When you give up the next time…

Last summer my colleague Olga suggested that I should try my luck and write a speaker proposal for the upcoming IATEFL conference 2016. I remember those days in July 2015, they were not only stuffed with expectations and hopes. Sadly, I accidentally injured my neck and I was experiencing a terrible pain those days, every day was just a nightmare,  so I should say writing a speaker proposal turned out to be a real pain in the neck. Along with a proposal I was preparing 7 to 9 applications for IATEFL scholarships, don’t remember the exact number. Thinking, drafting, editing – I love these words, they are symbols of those summer days. But everything comes to its end, sooner or later. In august I spent wonderful weeks in the Crimea with my family and came back to work full of hope. But there was nothing to hope for. My scholarships applications did not win, but it was only September, and my speaker proposal could still be chosen and I started waiting for the e-mail from IATEFL. And I got it, in late November. Due to some considerable reasons my company could not pay for my participation and that meant I was not about to attend it anyway. To tell the truth, I was upset and completely frustrated about all this. Of course, presenting a talk at IATEFL conference was my dream, though it might sound banal and even trivial. The only difference is that all it was about MY dreams…

Last Friday I was traveling home when I heard a twit-twit sound of my smartphone announcing an email received. It was a message from a certain Patrick, I wasn’t very interested at first sight. The email ran, that though I hadn’t won the scholarship, Macmillan was very impressed by my entry and they were about to propose a special prize for me, including the excerpt of my entry published on the Scholarship page and a 6-month free subscription to Onestopenglish.com. Truth be told, nothing could compare to my elation and joy when I received that message. There were days full of dismay and despair, and now there are days full of sunshine in my soul. On Saturday I called Olya and told her about it, I wanted to share my feelings. And I also thanked her for such an unforgettable experience.

Now I´m back to work, surfing onestopenglish.com in search for new activities for my students. I´m happy to see the excerpt of my entry and my name together with names of teachers from Romania, Italy, Taiwan, Switzerland… I´m happy to be here among those who love teaching. Now I know for sure:

A place for everything and everything in its place.

Thanks for reading!

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What motivates me in my job?

    motivation

Source: http://bodiesthatwork.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/motivation.jpg

Having classes with my Upper-Intermediate students, I can be sure each lesson turns out to be thought-provoking and demanding. The same with topics. Our next unit is called ‘Motivation’ and it is strictly important for them. First of all, as you may know, I’m a Business English Teacher, so my students are highly interested in an appropriate English level because many things depend on their skills. Secondly, as they told me during our analysis stage, topic ‘Motivation’ is definitely necessary for them to talk about it during their annual Assessments. These Assessments are supposed to provide employees with the opportunity to get promoted, to increase their salary and to achieve their personal goals.

One of the assignments for this topis is to write an essay (or just an answer to the question) ‘What motivates me in my job?’. I decided to write an answer myself, but not as an example of how to do it. It is rather for me to have one more chance to reflect about my job and occupation and about things that make me happy.

So… What really motives me in my job?

I’m ready to answer honestly: an opportunity to communicate. I believe, it is more than that, it is my own happiness and joy to speak to people in Russian, in English, in Spanish, whatever. I’m so lucky, because I have lots of chances to communicate at work. I speak during our classes, I speak in the morning with a cup of tea in my hands, I speak during ‘funny lunches’ as we call them, because so many people get together in the working kitchen and we chat, tell anecdotes and funny stories. I’m a chatter-box, that’s true, but people around me are happy to talk to me, too, and that’s the point.

A foreign language teacher must strive for excellence, and that’s why self-development is a thing that is really wholesome. I believe, at work I have lots of possibilities to develop as a teacher, as a successful teacher whose students increase their level from year to year and they master their English skills. It definitely motivates me! Also I should say something about my blogging experience, it is absolutely awesome in terms of self-development and it is like you kill two birds with one stone. “I write my teaching reflections” means I develop as a teacher. Writing is my thing!

Colleagues also motivate me. I have got plenty of people surrounding me who are talented and gifted and who inspire me. Talking about my students, they are also my colleagues, and taking my teaching into consideration, they are people who bring me opportunities to develop as a teacher. My blog’s name is Enséñame, I have written about the reasons here, and the main idea of that post is to tell my followers and readers that I´m also a learner and a person who is somehow “greedy” in the framework of learning. Teaching is learning, an everlasting process for me, I´m happy to have realized that.

What have I forgotten?

Work-life balance. I’m a part-time teacher, although I find time to read professional literature at home in the evening when I’m alone and no one is watching me. When you have a family and children, a part of your thoughts are devoted to them, but another part is with your students. Several years ago it was difficult for me to balance work and private life, even though at that time there were no people who I had to take care of. Now with my 5-year-old son it is possible to spend half a day at work and another half with him, sometimes providing him with the opportunity to watch an English video on youtube or recite an English nursery rhyme together. I guess, I’ve found an ideal balance, and I’m happy with that.

Many things can motivate. I’m really happy to be here as an English teacher who has got a great amount of things that makes her happy.

Looking back, I should admit this post has turned out to be very sincere and openhearted. I invite my followers to share their thoughts about motivation at work. What motivates you? What makes you happy?

I’m really looking forward to hearing from you!

And… thanks for reading!

Pajamas Library

reading-in-bed

Source: http://www.actualorganics.com/a-good-nights-sleep/reading-in-bed/

Modern students do not like to read. They are too busy liking photos in Facebook and instagramming. Some of them don’t read at all, not in their mother language, not in English. At least in my teaching practice I encountered such students, to tell the truth. But every teacher knows and realizes that reading is one of the most important parts of the language from the point of view of knowing new vocabulary, new ways of saying different things and express new ideas. How to make students read more?

This idea seems to me very amazing for using it with your students. I have recently heard one story about Israeli children, living in Tel-Aviv having so called Pajamas Library Program at schools. What is the essence of the program? Government-paid, this program turns out to be the most popular among pupils and their children. How to make children read more books? The same questions I am always asking when I am giving classes to adults. I guess, this idea was created for such teachers as me to help them to encourage students to read more. Now I would like to tell you how it works.

  1. The first thing you should decide as a teacher is what book you are going to read with students. My tip is to read classical English literature: short stories, humor stories by famous authors. Sometimes there are books for students with exercises, or you can create exercises yourself. In my English classroom I usually use “Select Readings”. It is a series of books meant for different levels. They are stuffed with lots of practice: pre-reading and post-reading tasks, ideas for communication, written tasks (essays, letters, presentations, etc.) and more tasks created for development of English skills. As soon as you personally choose the book, move on to the next step.
  2. You tell your students about a special program called “Pajamas Library”, and now you are going to realize this program in your classroom.
  3. Make sure your students understand ideas of this program. It depends on your specific needs and purposes of your group. If they do not read at all, except what is provided for them in the regular textbook, I would recommend to start reading once a week. If you have classes twice a week, in the framework of this program you should spend the whole lesson discussing the short story you have chosen.
  4. Imagine, tomorrow you are having a regular class. You give your students a story and tell them to read it just before going to bed the day before the class. That’s Pajamas Library! Also tell your students you are going to discuss their story the next day.
  5. During the lesson you come with materials and exercises and you do them together.
  6. Make sure your students give you feedback about the story and about the program itself. It can be conducted in a written form, you can make it with the help of using post-it notes, you can simply ask them to share in pairs and write down their ideas and suggestions.

It is supposed that during the lesson your students have a nice opportunity to talk, to discuss, to find new ideas and skills for writing essays, for instance. What’s next? After you are given a feedback from students, you continue suggest new stories for students and conduct such lessons, and ask for a feedback each time. Try at least 5 classes in the framework of the program. After that you can analyze and reflect on the program and decide whether to continue realizing it or not. I would be very happy if you write your ideas and suggestion in comments.

Hope to hear from you soon!