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Professional Development

Getting Unstuck…10 Experiments (by Theodora Papapanagiotou)

Theodora 1 change of scenery

We have all been there! Sometimes you’re swamped with work, with personal problems and you just can’t function. As a teacher, as a person, you just go through a very non-creative phase and you actually don’t know what to do. That’s how I have been feeling lately and in an attempt to get “unstuck” I have asked Chuck and Barbara to suggest a subject for me to write on and maybe I could get over what I am feeling right now. So Barbara said: “Why don’t you write something about this? How to get unstuck!” I found this a wonderful idea and started doing a bit of research on the Internet. There is plenty of material with lots of advice. The thing is…does it actually help you to move on? So here is me experimenting…

 

Theodora 1 change of scenery1. Change of scenery

Maybe if you are in an unfamiliar place, your mind starts working differently. Acting like a tourist even in your own hometown helps you find out more things about the place you are in. You take photos, you meet people, you ask for new information,and you clear your head. Maybe you don’t get new ideas immediately, but it does help to just relax and not think about work and problems.

2. Accept yourself

A little self-reflection does not hurt. Look back at your actions. What happened in class today, this week? Did I achieve the goals I had in mind? What was the best moment of the week? Did I live up to my expectations?  I must have done something right. And how about my failures? Why didn’t I achieve my goal? Why did the students not understand the grammar I have been teaching? And why did my student do poorly on the test? Was it my fault or didn’t he study?

All in all…count on yourself. Maybe everything is not in order, but we are getting there….

3. Change something

Is there anything you don’t like about yourself? About your teaching? Why don’t you just change it?  You can do something irrelevant to your work. Dye your hair or get a haircut. Something that will make you feel good and confident. Change a teaching approach, or a book, or  flip an exercise. Did it work? Did you feel better? Reflect on that!

Theodora 2 try something new4. Try out new things

A different book maybe? What do you usually do in class? If you only have to use a course book, why don’t you watch a video or listen to a song? Or read a book in the last 10 minutes of your class? Do the students like it? What are the benefits of trying a new thing? Did it not work? At least you know!!!

5. Talk with somebody

Two heads are better than one. And we do feel better if we communicate with other people. Arrange to meet a friend or colleague for coffee or if it is not possible, you can Skype or chat in your comfort of your home! Find out what they have been doing and share your ideas.  Don’t be competitive, it is not a competition. We all try to do our best in our work.

6. Stay away from negative people and situations

As I mentioned before, it is not a competition. Constructive criticism is good, but there are always people who try to make you feel inferior. Believe me you are better than they think!!

7. Do something that makes you uncomfortable

Are you afraid of talking in front of an audience? Are you afraid to write an article? Do it!! Do something that scares you every week!! Get out of your comfort zone! It will be difficult, I know, but when you are done with it, you will feel so good about yourself. You will feel so strong, you will be able to do everything you have in mind after that!

Theodora 3 make lists8. Make lists

Not only lists with your everyday tasks. Make Goal-diaries. What have you always wanted to do? Collaborate with a school abroad in a project? Use a new teaching method? Go to a convention abroad? Write it down! One day you will make it! And you will feel proud!

9. Dig out old projects

What were doing, let’s say 5 years ago? Were you working on a project back then? Why don’t you try it with your new students, with some adjustments? What went well back then? What went wrong? Can you do it better this time?

10. Do things that please you.

Devote some time to yourself. You don’t always have to be a teacher. Stay home and read a good book, or watch a movie, or go out running, or cook something. Whatever you like. We cannot be teachers the whole time. We have to unwind.

I don’t really know if all this can help us create new ideas. I am still experimenting.  I’d love to hear what you think!!!

 

 

Theodora bioTheodora Papapanagiotou is a teacher of EFL and DaF (German as a foreign language) in Greece since 1992. She has worked in various language schools in her hometown, Thessaloniki and with various levels and ages. In the past few years she has been working as a freelance teacher and taking parts in conventions, webinars and online courses, trying to become a better teacher.

What’s your future perfect? (by Jen Brummer)

linked arms (MTSOfan)

Hi, everyone. Let’s do a quick grammar activity before you begin reading my blog post. Please answer the questions below. I will provide an example of each for you.

1) Give an example of the present perfect tense in a sentence about your professional life.

  • I have taught ESOL to children and adults.

2) Give an example of the past perfect tense in a sentence about your professional life.

  • Before I taught ESOL, I had earned a CELTA.

3) Give an example of the future perfect tense in a sentence about your professional life.

  • By the time I retire, I will have ________.

(more…)

Teaching less, recycling more

recycling language with cubes

In an education environment that screams ‘More! More! More!’ sometimes the smart teaching move can be to teach less. If you don’t have to spend your entire class explaining new language, students can spend more time recycling, reinforcing, and expanding the language they learn. (more…)

Why I love Teachers 2014

I'm in love with teaching

A few years ago I wrote a simple little post about the reasons I love Teachers. Since then, I’ve had a chance to work with some amazing Teachers through the International Teacher Development Institute. So, I thought it was time to bring the post out,  dust it off, and update my list of reasons. (more…)

Would you please do me a favor? Thank you!

Icebergs

When you look around online these days, it seems as if there always something happening for teachers. There’s so much that at times it can be a bit overwhelming to choose from the number of webinars, courses, workshops, conferences, chats, and blogs available. Much of it is free. And yet, whenever I travel to do face-to-face workshops, most of the teachers I meet are still not online for their own professional development.
(more…)

International conferences, for free

Last night, I watched David Crystal’s plenary talk at the IATEFL conference. Of course, it was still morning in Liverpool, where he was speaking. I couldn’t get to Liverpool this year, as much as I wanted to. But, being able to watch the livestream from the comfort of my living room is a pretty good deal. I was able to share the plenary with over 200 good friends in far flung corners of the globe. And for friends whose far corners don’t include decent Internet connections, there’s a recording. (more…)

It’s all about reading

libraryThis month, Let’s Share is all about reading.

Reading is arguably the most important skill we can help our students develop. While we assume that speaking and listening will be important in our students’ future lives and careers, we don’t honestly have any idea how much opportunity they’ll have to talk to other people in English. Being able to read in English, however, opens windows to the world. All of our students will have access to the Internet, and English is likely to remain the lingua franca online for the foreseeable future. Not being able to read in English limits our students to only that small part of the Web that is in their native language. (more…)

What I’ve learned and am still learning (by Ratnavathy Ragunathan)

Note from Barb: If you’ve been over to the iTDi blog this week, you’ll know that the theme is What I’ve learned in 2012. I was thrilled when Ratna suggested a post on the same topic for Teaching Village since our Villagers are always learning from each other. I think a lot of you will be able to relate to the lessons learned by Ratna this year, and by Scott, John, Yitzha, Ann, Divya, and Chuck (in their iTDi posts). I know I did! 

What have I learned……

…….and am still learning, I must say. My oh my, what a “box-of-chocolates” this year’s been for me! Full of surprises and beyond what I would’ve possibly envisioned. 2012 has, indeed, been so productive that I count my blessings everyday for each moment and opportunity that’s knocked on my door. And this gently nudges me back to the question : so, what have I learned from The Wise Master 2012? (more…)

Sharing is caring

If you’ve read my About page, you know that one of my day jobs is co-author of a coursebook series called Let’s Go, for children learning English as a foreign language. I’ve worked with my co-authors Ritsuko Nakata, Karen Frazier, and Carolyn Graham for more than 20 years. We’ve shared many “firsts” during our long partnership, quite a few involving technology. We got our first computers in order to write the books, and our first fax machines in order to share drafts of units (because the Internet was still off in the future). When e-mail finally came along, our first messages were sent to each other. Our books have given us amazing opportunities to share what we’ve learned in workshops with teachers around the world, and to learn even more from working with those teachers. (more…)

What I learnt from my German Teacher (by Christopher Wilson)

Let me start off by saying I was not a good German student.

I found learning languages very hard at secondary school and only took German because I had to study a language and I found it easier than French (despite studying French for longer). (more…)