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

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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

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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.

1 peristeria

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.

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.

Disciplining adult learners?!?

Disci.jpg

Hi everyone!!

3rd blog post in a row? My oh my!! Here’s the thing, I just could not not share (is that correct??Yup!) what happened today and of course ask you what you think. Today’s ‘hot’ topic is……… (drum roll…. which is not necessary if you have read my title- don’t look at it now!!)….’ disciplining’ adult learners.

So, I teach kids/ teenagers and adults. ‘Disciplining’ a kid is easy.

You can:

Tell em to write 100 times

I will never do that again (haha… as if…).

Or even better

Tell the kid to stand in the corner ,hop up and down for an hour.

(Just kidding!!!!)

Seriously though

You can:

Explain rules at the beginning of the year.

Get them to write up/ sign a teacher- student contract (maybe?) with what is acceptable/ not acceptable

Reward good behaviour with stickers (again an if-y topic)

Or

Talk to the kid and say what you do not find acceptable/ unacceptable.

Talk to the parent if the kid still misbehaves in your class aka is a little terrorist.

Bottom line folks. A teacher has got to do whatever he/ she can in order to be able to carry out a lesson without having to deal with bad classroom behaviour/ rudeness etc. etc.

Now you may ask,

What do you consider bad behaviour?

Checking their phone 24/7 during the lesson ( I don’t mind phones in class FYI).

Talking on the phone during the lesson.

Nervous laughter that does not stop.

Joke telling (24/7).

Making fun of me/ other kids.

Chewing gum (like a goat) in my class.

Oh! I also hate it when my students wear hats in class… but I guess that’s just me…..

Now, what happens when your learner is a CEO of a super duper company, older than you and has an opinion? Well, if you are like me, a pushover, you are screwed (oops… bad word). You endure and look at the clock.

I was teaching a big boss and the big boss was chewing gum throughout the lesson. And OK ,gum may not be a big deal if done in a ‘polite’ manner aka silently, but when you are using a headset and sound is magnified the chewing is….. soooooooooooooo bad. But on the other hand, I was teaching the Big Boss, and I am an employee who does not want to piss off the big boss, so I shut up and just had the most annoying lesson!

So, do you think I should have told my learner to spit out his gum? Isn’t it like an unwritten classroom rule to not chew gum during the class? Am I supposed to play bad cop when teaching adults? Talk about classroom etiquette?  What would you have done? What can you do? Remember it’s online. Not even face to face. Plus it was the 1st time it happened.

Digging deeper

Did I not say anything because of gender? Work relationship (cause technically he is paying me)? Was it age? Was I being polite and trying not to offend him?  If this was a kid, the gum would have been gone in like 5 secs.

Anyway, that’s today’s story and sure it isn’t like the biggest problem ever but it did get me wondering.

Should I have spoken up for all teachers or was a right to let it go (for today) and just wait for the chewing torture to end?

Chomp chomp in my ears for 45 mins……..at least he didn’t make a bubble……

Please let me know what you think…..

J.