EAP practitioner & identity crisis

So, the Baleap conference ended today. This was my first Baleap conference. If you do not know what Baleap conference is, it is a conference about EAP (English for academic purposes), I guess. EAP practitioners talking about EAP stuff.

I attended a lot of talks. I also presented with my colleague. A Pecha Kucha (that will be a different blog post). I learnt some things, but mostly started thinking about a lot of stuff. This conference made me want to blog and share some thoughts with you guys.

Thought number 1

One of the main themes of this Baleap conference was the role of the EAP practitioner.

Who are we?

A whole identity crisis (kinda).

Are we teachers? Are we academics? Are we support staff?

Who are we?

A whole plenary was dedicated to that.

We say we are not subject specialists

We do research/scholarship, so we are academics

We are counselors

We are language specialists

We are teachers

We are not just teachers

And lots more along these lines

The most interesting comment though (for me) was made by someone in the audience.

We do similar things at every single uni around the UK, but we all have different titles

(and salaries may I add) .

When teaching EAP, you can be called a language tutor, an EAP tutor, a lecturer, an Associate lecturer and many more. You can be a grade 5, grade 6 or a grade 7. Get paid something from 24K to even 40K (rough guesses folks) for the same thing.

So much inconsistency in the titles and the salaries, I do not get that. I am a person who has had the title EAP lecturer and language tutor. Both jobs exactly the same. Responsibilities, the same. My qualifications, the same.

I do not understand that.

We change title from institution to institution. How? Why?

Even the basics are not defined…. Blurred….

In 2013 I was called a Lecturer

In 2017 a Tutor

(and temporary staff…. )

As for my identity?

I consider myself an EAP teacher. I also find myself acting as a counselor a lot of times. I do not consider myself an academic because I come from an educational background where an academic is someone who has a PhD and publishes in journals. I do not.

So, thought number 1 blog post. Done.

Thanks for reading. If you have any thoughts, let me know in the comments below. Oh! Don’t forget to follow my rambles or my social media stuff….

Till next time (which will be very soon)…..

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What Would You Do?

Hi everyone,
I have’t written a blog post in forever, but I am back. I have a question for you. I will give you the context and invite you to share your advice.
What would you do?
Context
International Students (mostly Asian) doing an EAP course. The students’ level is pretty much the same, but some do better in speaking than others. This session is a seminar/ discussion class. The students have been asked to write down a few questions they would ask their classmates and hold a discussion on X topic.
What happened
I put students in groups of four. Each student got to ask their question.
One of the stronger students asked a well formed complex question.
Student: XYZ. Why do you think this is?
Silence.
Student A: XYZ. Why do you think this is?
Again silence.
Student A: XYZ. Why do you think this is?
Student B: I don’t understand the question…….
Student A: I have asked the question 3 times. What don’t you understand (voice high pitched and kinda angry).
Me: Ummmm, maybe you can try to use different words to ask the question. Why don’t you paraphrase?
Student A: I am they do not understand!!(getting more frustrated. Borderline pissed off).
Me: Ummmmm, maybe you should try again or why don’t you say what you think and give them some ideas. They might be able to answer your question that way…..
Student A: Grumbles…. repeats the question….
Me:………………………….
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So folks, discuss. What would you do?
I look forward to hearing your views and discussing with you in my comments section.
Till next time……

What I thought I knew was not what I thought

I have shared with you guys (maybe even over shared) so much. Now, more sharing.

There I was. Shocked. Feeling a bit robbed. Questioning myself. How could I not know? The mind plays tricks on us.

I thought I was red/ green colourblind. Turns out I don’t see any colours.

I have achromatopsia (or some sort of incomplete achromatopsia).

I am what is known as colourblind. Literally. So, I don’t just mix up my colours. I actually don’t even see them! Or do I?

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Colour is perception. Light, rays, rods and cones all join in to send a message to the brain. The brain then ‘sees’ the light/ colour. That is my simplistic explanation. A bunch of people see the same colour and give it a name…..

green

But now I know that what I thought was colour, was probably a tone or a texture, an illumination. My images are shades of grey, white, and black with an occasional dash of pink (or something….or nothing….).

How could I not know? What games was my mind playing on me?

I have all the symptoms of an achromat

Nystagmus (wobbly iris)

Myopia

Photophobic/ photosensitive (I squint a lot and wear my sunnies all day long, even when there are clouds)

How I found out

I was so excited on Saturday. I was going to try these glasses that claimed to restore colour vision. You would put on the glasses and see colours. Of course, these glasses do not work on everyone (I was warned). I wanted to try them. But first, they needed to determine what type of coulourblindness I had. I did the tests and got the diagnosis.

Achromatopsia

Very rare (2000 people in the UK).

So, what do I do with this information?

I am still the same person.

That is what everyone is telling me.

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You see colours your way.

That is what people tell me.

You still see the way you saw.

That is what everyone is telling me.

But I don’t. I don’t know what I see. I want to know what I can see. Still coming to terms with this. I have to adjust to a new normal. Was what I thought was pink or purple actually grey? Is everything grey? I am confused. Still confused.

Two days later.

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……..

1 peristeria

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

 

 

Let’s walk around my town……..

Hi everyone!!

Nope, not gonna talk about teaching………

I am actually going to show you my town. I live in Chania,  Crete, Greece. The pictures are from the Venetian harbour and the little narrow streets in the harbour area. So, no more words…. just pics.I’d love to see your towns as well. You know, just to get to know you guys a bit better, so if any teacher friends, stray, and decide to share pics of their town, let me know…. let’s start a non Elt tag. 🙂

Last Sunday

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So, that’s all for now!! Oh! Most of these pics are  examples of what I share on Instagram @mypinkrambles

Talk soon.

J.

11 Facts about Me….

Hehehe

Happy Valentine’s day or Galentine’s Day or just Happy Today!!

Vedrana (who is a member of my PLN) said that I should make a video where I talk about me… you know get to know the person behind the blog!? So, here it is. Da video…..

As you may or may not know, I started making videos because blogging was not enough… Since my filming skill has really improved (NOT- hence the top of my head is missing) I thought to myself, I did the YouTube challenge, and this video was more about me, me, me….so I decided to share… and make your day!!And anyways, you do know by now that I share all my craziness with you guys ❤ ❤

So, here is the 11 facts about me (there may be more than 11. I wasn’t counting. I got carried away… what can I say?).

 

See ya in my next post.

j.

What’s the highlight of your teaching career?

highlight

I was asked the other day,

What’s the highlight of your teaching career, Joanna?

and that question was quite difficult to answer because it made me wonder

what is the highlight?

Highlight

the best or most exciting, entertaining, or interesting part of something

                                                                                            Cambridge online ddictionary

Exciting? Entertaining? Interesting? Hmmmm.

So, for a teacher, what is considered a highlight?

Is it getting a promotion? Yes? No? I ask….what’s a promotion? Is the best case scenario becoming a principal at a school? Maybe becoming the Prime Minister of Canada? Is it becoming teacher of the year? How many steps does the career ladder of a teacher have?

Is it gaining degrees and diplomas? Becoming the best you can become because of your education?

Being acknowledged, respected by your peers?

Going to conferences? Presenting at conferences? Being invited to conferences?

Owning your own ELT business?

Is it writing articles? Getting published? Writing a book that people actually read? Seeing your book quoted somewhere?

Maybe it has nothing to do with the career. Maybe it’s a feeling.

Can a highlight just simply be getting out of your rut, avoiding burnout, and feeling like a super hero every time you walk into the classroom? Having the ‘energy’ to keep going on. Having the strength to keep trying even though you are underpaid and not appreciated.

Is it feeling like you had a very productive day with a very challenging class?

Is it being creative? Making something? Sharing something? Having a zillion

Ah hah

moments?

Is it inspiring learners? Making a kid say,

I want to become a teacher because of you.

Is it seeing your work… ‘work’? I mean, witnessing a child or adult acquiring knowledge? Using a language? Having the chance to experience things in another language? Opening doors to a whole new world?

Is it when your kids make you a card or stay in touch even though you haven’t seen them for 10 years?!

What exactly is a highlight for a teacher?

Probably all the above.

My answer

That’s a very difficult question to answer because I cannot put my finger on just one thing. I  felt extremely happy when I realised that one of my kids ‘got it’ or when I saw another kid be able to express himself in English and thought to myself, “Hey! I helped make that happen”. I also felt very good about myself when I got to teach academic English at a university in the UK. I have managed to educate myself quite a bit. So, as I said,  I don’t really think I can mention just one thing. It’s not just one thing…………………

I also think that there are many more ‘highlights’ ahead.

So, how do you measure success?

Till next time…

J.