This is officially a year of challenges.
Challenge number 1: Starting over in a new country
As most of you already know, I’ve recently moved to Pforzheim, Germany. “What’s it like?”, a lot of people ask. In one word: green!
Moving abroad is hard, though. New rules, new environment, new language, lots of paperwork, and everything is even more complicated when you don’t speak the language.. I still haven’t completed the process of registering as a freelancer, so I can’t work yet.
When you can’t work, volunteer
Challenge number 2: training in the refugee context
I’ve recently got involved in a Community Teacher Training Programme organized by RefugeEd. Huge thanks to Laura Patsko for sharing it on Linkedin! I’m officially one of their volunteer trainers!🙂 We’ll be planning and delivering 90-minute workshops online once a week, for volunteer and refugee teachers based in Northern Greece. I’m very excited to be part of this; at the same time I’m sure I’ll learn a lot about training and co-training, as I’ll be working closely with a partner!
To prepare for the role, we completed 12 hours of trauma training. Three of these sessions were facilitated by Darren Abrahams from The Human Hive. Darren is an experienced trauma-therapist and co-founder of The Human Hive, and provides training to prospective volunteers wishing to volunteer within the refugee context. One of the sessions was facilitated by Charlotte Flothmann, who works for the Refugee Trauma Initiative. Grateful for what I learned from them!
Challenge number 3: writing
Academic writing is tough. At least for me. The only way to become a better writer, is to write more.
And that’s what I’ve been doing lately.
- IATEFL voices published my first article which you can read in issue 282, page 14, if you’re an IATEFL member! The title is improving students’ essay writing skills with checklists.
- IATEFL TTEd Sig might publish one of my articles in their spring newsletter. It’s on one of my favourite topics, our teacher talk. I also wrote a little post for them a few months ago which you can read here.
- I’m writing some articles for ELTAS , a regional association of English language teachers in the greater Stuttgart area, which I joined recently and many thanks to Khanh-Duc Kuttig for recommending this association! It would be so nice to attend face-to-face workshops in Stuttgart soon!
Challenge number 4: my studies
I’m still writing my Trainer Development course assignments; 6000-6500 words. 😅
- Portfolio task one is about supportive trainer talk. I recorded one of my sessions and I’m writing a critical analysis of my trainer talk.
- Portfolio task 2 is creating materials for three hours of training. I am writing about teaching stress in pronunciation.
- The main assignment is designing a 50-hour course. Haven’t made much progress yet..
First drafts weren’t that good. Feedback on the second ones was slightly better but I still need hours and hours of hard work! This process is challenging, but I’m grateful for what I’m learning and I totally recommend NILE TD if you’re looking for a course on teacher training. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel and I must say I feel much more confident than when I started the course back in April. I’ve done a lot of useful reading for my assignments and now it’s time to practise as well. Experiment, make mistakes, reflect and move forward.
Challenge number 5: Presenting
Although this has been a cruel, cruel summer as the song says, (studying while packing boxes), I managed to find time and courage (beat the imposter syndrome) to submit a proposal for an IATEFL scholarship. To my surprise, I won the Gill Sturtridge First Time Speaker Scholarship! If everything goes well, I’ll be presenting at the 55th IATEFL conference. This is both exciting and a bit scary !☺ Teresa Bestwick has written this wonderful post on imposter syndrome, which is well worth a read by the way.
I am preparing a webinar on teaching stress in pronunciation to help EFL learners improve their listening skills, for an International House Cairo event early next year.
I might prepare a PechaKucha for an inter-ELTA event organized by ELTA Rhine here in Germany. Again, thank you Khanh-Duc for the encouragement! I’ll give it a shot 👍
What about the TEFL Zone?
- I’m writing a lot of lesson plans, as I want to experiment with new techniques, so follow the blog and get notified when I post them!😉
- I’m co-writing a post with Ethan Mansur and Riccardo Chiappini about their new book: Activities for Mediation. Building Bridges in the ELT Classroom. Very excited this book is out, as I’m huge fan of their work!
- I was asked to write a review of Peter Clements and Paul Murphy’s book IELTS Reading Practice, but I really think Jim fuller has done a fantastic job, so I highly recommend reading his review here. I agree with Jim 100% ! Congratulations, Pete and Paul! 👏
Stepping out of your comfort zone is hard. But what makes it easier, is having a network of people who believe in you, support you and encourage you to embrace new challenges. If you’re reading this, you’re one of them, so ….thank you! 💜 Σας ευχαριστω! 🧡