Today is the day of the Color Run! It’s pretty grey out at the moment, and in a bid to keep myself from anxiously checking the weather forecast, I clearly need something to keep me busy! Sandy Millin nominated me to take part in the ’11 things’ blog challenge, revived by Clare Fielder, and so here are my answers.
The challenge is as follows:
- Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
- Share 11 random facts about yourself.
- Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
- List 11 bloggers.
- Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated.
So, let’s get started!
1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
Sandy is a fantastic blogger, ELT powerhouse (she is involved in pretty much everything!) and seems to be an all round lovely person. Since I’ve ‘known’ her (at least via facebook, twitter and blogging) the amount of wonderful new ideas, things and people I’ve been exposed to has increased more than ten-fold. I really enjoyed reading her 11 things post and it was great to get to know a bit more about her. I hope we can meet in person some day in the not-too-distant future!
2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
- I can juggle – quite useful when that is a vocabulary word you are expected to teach grade 1!
- I have a slightly too-large nail polish collection (which tends to reaccumulate in each new place I live). It’s a guilty pleasure.
- I have at various points in time studied: French, German, Latin, Polish, Japanese, Arabic, Russian and Czech.
- I’m pretty accident-prone: I’ve broken my wrists three times and a toe twice.
- As a small child I always wanted to be an artist or a vet. I was 100% adamant that I did not want to be a teacher.
- Despite the previous fact, I remember ‘teaching’ maths and handwriting to my toys, using a whiteboard made out of a polypocket and a piece of paper.
- I love drawing and painting and have secretly always wanted to illustrate a children’s book.
- In my first year at uni I was the reserve member of the University Challenge team – the only non final year student.. We made it through to the interview stage at Granada studios, but didn’t get a place on the actual programme that year.
- I grew up by the sea, and always miss it when I’m inland.
- I hate the feel of anything ‘powdery’ on my hands, including (but not restricted to) flour, soil and chalk. This makes teaching at a school where they still use chalkboards really fun
- I’d like to try to eat at least one dish from as many world cuisines as I can – I have a list of the places I’ve already ‘been’ to!
3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
1. What’s your favourite thing you’ve written (ELT or otherwise)?
Non ELT related, I would say an article I wrote for a friend of a friend’s website, Graduates Anonymous. I checked recently and the site has disappeared into the black hole of the internet (where unpaid domain names go to die) and my article with it… however it was the first time I realised I could write something and have it published online – and as such in some ways was the precursor to this blog. ELT related, my favourite blog post to date is probably the first one – What Not To Wear. It was that idea that kickstarted the blog into actually existing rather than being something I never quite got round to.
2. Do you have a favourite recipe you want to share?
I love cooking, which makes this a pretty hard question to answer. Many of my favourite things I’ve cooked have been things I’ve invented to use up a bizarre combination of ingredients. My flatmate and I tried this pizza recipe a while ago (my first attempt at making homemade pizza dough) and were pretty happy with the result.
3. What’s the last photo you took?
Remember my previous comment about owning too much nail polish? Well, the one time it comes in handy is when you are going to do a Color Run. These are my Color Run nails! (which I photographed to send to my best friend, who is currently teaching in Singapore and shares my love of colourful nails).
4. What’s the last piece of music you listened to?
My friend and colleague Leigh posted this gem on facebook. I listened to it. It has been stuck in my head for so long that I’m considering if I can use it with my littlies. Think they’d enjoy the dance routine!
5. What was the last film or TV show you watched? Would you recommend it?
I have a bit of a weird relationship with TV. At times I’ll go months without watching anything, then I’ll discover a series I really like and then binge-watch until I’ve finished it. At the moment I’m watching HBO’s Girls. I have to say that it’s easily the most relatable thing I’ve ever watched – although that makes it depressing at times. I think I’d recommend it, but definitely not one for everyone.
6. Do you ever listen to podcasts? Any favourites? If you don’t, can I persuade you?
I used to, although I haven’t recently… I must start doing it again, have heard there are some great ELT ones out there 🙂
7. What tip would you offer a new blogger?
Write because you want to, not because you feel you *have* to. Yes, posting regularly means that you are more likely to get views and a solid readership, but personally I’d prefer to read something well thought through and interesting, rather than something that’s simply been written for the sake of writing a post. I guess what I’m saying really is cut yourself some slack – if you’ve had a busy day at work and you just don’t feel like writing, don’t make yourself write.
8. What’s your memory of the best lesson you’ve taught?
I’m actually proud that I can think of several favourites… I think my overall best lesson though was actually a series of lessons. A few years ago I was asked to step in at last minute to teach at the final week of a summer school, as one of the teachers had quit. The class was rowdy to say the least – and several of the teachers decided to tell me on my first day (before I even met the students!) that the reason said teacher had quit was because that class was so difficult. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to start a film project with the class – we wrote a script from scratch, then performed and filmed it. For pretty much the whole week of the project I had various people telling me that I was being too ambitious and that it would never work, the students would never finish it etc. We finished the film with about five minutes to spare on the final afternoon, and it was screened to the whole school after the final assembly. The film wasn’t the best work my students have ever produced, and the lessons doubtless weren’t the best either… but the fact that we (as a group) overcame the odds and actually completed our project means that for me, the lesson wasn’t a 60/90 minutes in the classroom type lesson. Rather, the lesson that those students learnt was not to listen to the naysayers, and that they could overcome whatever reputation they’d been given to achieve something really special.
9. Have you ever made a mistake or been in a bad situation which felt huge at the time, but now you’re really glad it happened?
Honestly, I can think of countless situations where this description would apply. No matter how bad a situation or a mistake may appear to be, it’s not that it happened that’s important, it’s what you then go on to do after it.
10. Where are you based and would you recommend it to others?
I find this quite a tough question to answer in many ways… I’m very glad to have been in the Czech Republic, but I’m also glad to be leaving in just under a month’s time. It’s been a fantastic year professionally – IH Prague have been brilliantly supportive and have great training and opportunities for professional development. It has, however, been a very difficult year personally, and I think for me that will always be tied up with my memories of being here a little. It’s also made me reconsider how I would advise those looking to go to their second country to teach abroad (as opposed to those just heading abroad for the first time). When I first came to the Czech Republic I thought that I would enjoy it as it is in many ways similar to Russia. I truly loved my time spent working in Russia and a large part of my decision to leave was based on the economic situation – staying there was simply no longer as sustainable as it had been. In retrospect, however, the similarities have made me miss Russia rather than anything else! So, for those heading to their second country, I would advise choosing somewhere culturally very different to your first country (especially if you loved the first country!).
11. What question do you wish I’d asked you, and what’s the answer?
I’m finishing writing this post on Sunday morning, the day after the Color Run – and so I’d probably like to be asked how it went! 🙂 Well, I survived! It was quite different to how I’d expected – lots of periods where it wasn’t really possible to move faster than a walk as everyone slowed down to go through the colour zones. As someone who really dislikes crowds it was also quite a challenge being surrounded by so many people! I also ended up running it semi-blind as I didn’t want to risk ruining my glasses. Overall though, it was good fun, and I’m glad I took part!
4. List 11 bloggers.
Joanna – https://myeltrambles.com/
Lizzie – https://lizzieserene.wordpress.com
Marisa – http://www.celt.edu.gr/
5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated.
- Why did you decide to become an EFL teacher?
- Who inspires you (Personally or professionally)?
- What blogs do you read? Would you recommend them to others?
- What’s the most challenging thing you’ve ever done?
- Have you always been a teacher? If not, what did you do before?
- What’s something new you’ve tried this year? Would you recommend it?
- Where’s your favourite place you’ve visited?
- What do you do to relax?
- What did you find most scary/difficult as a new teacher?
- What advice would you give your younger self?
- What, for you, is the best thing about teaching?