Looking at 2020 through Rose-Coloured Glasses

image source: John Allan

In spite of all of the negative effects of the COVID-19 crisis, do you think you could find some positive events that you experienced in 2020?   It is difficult to imagine, as we are still in the eye of this storm.  Over the winter break, however, I started a brainstorm sketch about the positive effects that have come during the pandemic in order to reframe my focus for 2021. This is my list below; possibly you might try the same exercise to reset your expectations for your teaching and personal life in 2021. 


  • Became expert in running synchronous classes with second language learners 
  • Gained intimate knowledge of Zoom and BigBlueButton 
  • Learned to cope with online meetings 
  • Acquired a new set of sweat gear (clothing) 
  • Learned several new LMS apps including: 
    • Scheduler 
    • Feedback 
    • ReadaLoud 
  • Learned to use new apps: Slack, Instagram, Banking, BBC Sounds, Spotify 
  • Refined my Professional Learning Network 
  • Facilitated 13 webinars for various organizations 
  • Set up a proper home office 
  • Started posting original items on LinkedIn  
  • Presented different sessions at 6 conferences 
  • Attended a score of online webinars and 4 fully online conferences 
  • Attended online conferences via apps (Whova and Pheedloop) 
  • Accepted to facilitate a session in Cambodia (virtually, of course) 
  • Worked with an amazing team at LearnIT2teach (Avenue) 
  • Assisted with the migration of edulinc.org to Avenue 
  • Mentored scores of LINC instructors regarding online teaching  
  • Learned a great deal about education technology in the classroom from LINC instructors 


  • Supersized family bubble time – and we get along! ?  
  • Took walks with my father and dog like I did in the 70s (different dog of course!) 
  • Renewed kitchen creativity with family through the internet and family recipes 
  • Rediscovered the crockpot 
  • Made the house more comfortable (new fridge, microwave, TV, kettle, bed, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, painted walls, new patio chairs, board games) 
  • Enhanced our puzzling skills 
  • Reached out to old friends via social media and Zoom to catch up  
  • Rediscovered Netflix and BBC Radio 4 and 6 
  • Became a United Kingdom citizen  
  • Watched live online concerts to support local artists 
  • Patronized local business and restaurants to support the community and to discover unknown stores and services  

Reflecting on these positive outcomes of 2020, I have hope that 2021 can also be a productive year. Not to discount the sorrow and anguish of the pandemic, especially for those who have suffered from it themselves or lost a loved one, but if all are safe and respectful, we can be optimistic that better times are waiting for us in the future.  

If you do this reflective exercise, please share below.  

Hi—I'm John Allan. I am an educator who works in the technology enhanced language learning field. I create online learning opportunities and mentor instructors on the Avenue project. I have experience teaching ESL and EFL in Canada and the Middle East. I hold an MSC in Computer Assisted Language learning, a M.Ed. in Distance Education, TESL B. Ed., a B.Ed. (OCT), and a variety of TESL relevant certifications from TESL Canada, TESL Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Education. For more articles, learning objects, projects and blog links see https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnharoldallan


3 thoughts on “Looking at 2020 through Rose-Coloured Glasses”

  1. Francine,

    Your post is much more eloquent and interesting to read than mine. We have to find the lights in and at the one at the end of the tunnel to continue. I am hoping that 2021 is not going to be a repeat of 2020. Looking forward to seeing you on the other side.

  2. As we start a new calendar year, I’ve also been reflecting on the opportunities which have opened up. As you said, this is not to minimize the grief we have all endured in a variety of forms due to the pandemic.
    Professionally: Teaching LINC in a blended /hybrid mode and completely online has allowed me to manage my time more to pursue professional development through learnIT2teach opportunities, as well as develop other professional contacts to facilitate my growth and the development of my students.
    Personally: Seeing more of my high school-aged children has been precious, especially since my oldest plans to move away for postsecondary education.

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