Category Archives: self reflection

Spring Reflections

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The cherry blossoms are out! It’s spring and finally warm enough to ride my bike to work.  I do my best thinking on that bike. With a new semester starting, I find myself reflecting on the semester gone by.  Peddling on cold, rainy days tends to cause me to remember my failures, but on warm, sunny mornings, I recall my successes.  For 16 years I have been teaching university prep writing, grammar, reading, speaking, and listening to students from around the world. 

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Why I became a teacher now, not then

I recently got certified as an adult ESL teacher, more than a decade after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English. Although teaching had been an option in the past, I decided to pursue other avenues—and I’m glad I did.

image source: Svjetlana Vrbanic

Over the years, I had many great experiences, learned many things, and acquired skills that make me a better teacher today. There truly are many different roads to teaching and I would like to share mine.

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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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#CdnELTchat, A Twitter Chat for Language Instructors

What is a Twitter chat?

Twitter is a microblogging tool that has recently been made most famous by the American President Donald Trump. Ok, it was popular before he started running for office, but my point is that everyone is familiar with Twitter.  It has approximately one hundred million active users daily.  A twitter chat is simply a collection of users that contribute to an online conversation using a common hashtag (#).   Twitter chats sometimes feature a guest that allows a community access to his/her expertise.

#CdnELTchat

This post is addressed to English language teachers across Canada.  Continue reading

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On Leaving

Image by Sanjeevan SatheesKumar on Unsplash

The position was meant to be something new to try out, to add some freshness into my PD experience. Fast forward three years, and the job of Twitter Manager for TESL Ontario is much more than that and still interests me. Why am I leaving?

It has been a challenging couple of years, and the reason I need to leave Continue reading

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Teaching in Mexico

Old black leather suitcase with books on the floor. Retro stile. Vintage accessories for business. Checkered suitcase. Summer vacation
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After a seven-year hiatus, I am teaching ESL again. I am in Los Cabos, Mexico and this morning’s class will be at a non-profit college aimed at giving underprivileged kids an opportunity for higher learning.

My sister K., who lives here half the year, instigated this.

I’ve been looking forward to it. I even managed to fit in a few of my old ESL books from my teaching days into my suitcase.  Continue reading

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The apprenticeship of observation

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An interest in languages, combined with a few stints living and working overseas, has meant that I have played the role of language learner more than once.  These experiences have greatly informed my practice as a language teacher.  Famously, this is called the ‘apprenticeship of observation’. Teaching is a unique profession in this sense; teachers have their own experiences as students watching their own teachers teach, which influences them when they become teachers. Here are a few of the things I have felt and thought as a learner that have influenced my teaching…

I don’t care if there are some things my teacher doesn’t know. Continue reading

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Encouraging Learner Autonomy

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One of the best things teachers can do for their students is to help them learn to help themselves.  To promote learner autonomy, we need to build students’ self-confidence and give them strategies for teaching themselves.  Some of the ways we can do this include the following. Continue reading

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I (Don’t) Understand!

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Have you ever explained a task to your students, checked to make sure they understood, and then let them go to work – only to realize as they stared blankly at their work, that they actually didn’t understand?  In my first years of teaching, I was so puzzled by students telling me they understood when they clearly didn’t.  Even when I would ask directly, “Do you understand?” the answer I was given was often “Yes, teacher” before it became clear that the opposite was true.  This was frustrating!  It seemed so obvious Continue reading

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