you read, do subscribe to my blog. We can also connect on social media. Click on the ones you use and connect with me 🙂  Pinterest / TwitterInstagram/Google+. /YouTube  Maybe give my Facebook page a ‘like’ and you will neva, eva miss out on my super posts.

See you in my next post!!!

xxx

Jo

Don’t Judge a book by its cover (get to know me activity)

Pin

Hi everyone!

I had a warmer idea for the ‘get to know me’ part of a lesson and I thought I’d share. It’s based on a social experiment I watched regarding blind dates. So, the warmer is called ‘judging a book by its cover’ (I made that up. Don’t know if this activity exists somewhere in the ELTsphere) and here is how it goes. Of course you can use this activity when teaching a 1-21- lesson, an online lesson or any type of lesson. You do not need any props except pen and paper.

Procedure

Introduce the task by showing a PPT or writing on the board the phrase:

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

Ask students what they think it means. Do this as a class activity. NO pair work. Students should not be talking to each other at this stage!

Once you have discussed what this means. Write the following questions on the board (My PPT: Get to know me).

start

Give students 3-4 minutes to answer these questions about you. Ask them to shout out their answers regarding you. Then show them/ write your own answers. This should take about 8-10 minutes depending on how much you want to share etc. Tell students to find someone they have not spoken to before. This will be their partner for this activity. Hand out the question papers. I have linked mine here (Your name is), but you can also make your own. Avoid controversial questions. I think it’s a good idea to stick to basics.

Question Ideas

  1. Your name is………………………………………….. 
  2. You are………………………………………… years old.
  3. You are from…………………………………………….. 
  4. Your favourite colour is………………
  5. In your free time you like to…………………………………………………………………………………… 
  6. You do not like…………………………………………. 
  7. Your favourite movie is………………………
  8. Your favourite singer is……………………
  9. Your favourite actor/ actress is………………….

This activity can last as long as you want it to depending on how many questions you have. My students are adult learners who are going to do a Masters degree (hence the uni question).

So, that’s the Get to Know me/warmer activity. Hope you like it. Let me know if you try it and how it went. Connect with me on Twitter/ Facebook/ Instagram 

Thanks for stopping by…..

Joanna

The one about the complaint….

I know, I know, I have been “missing” for quite a while, but to tell you the truth:

  • I haven’t had any blogging ideas to share
  • I have been crazy busy
  • I haven’t been in blogger mood for a while now.

Today, I am writing because I have a story to share.

A true story.

So, here goes.

I started working at a new place. Still EAP, but a different EAP contract. Compared to my pre-sessional EAP courses, the modules are pretty much the same, the skills that need to be taught the same, the ‘topics/ subjects’ the same. But, this is a new job and I was a new teacher and I shared that with my students.

I said,

Hi! I am Joanna and I am new here. I have been teaching……

I gave my BIO/ CV in a 2 truths and one lie warmer type of activity (you know the game where you write 2 true things about yourself and one lie and the students need to guess the lie).

The lie was

I have taught at XYZ before (I hadn’t taught there before)

HA! BIG mistake Jo Jo. Why hadn’t I chosen something else? Why did I want them to know that this was my first time teaching there? Who knows???!!! That warmer sentence came and bit me in the b@#t later on.

Here is what happened.

Students had to write 2000 word first drafts. I had to give feedback and return the first drafts. I gave a lot of feedback. In my mind, I was helping them improve and just making suggestions. I was really happy with my first draft feedback. So were 99% of my students.

You are a very good teacher, Joanna. You gave a lot of feedback.

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Now the feedback I gave was sandwich-y.

Positive

Some recommendations/ error correction

Positive

Now, let’s get back to the 99%. One day, during a lesson, one of my students said,

I think you are a very strict teacher, Joanna. You gave us too much feedback. I am worried that because you have not taught here before you will be too strict and you will give us bad grades. Last term we complained when we got bad marks.

Oh no she didn’t! Oh! Yes, she did. Does that sound like an intimidation? A bit cheeky, huh?

Was she implying that if I did not give a good grade, I would get a complaint of some sort?

My response was,

I have been teaching almost 20 years. I know how to give feedback on an essay. I gave you this much feedback because this is probably the only time you will get this much help with your writing. When you go to uni and write essays, your professor will  probably not give you feedback on your topic sentences or your subject verb agreement. I am trying to help you improve.

Silence.

So, that’s my story. Ever had anyone judge you cause of your newness? Ever had your ‘newness’ challenged?

Thanks for stopping by!! Don’t forget to follow my blog and connect with me on my social media/ Facebook page.

Till next time…..

J.

 

 

 

 

How I plan and write my blog posts

Blog posts

Hi everyone,

This post was inspired by Tekhnologic who wrote his 100th post (if you have not read his blog, you really need to check it out. It is amazing). He actually tweeted me and I felt like this could turn into a kind of tag, so after reading his thought process and everything that goes into his blog posts, I thought I’d share my blogging process. So, here goes.

First, let me start by saying that when I look at other teacher bloggers’ blog posts, I often feel like my blog is a bit different. My language is often very informal and my posts are often borderline personal. I actually have a girlie side of ELT tab, remember?As no one has told me off or sent me any ‘ you are a loser/ teacher blogger’ hate comment yet, I stick to it because I love it. For me,

this space is more like a teacher journal and less like a place where a teacher would go to learn. Sure I may provoke a thought or two from time to time, but there are other blogs that are much more informative than mine.

having said that, I do need to say that I love blogging, I really enjoy sharing my thoughts with you guys and when from time time (very rarely :p), I share something that can be useful in the classroom, I love getting the lovely comments from you guys.

Why I started blogging

Marisa, my Delta tutor, suggested I start blogging as a way to reflect (as part of my Delta) and a monster (aka me, the blogger) was born.

My blog post thought process

There is none. I mean, I don’t plan blog posts, I do not schedule, and in general, my blogging is all over the place. That’s something you probably already know if you have been following me for a while.That is why some times I publish a zillion posts some months and others, just 2. You see most of my blog posts are me sharing thoughts. These thoughts pop into my little brain, and then I feel the urge to share, and I do. I share and share (yeah, sometimes I overshare).

BUT

I do have some more serious posts where I share lesson plans or other teacher related materials. Those take more time. Those I kinda plan, as in, I actually do research in order to write. I see what is out there in the blogosphere. I find sources. I make handouts.  I draft, redraft etc.I want them to be more ‘professional’ and of course more useful for you.

Let’s Share

So, the blogging part (writing) does not really take much time cause it’s ideas and thoughts that are bursting to come out. The sharing takes more time. I share my posts mostly on Facebook. I also share on Twitter (I use hashtags like #elt #eap #businessenglish #edchat #eltchat), Pinterest and Stumbleupon.

My blog in numbers

I have written about 205 blog posts (and some guest posts). My most popular blog post is the Amy Cuddy TED Talk lesson plan (even unis have used it :)). My most successful post, in my view, is the #youngerteacherself blog post, which became a tag, and many teachers wrote their own post.(if you have a blog and want to join the tag, do do so. I’d love to hear your advice).

So, I that’s my thought process. Let me know what yours is. Thanks to T. for the inspo. There is a hashtag #ELTbehindthescenes

If you are in Athens, join me at the TESOL Greece convention on the 18th/ 19th of March. I will be talking about drawings in the classroom (Saturday 18th at 12:30). How a teacher can use different drawings in order to teach different concepts.

Connect with me on Twitter/ Facebook/ Instagram 

That’s all for now.

talk soon.

xxx

J.