In your hands

My life as a teacher of English and other curiosities


My name is Anna Varna and I am an English Language Teacher by education. Until 2012 I was working in Greece in various educational settings. I started teaching languages when I was still a University student back in 1992 and I still haven’t regretted it. In 2012 I moved to Brussels, Belgium where I work as a pedagogical advisor for the European Commission.

When I started this blog I was working in a small rural school in Greece and I was sharing mostly my experiences from there. When I came in Brussels the scope of my job changed and so did the topics of my posts. I still want to write about my experiences in language learning, I want to share interesting resources in a more permanent way than Twitter and Facebook, I want to connect with fellow teachers and practitioners all over the world. Most of all though I want to keep reflecting about my job with all the problems and challenges and happiness this involves!

The name of this blog is taken from a book I read many years ago. NLP in ELT by Jane Revell and Susan Norman. Its stories still resonate with me, as a teacher and as a human being. It is a note to myself, especially now, hard times and all. The answer is always…

You can also find me in twitter as @annabooklover where I tweet mostly about books, journeys, ELT (english language teaching), rarely about politics. The views expressed in this blog and in the twitter are exclusively mine.




  1. Hi Anna,

    I’m Thomas, from Chile. I work in an international high school in Santiago, Chile. Our students are very diverse as a result. You and I teach at different levels, yet we both share the same concerns about education, in general.

    I like your blog, it’s really great. Your reflective, insightful way of approaching your topics resonates well with me.

    I have recommended you highly on my Facebook page to other readers. I will return from time to time in the future to read your reflections, and to offer my responses after I’m finished reading.

    Finally, I wish you a great and wonderful year in 2011!

    Best regards,

  2. Welcome Thomas!

  3. I love your blog! And I know the book In Your Hands very well. great book.

  4. Thanks David! I loved your presentation at VRT too!

  5. hi anna, great to learn more about you. i enjoyed looking through your blog and your piece about fb in particular caught my attention. how do we embrace technology and all that it can give us, and pass it on to our children for them to use it in a responsible way? it’s all still so new and constantly changing. certainly lots to think about…

  6. Thank you for coming here Ana! Hope you will find more food for thought!

  7. Hi Anna,

    just followed a link from my own blog here, half expecting it to be Jane’s blog! I too found Jane Revell and Susan Norman’s book really special. I first worked with Jane in 1992 (another year I notice resonates with you), when we did some British Council training together in Hungary. Since then, we have trained and worked on writing projects, and you may be interested to hear that we are going to start writing together again later this month. 🙂

  8. Hi Anna,
    so glad I found you here, as well! you’ve done an amazing job…keep up

  9. Hello there!
    I’m a follower of yours in Twitter and I’ve been reading your blog (as consistently as I can) since I followed you.
    I’m an English teacher (not permanently employed by the Ministry of Education- working mostly as a substitute teacher) and I’m about to apply for assistantship through the Comenius programme. Could I possibly ask you some questions before I make the application? Seems to be quite a procedure and none of the teachers in the school I work this year have ever participated in a Comenius programme…
    If you think you do have time and could bother a little bit, I’ll be glad to hear from you! I’d appreciate it a lot! Thank you anyway 🙂

  10. Hello Aristea!
    I’d love to help you if I can. Contact me at :

  11. Hello from Greece!
    I am an EFL State School Teacher here in Greece and I ‘ve always been interested in teaching English through the use of material related to music, history, social issues, literature etc. I thought that using the language as a means to gain more knowledge would make my students more involved and engaged in the learning process. That was the reason why I chose and I still prefer to work with teenagers since they already have the knowledge of the language and we can go beyond! Although this doesn’t work all the time I try not to lose my faith and persistence. Anyway, some years ago, I found out that there is a term for what my perception of an ideal lesson is and this is CLIL and then I came across your excellent blog.
    Finally, two days ago, I was surprised to read about the CORE Programme and see your name, so I decided to write and ask for some information about it and if I can be of any help.

    With regards
    Gina Paschalidou

  12. Thank you for your kind words Gina and sorry for the late reply. If you want to participate in CORE activities please write a mail to me and we can discuss. annavarna at

  13. Oh my God, I finally got to see your answer two years later!!
    I’m still interested in CLIL and to tell you the truth my dissertation – on which I’m about to start working – is going to be about CLIL!

    Thanks a lot, I may need to get in touch with you after I get down to work…

  14. Hello Anna,

    I hope you are well. I am writing you because I wanted to send you photos from TESOL France colloquium =)) could you give me your email address?

    Hope to hear from you soon,

    Anna (photographer)

  15. Dear Anna,
    I am so proud of your professional and personal development in the years since we both lived on the same street in Larissa, Greece. Your blog has touched many worldwide with its enthusiasm and sincerity. Congratulations.

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