Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tagged again!

I've been tagged again in this blog challenge, this time by Hana Ticha @HanaTicha
Here is Hanna's post: 11 Random Facts  Love her photos!

I won't try to come up with another 11 random facts about myself - see my previous post for those, but here are my answers to Hana's questions: 

1. If you could change one thing about education in your country, what would it be?
That governments consult with and listen to the teachers about what they need, rather than imposing ever more administrative burden and other tasks not related to teaching and learning that take them away from teaching and learning.

2.  Have you ever thought of quitting your job as an educator? Why?
No, this is my third major career change, and there have been several minor ones in each of those. I did dabble in educational design and technology for a term recently, but missed the ELT too much.

3.  What's your earliest memory as an educator?
I can remember my first day on the job very clearly, but the day that I remember most was when someone asked me what I did, and I answered without hesitation “I’m a teacher here.” and it suddenly dawned on me that I was a teacher and I had earned the title. 

 4.  Is education valued where you live? If not, what is the main reason?
Depends who you talk to.  We always seem to be fighting for adequate and fair funding from various levels of government, so that indicates that it isn't valued enough.

5.  How do you think we could help to make teaching a more prestigious job?
Acknowledge all the unpaid work that teachers do, the ‘above and beyond’. That would probably require teachers to first stop doing it for free which is not going to happen because most of us care too much.

6.  Apart from burning-out, what's the biggest danger for a teacher?
Caring too much and wanting to do everything they can to help every single student. Not enough time, not humanly possible.

7.  Did anyone try to put you off teaching in the past?
Yes, some of my teachers - not explicitly, but in the way they did their job.  But the great ones were great!

8.  Why do you think teaching can bring so much satisfaction but also frustration?
See 6 - you can’t do everything for everyone.

9.  What makes you happy?
Life, the universe, everything.  The same things that can sometimes make me sad, confused, angry, ...

10.  When did you last laugh out loud?
Thursday evening while celebrating a colleague’s 25-years service at my college.  Everyone shared stories of the past 25-years and there were tears of laughter all around.

11.  If your child/best friend wanted to become a teacher, what piece of advice would you give him or her?
Do it, it’s the best job! (Unless teaching clearly wasn’t a good match for that person’s skills, attitude, etc, and then I’d have a longer chat.)

Thanks Hana, lovely to read you post and share my thoughts with you.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tagged, Blogged, Broken ...

Thanks Marisa Constantinides for tagging me for this "kind of a chain blog post in which one blogger tags you on their blog and challenges you to answer some questions and then pass the ball to eleven more bloggers!"  I feel quite honoured as Marisa is a champion to me.  Which is the only reason I'm spending time posting on my one free day between a very hectic end-of-semester rush and packing for 4 weeks away.

Here are the bits of the task that Marisa has invited me to step up to, that I have stepped up to …
  • Share 11 random facts about myself.
  • Answer the 11 questions Marisa has created for me.
  • Post 11 questions for others to answer
 I'm passing on the tagging of others part, see below for my explanation.

11 random facts about myself

  1. My education seems to run in sets of two: I attended two infants schools, 2 primary schools, 2 high schools.  While I’ve attended more than 2 universities, I do have 2 post-graduate diplomas and 2 masters degrees :-)
  2. Before I was an English language teacher I was a web developer, computer programmer, systems analyst, and other ICT roles.
  3. Before I worked in the areas mentioned above I was a librarian, indexer, specialist database searcher, and other information management roles.
  4. And I have mixed the skills developed in 2 & 3 and worked as a systems librarian, and an information architect.
  5. Teaching is the hardest job I’ve ever had, but by far the best and most satisfying thing I’ve ever done.
  6. My favourite sports all involve moving across water: rowing, sailing, kayaking
  7. The only artistic thing I have ever been reasonably successful with has been photography.
  8. I love reading … anything!
  9. My favourite food is bananas - the one food I would really miss if they were no longer around.
  10. I’ve learned little bits of lots of languages, but never stuck with one long enough to progress very far, including: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Polish, Pitjantjatjara
  11. I much prefer hot weather to cold.

My answers to Marisa’s questions - my answers in purple

  1. How long does it usually take you to draft and finalise a blog post?
    Marisa, did you write this question just for me? You know how long it takes me to write an #ELTchat summary - a long time - and you know I need prodding to finalise one.  Most of my blog posts are like that, which is why I'm a very occasional blogger. But sometimes I do whip one off very quickly (like this one - took a long time to start, but I wrote it very quickly).
  2. Which ICT tools do you actually use with your classes?
    Moodle, SMARTboard, iPhone (my own - mostly for dictionaries, recording, quick web searches, and more), iPad (my own - for recording, screencasting feedback of student writing, and more), YouTube, VoiceThread, and more...
  3. What is your absolute dream job?
    Right now, it would be teaching just what students want and need, without any restrictions from a prescribed curriculum, and without the mountain of administrative tasks around reporting, etc.
  4. Which classroom activity do you absolutely enjoy using with your students? One is all I need
    Only one?! The first that comes to mind is Dictogloss - works on so many levels, on many skills, is collaborative and enables me to focus on individual students' needs.
  5. How many of your current friendships  were started through a social network?
    Too many to count!
  6. Which household chore do you hate the most and which one do you love the best?
    Hate: cleaning the toilet, Love: ... still thinking... :-)
  7. Name your 10 desert island CD’s
    Only 10?!  Tough!  When I travelled around Australia I had about 100 CDs in my bus!  If pushed, I'd probably choose these, but I reserve the right to change my mind before being stranded on a desert island.  No particular order...
    • Ed Kuepper - The Butterfly Net
    • The Cruel Sea - The Honeymoon is Over
    • Dave Graney and the Coral Snakes - Night of the Wolverine
    • Deborah Conway - Bitch Epic
    • The Boat That Rocked (soundtrack)
    • The Key of Sea
    • Warsaw Village Band - People's Spring
    • Rodriguez - Cold Fact
    • The Saints - Prehistoric Sounds
    • The Goddess of 1967 (soundtrack)
    Interesting that all except two of these are Australian!
  8. Do you wish you had studied something other than what you did study? Do say what, if the answer is yes.
    No, I think I've studied everything I've wanted to and doubt I've finished studying :-) 
    Maybe wish I'd stuck with one language long enough to master it.
  9. Describe the naughtiest thing you have ever done – within reason, of course
    Probably the naughtiest was riding my motorbike up and down the stairs of the local primary school.  Hope that the statute of limitations protects me from prosecution! But it was when I was around 12 to 15 so I'm probably safe :-)
  10. What artistic aspirations or skills do you have?
    I'd love to be artistic; would especially love to be able to create gorgeous music. But I don't think I have it in me, or perhaps it's because I appreciate good art/music too much to tolerate my piddling efforts.
  11. Which TV series or film do you keep watching again and again?
    Gillian Armstrong's Starstruck - could never get sick of it!

My questions

Like Sue Annan, I will just put out 11 questions without tagging anyone.  I think everyone I know with a blog has already been tagged, and given this almost felt like a chore I had to finish (but not too arduous Marisa), I didn’t want to burden anyone.  And I've always been the person who has broken the chain on any type of chain letters, emails, etc. dating back to my school days.  So, sorry to be a party-pooper, but... the chain stops here!

If anyone gets this far and wants to play, and it is fun responding, here are some questions that I would actually be very interested in reading answers to from any of my PLN-friends:
  1. If you were going to make any New Year’s resolutions, what is the first that comes to mind?
  2. What is your favourite book that you read in 2013?
  3. What musical instrument would you most like to play that you can't already play? 
  4. Are you a morning person or a night person?
  5. What's your favourite song to use with a class, and how do you use it?
  6. What are you like as a language learner?
  7. What is one thing have you taken from your own language learning experience and used in your own teaching?
  8. What is one thing from your own language learning experience that you would never use in a class? 
  9. Where would you first take a visitor to in your home town?
  10. Which country would you most like to visit that you haven't already been?
  11. What is one thing you can suggest to encourage colleagues to share in an online environment? (I'd really love some ideas here :-) )
Thanks again Marisa.  It was fun, and I'm pleased and honoured to have been tagged by you.