In your hands

My life as a teacher of English and other curiosities

March 29, 2011
by annavarna
7 Comments

Hello!!! Is the kid inside you alive?

Hello world! I haven’t written for some time because it has been hectic around here. Sometimes I am envious of people I know in other countries who achieve so many things and seem to work 24/7. Don’t they ever sleep? I’m talking to you Shelly? J

But then I tell my friend Olga about my worries and she says Anna please don’t say this to anyone of your friends because you are going to depress them. Anyway, here I am again, blogging about teaching, development and my favourite young learners.

Six years ago when I had to make the decision whether to work in primary or secondary education, I thought about it for some 5 minutes and haven’t looked back since. Working with young learners is so lively, so creative, so unpredictable every day that I am still amazed people mock that decision of mine. “You will work more hours”, they told me, as if this a drawback. “They will make you crazy with their constant bickering” they said, as if they had forgotten how funny it is to be with kids under 12.

So creating a workshop about teaching English to very young learners was only natural to me. “Is the kid inside you alive?” is the title of our workshop at the 2nd Istek International Schools ELT Conference on Sunday and along with Marina Kollatou we will try to remind you what it is like to learn a new language, but most of all we will try to revive that forgotten kid inside you! Since you probably speak fluent English to be reading this, and if you are there at the conference it means you are either a teacher of English or a student, we had the idea to teach a lesson of Greek to make this workshop as authentic as possible.

As the days go by and we are trying to put the last brushes to our presentation (last rehearsal tonight), trying to follow all the suggestions about an excellent presentation by Ken Wilson and all the tips about what to do before the conference, by Adam Simpson, stress is peaking by the minute. Thankfully, having such a fantastic PLN I just came across this superb animation video that seems to be the perfect illustration of what we want to achieve in our workshop.

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Please watch it! If you intend to come to our presentation see it as a kind of pre-lesson activity, if not, just to relax!  Is the kid inside you alive? Looking forward to your answers either here or in Istanbul, on Sunday at 13.15 at Room 315!

February 24, 2011
by annavarna
2 Comments

So you want to be a reporter?

I have never met Mark Andrews. But last year one weekend at the beginning of April we were both attending virtually the 1st ISTEK ELT conference in Istanbul and tweeting about it and then blogged about it, each one from our respective countries, him in Hungary and me in Greece. It was a fantastic experience: we weren’t there but we both felt  the electric atmosphere. I remember looking at photographs reading the posts in the various blogs, following the presentations all from my kitchen in Larissa. I was really envious for the people who were actually there and I promised myself that if I went to a conference the next year that would be it.

A few weeks after that I went to the IATEFL 2010 Harrogate conference, my first international conference, the first time I presented at such an audience, a magnificent experience all in all. But to be honest, maybe because I didn’t stay long, maybe because I wasn’t so well connected back then, the social part of the conference seemed to be somewhat lacking in comparison to Istanbul’s. So the desire to go to ISTEK never waned. Not only that but as the organizers kept informing us about the stunning line up of speakers, it kept getting bigger.

Forward one year later, December 2010. Proposals for Istanbul would open soon ( I kept pestering Burcu about that, so I had inside info) and I was stuck for ideas. No matter how many (thinking) hats I put on I wouldn’t come up with anything. But inspiration works in strange ways so during one long drive to Karditsa to attend a presentation of the Finnish Educational System,  I had the idea to suggest to our school advisor to make a proposal together. Before we arrived in Karditsa I had the first idea formed which we later developed and improved.

Forward to last Monday: a message from Burcu telling me that my video for the Roving Reporter Competition was one of the top three submitted, and it was up to the people now to decide who was going to go to the ISTEK as a reporter. ISTEK is going to cover expenses for the Roving Reporter and the Reporter will have to cover the conference, write, blog, or vlog, tweet from there to the best of their abilities.

I can’t begin to describe how happy I felt, how honoured, how enthusiastic! And the company was fantastic too! I don’t know Sabrina yet, I just discovered her blog, but to be in the same group as Mark, this is Serendipity if nothing else!

And another thing: a few hours ago Mark blogged his feelings about this competition. Personally I’m not very competitive, I am more for cooperation and if I could I would send all three of us to Istanbul. But he says something about this being like taking part in X-Factor or some other show like this that I want to comment on: Whenever I have watched programs of this kind I usually make fun of how all the participants are so touchy-feely and all for fair play, and so on an so forth. I never thought it was true. However, this is exactly how I feel about Mark: I like his video a lot and I am sure he would make a great roving reporter.

So if you want to help us go to Istanbul you can go to Burcu’s blog and vote for one of us. Vote with your heart and you mind, vote as you like, I am certain each one of us has something different to offer to the event and whatever choice you make is going to be for the best!

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