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Reflections about professional growth and the ELT profession in general

Aftershocks 4

View Tohoku Earthquake Map in a larger map (more…)

Aftershocks 3

Teachable Moments

We love JapanI had a wonderful moment in class this week.  I printed out the comments on the We love Japan message board and took them to one of my adult classes. I thought they would provide some lovely, simple reading material on a topic that my students are very familiar with—the earthquake and tsunami. My hidden agenda was to review (again!) how posting comments works online. (On the one hand, my students are sure that any comment they post anywhere online will result in their identity being stolen. On the other hand, they just don’t get the point of anti-spam words.) (more…)

Aftershocks 2

This has been a very social disaster. I first heard about the quake on Twitter, and when friends started checking in, they did so on Facebook. Even when the phones and electricity stopped working, social networks carried on, largely because they could be accessed via mobile phones. It’s where people shared their stories–staying overnight with 200 students in Fukushima because they couldn’t get home, walking for 2-7 hours to get home from evacuated offices in Tokyo (no trains), trying to track down milk and bread in grocery stores, breaking into tears after finally getting out of the disaster area and getting a bath (there’s no water, either, for much of the region). (more…)


Like many people in Japan (at least those who still have electricity) I’ve been watching the news since yesterday, breathing a sigh of relief as each friend checks in or is found, and still worried about the many who have still not yet been heard from. (more…)

A Bit of Blog Interior Design

Painting the dollhouse
If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you may have noticed that the guest author list and the blogroll have disappeared from my sidebar.  They were OK when I only had a few Villagers and only followed a few blogs. But as I added more guest authors and discovered more blogs I began tot feel that neither list was doing anyone much good. (more…)

Okayama: Wonderful teachers and my first school visit

Okayama, JapanI was in Okayama last weekend for the OUP Teaching Workshops. Okayama is famous for several things, including a story many of you know (at least in translation) and a food enjoyed by the main character in that story. Finding the name of the story and the name of the food is your webquest for today! (more…)

Teaching: a love story

playing schoolThis Valentine’s Day, since all the chocolate in Japan goes to men, I’m enjoying spending some quality time with the longest (non-family) relationship in my life: teaching. (more…)

Back from Sendai, with souvenirs!

Date Masamune and Tanabata festival

Date Masamune and Tanabata, both symbols of Sendai

Sendai was the first stop for this year’s OUP Teaching Workshop series, and what a great place to begin! (more…)

What’s in a name?

What do your students call you?

Does it matter? (more…)

Thank you for an amazing year!




Thank you, my beautiful Guest Authors!


It’s the last day of 2010, and a good time to reflect on the year that’s nearly done. This is the 110th post since I began this blog in June of 2009. I know that’s not a lot compared to really prolific bloggers, but it’s enough to thrill me. I began this blog as a way to learn more about connecting with teachers online, but wasn’t really sure how well the experiment would work, or what direction it would take. I had a vague idea about creating a community where EFL teachers around the world could share stories about their unique teaching environments and share wisdom garnered from their teaching experiences. (more…)