To my #YoungerTeacherSelf

Thank you Joanna Malefaki for tagging me in this inspiring challenge. Truth be told, I’ve been writing this letter for some time now, only in little bits here and bigger pieces there. What advice would I give to my younger teacher self?

My dear Christina,

it may seem I’ve forgotten about you, having drifted so far away in years ahead, but believe me I haven’t. You’ve been gently carried along, seen through different eyes, even with a half-smile at times, for all you have done and all you haven’t. Let me tell you of the things I’d like you to learn, the ones to accept and some to forget.

You’re about 21 and have just received your first qualification as a language instructor. Accept that you’ve just opened the door to a world of wonders, demands and true happiness. It might sound too much to take, but you will love every part of it, trust me. Forget you’ve been teaching for four years already, you start a new journey now. Keep only what’s necessary and make room for the new.

You learn as you go, and from everything that comes your way. Learn with your professors and get your first BA. Learn with your colleagues, your supervisors and your students. Learn from the process and the hardship to get your second degree and your other language certificates. Accept that you will do everything you can to still give back to the community and learn that the best moments await you right there; accept that you will use your teaching to reach more and further, in other fields, in different cultures. Forget that you’ll meet some undeserving of your assistance and involvement, because you stand to win in the end. Learn that it’s ok to drop out of your MA because you chose to, but accept that it will take time and effort to get back to it.

Learn everything the way you want. That process will make you a thorough, persistent learner and will fire you up even more to become a better teacher. Don’t be afraid of confusion, you won’t be confused.
You love languages, so go learn them and never stop pursuing them. They will give you back more than you could ever imagine.

Learn to be open to opportunities, even the most daunting ones. Accept that you will start a company and then let it go its own way. Forget that you will be stressed and appalled sometimes, that’s just how things are in the business world, but learn that you will use your developed skills in your teaching.

Accept that some things you will have to pursue yourself, but learn that you will not be alone. You will find a few, yes just a few, people who see the things you see and talk the words you talk. Forget what people say and keep what they do.

Keep learning Christina, you have a long way to go. Use what you have, use what works. Accept that you need to forget a few things, so you have enough room for things worth to remember.

Can’t think of anyone in particular to tag. I’ll leave it open to all, anyone who wishes to take part, consider yourselves tagged!

Thoughts & New things on the Blog

Where is this going? The blog, I mean. Does it have to go anywhere even? I started blogging three years ago, not because I had anything important to say, but because it seemed like the best way to share thoughts and invite more thoughts to bounce along my own. There could be a better idea out there, a stronger word. It was also a way of organizing my chaotic brain.

In terms of bouncing, it’s worked 100%. I’ve had inspiring and empowering ideas to add to my own and I’m so grateful for all contributions and feedback. I’ve been asked interesting questions, like ‘why don’t you write in Greek?’ or ‘how do you decide what to write?’. Um, I don’t know and I don’t know. Some things come naturally and I prefer it that way. Other things are planned and they’re fine too.
Organizing is a different story. It’s been impossible to keep typed thoughts in order; pencils seem to rule that domain, and pens on and off. Different notebooks for the several different things I’ve found myself doing, which might sound like it’s making the chaos worse but it isn’t. There are quite a lot of coloured pens and pencils and endless rows of sticky notes as well. It works. And makes the blogging easier, actually.

So where do we go from here? To the two thoughts that led to the two new sections of the blog.

The first is the result of bouncing happily online, from a random comment to a new idea and story.
Stories are as significant and versatile as each and every one of their readers. It’s not about somebody writing a piece or two, it’s more about the ones who sit and go through those pieces. They might find something new in there, or perhaps something old. They might find themselves, or someone they know, or even meet someone entirely new. But they will discover. Something is always twirling in your mind and there’s a unique kind of joy when someone sees it, grabs one end and starts pulling it out. That’s what Sylvia Guinan did at some point, by inviting me to write a guest post for WiziQ. And so this whole thing came to be. Thank you Sylvia.Time to let those true tales breathe out in the open.

Tales4ExamTakers

The second is simultaneously personal and professional. I’ve been a freelance teacher for over a year now. Had a lot of feedback, which can be summed up in those two statements: ‘you should have done this a long time ago’ and ‘ you’re crazy, you’re supposed to seek security’. Frankly, that’s exactly how it’s been in my head as well. Did I make the right choice? Does it work for me? Will (or can) I keep it up? So, a new series of posts on exactly that: the attempt to organise my thoughts on what it really is I’m doing. It might work.

FreelancerDiary

#30GoalsEDU – Support a movement

The Greek saying ”shared joy is double joy, shared pain is half the pain” is to me an unshakable truth.
It’s so great to be given the opportunity to share the movements I’ve had the honour to be part of, or that have been introduced to me by colleagues so I could support those as well.

The 30GoalsChallenge for Educators, for the ideas, the constant inspiration and the connection to exceptional colleagues  it has brought into my world.

TESOL Greece and TESOL Macedonia-Thrace,  for their ongoing efforts to bring us only the best and their support to all teachers. Annual Conferences coming up and I can’t wait to meet up with everyone, again or for the first time in person!

The Disabled Access Friendly Campaign, for all their work and excellent material from contributors we can all use to raise awareness on what people with mobility disability face daily and where we as teachers can step in and make a difference.

TEFL Equity Advocates, because ‘discrimination’ should be erased from our vocabulary and for Marek Kiczkowiak‘s initiative and strength to keep this movement going.

iTDi, for being precisely ”for teachers, by teachers” and the continuous development opportunities and support it offers all educators. The iTDiBlog is simply a treasure.

Future Library, for the passion, the creativity and the constant efforts to make the library of the future a reality. The Hub is their, and our, unique social network.

YWCA Greece, for the wonderful women I’ve worked with over the years, our local, national and international projects and the continuous work in all communities to inform and empower women.