All posts by Patrice Palmer

What I Did on My Summer Vacations

Image Source: Patrice Palmer
Palmer, second from left, with staff of Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce Training Centre, 2017.





Do you remember having to write about your summer vacation on your first day back to school?  It doesn’t seem like a very original topic, but I want to share my experience as a volunteer in Honduras, Ethiopia, and Guyana with Canadian Executive Services Organization (CESO).  You are probably wondering how this happened since I’m an ESL teacher, not an executive.  Let me explain. 

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Why teachers need to care about self-care – Part 2

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Last Monday, Patrice introduced a discussion on why teachers need to care about self-care. This Monday’s blog continues that discussion.

Self-Care Solutions

The implementation of self-care requires a mindset change and the belief that we deserve time and attention for our own needs. This is difficult for many teachers to do since caring seems to be part of our DNA.  I strongly believe that self-care should be easy to follow, of little to no cost, and should not add time or stress to an already busy career. I incorporated “new tiny habits” such as daily walks, setting reasonable marking expectations and boundaries (such as no emails at night or weekends), spending time doing things I enjoy, connecting with people important to me, and setting Sunday as a no-work/re-set day. Continue reading

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Why Teachers Need to care about self-care – Part 1

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Why Teachers Need to Care about Self-Care

Have you ever thought about self-care? Do you practice self-care now?  Unfortunately, self-care was never part of my vocabulary, so when I left teaching in December 2015 due to professional burn-out, I never thought about my own needs.  When I returned to teaching in November 2017, I knew that I needed to practice self-care.  This post discusses what I have learned about teacher self-care and the information shared in a December 7, 2018 TESL Ontario webinar. I also include some valuable insights and comments from more than 80 participants who took part.

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Moving Beyond the Traditional ESL Classroom

Have you ever thought about how you could use your skills as a teaching professional in the online world to earn additional income? When I left classroom teaching in December 2015, after a 20-year teaching career, I certainly did. During the next eighteen months, I had the time and energy to discover how I could use my skills and expertise as a teaching professional to earn income outside of the traditional ESL classroom.

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Looking at ESL from an International Perspective

Image source: bigstockphoto.com
Image source: bigstockphoto.com

I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the ACPI-TESOL National Conference in Costa Rica earlier this month.  Although it was a relatively small conference (under 60 participants), the organizers were able to attract presenters from the U.S., Panama, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and UAE (and me from Canada).

I believe as teachers, we can always learn something new no matter how many years we have been teaching. This conference was no exception in that there were many take-aways from the presentations.  However, before I provide some of the conference highlights, I wanted to talk about my experience trying to navigate in a Spanish-speaking country as a non-speaker of Spanish.  (I did take some lessons a few years ago, but I didn’t even have enough language skills to function.)  I forgot how it feels to be unable to communicate – even a simple request!  The last time I experienced this kind of powerlessness and vulnerability (not to mention feeling dumb) was when I got lost in Hong Kong; I actually got lost 3 times in 3 different taxis in Costa Rica!  There is certainly nothing more meaningful for a language teacher than experiential learning and appreciating the daily challenges for many of our students!

Here are some of the conference highlights: Continue reading

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