When people asked me what I did for a living, I wasn't always very happy to say that I was a teacher. I guess it sounded so ordinary. I was coming up with some funky and jazzy names of my profession because I felt that the things I did couldn't possibly be labelled -TEACHER-
Now, I see things differently. Being a teacher is not only my job, it's my vocation. But I aspire, not only to be a teacher, but to be A GOOD TEACHER or even great one day!
This year I decided to ask my students to share their ideas on what a good teacher is. And today, as a part of the Teacher's Day celebration I am going to ponder on their ideas and have a piece of cake. A Happy Teacher's Day to me!
Below I present my students' work and their contribution to this post. I am very grateful for their involvement. Their ideas will help me to set next goals for myself and look at things from a different perspective. It will also motivate me to work on the areas that I might have neglected or put off board.
Click on the image to enlarge !
A GOOD STUDENT WANTS
I think that at the bottom of every single thing that we do is our motivation or a lack of it. Motivation is not necessarily connected with having results, or maybe more accurately, setting and reaching spectacular goals. However, in order to be a good student you need to "WANT" - want to learn; want to discover, want to grow, want to explore ... Without this initial and later on nurtured "want", it would be very hard, if not impossible to engage yourself in any learning experience.
A GOOD STUDENT TRIES ... FAILS .... TRIES AGAIN
Trying is difficult; doing things over and over again can be dull and daunting. Having the ability to keep on trying is an extremely precious thing and anybody who has it can embark themselves on a wonderful journey of becoming better and better. You can always start again. It doesn't matter how many times you tried. If you WANT, there's always a blank page to write a new chapter. And sometimes you need a whole set of drafts before you can put it together into something meaningful.
A GOOD STUDENT COOPERATES
Cooperation for me is a dialogue; it's willingness to be engaged; to give not only take. A good student contributes into their lesson and the whole teaching-learning process. I strongly believe that as much as students need to guided in their learning, teachers also need to shepherded in the whole process. Communicating your needs to your teacher; giving them some background of your current language necessities, sharing feedback with them is absolutely essential for your cooperation to be successful.
A GOOD STUDENT KNOWS HOW TO OPEN THEIR LEARNING SPACE
It's a bit of a joke but every little bit of organisation helps. Having a notebook is good but what's even better is to have notes there- notes which you can easily access, update and use. Knowing the technicalities of your learning must-haves simply saves time.
It has been almost two weeks since my last visit to London. I had planned to write a post soon after I got back, but for some reasons, it was not possible. It took me some time to think about what exactly I would like to share with you. I also didn't want it to sound resentful plus I wanted to avoid dragging on and on how great Great Britain is. But the fact is that it is great. It's different from the other countries I love to travel to. It's a bit like coming home; it's like coming to a place where tea tastes like tea and things are exactly where we last left them. There's a wonderful sense of continuity here, and at the same time, a mixture of tranquility and buzz.
My first stop is Baker Street, where I reach for my first-morning snack. I wouldn't call it breakfast, because I know there will be more breakfast opportunities later. And yes, London does not disappoint in any way when it comes to the variety of food it has to offer. For now, my diet is no longer a priority for me. I want to enjoy pancakes, scones, carrot cakes, and the like. I want to sit down and have tea at every opportunity - and you must know that I'm not a tea lover.
I have a few places on my itinerary that I absolutely must visit. But they are not necessarily top ten tourist attractions. I prefer secret London. It's not that I think the most popular tourist attractions aren't worth checking out - of course, they are! But that's not what I'm here for.
On this trip, however, I want to visit the Tate Modern. I've never been there before. The Tate Modern is located near the Thames and is surrounded by tall, modern buildings. It is a very nice part of the city. If I had more time, I would probably go for a walk along the riverbank or something. Anyway, back to the museum. The museum building is quite large - that is my first impression. When I go inside, it seems almost surreal how spacious and contemporary the building is. It has several exhibition floors. I already know that I won't manage to see everything. I have two hours and I am literally storming the place. But I know I want to go back there. I am enchanted. Below are just a few highlights from this trip.
I also visit Victoria and Albert's Museum and the National Gallery. Victoria and Albert's is almost always my stop - they have a great shop there, and the National Gallery - well, that's a treat! It's filled with works of the greatest. I want to see my personal favorite - Cezanne. It's a bit of a strange feeling, looking at his paintings depicting familiar places in the south of France here, in a cloudy, slightly colder, and grayer place.
There are a couple of other stops on my list - meeting a friend in Stanmore, where the Jubilee line ends. It turns out to be quite an exciting and scary ride. You can watch my short video here to find out why.
Then the must-walk through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, Chinatown for dinner, Portobello St. for a morning chill-out, and Oxford Street for shopping.
Time flies! People are rushing around you, the city is bustling, and yet I feel relaxed. There is something about the hustle and bustle of this city that makes me feel alive. I really don't know how to describe it. There is a famous saying: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life". Well, I guess I'm not as tired of life as I thought.
I have waited with posting this blog post for quite some time. The reason, this time, cannot be attributed either to my laziness or business. The fact is that I have been patiently waiting for my delivery, just to show you the number of goodies I purchased. The day has finally come and I am able to share with you some photos of my latest shopping-spree. At the same time, I want to push you a little bit to present yourselves with some books in English. After all it is a festive season, the season of giving so what other time could be better to enrich your books collection with some new titles. Stop playing Scrooge this Christmas and pamper yourself - and who knows maybe your loved ones as well - with something that will boost your motivation for learning and if not that, something that will definitely present itself proudly on a shelf in your living room.
Here's a sneak-peak of my first series of common mistakes exposed.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the presentation!
If you want to get your own downloadable version please fill in the form below. The stickers can come in the standard white version or they can also be available in the blue colour.
What kind of mistakes would you like me to cover in the 2nd edition?
I understand that for many of you talking in the lesson is the most important thing. And perhaps, it should be. But in the learning process the speaking practice should be something more than repeating the same old structures and words. And this “more” comes from targeting certain structures and words. However, to target them, you need to have them written down at some point. And, believe me, there are plenty of opportunities when you can jot things down.
I am not completely sure this post should aspire to its title. It seems that squeezing in a challenge has turned out to be difficult not only for you but also for me. Anyhow, we are here to learn from our mistakes and there's no better feeling than being back on track. And so we are now with our October challenge.
This month I will try to encourage to you to take advantage of multiple online events available on Linkedin. So often times we discuss your professional issues during our lessons. And honing your English skills can always go together with your self-development. Put your English into context, learn something new and have a feeling of accomplishment. Sweet!
And how to find interesting events?
Let's say that you are interested in "coaching", then you type your interest into a searching box and voila! Please read the event description and don't forget to register. Also, make sure that the event is free of charge; you can participate in the paid ones later on.
Here is a pic to get you more familiar with the search.
Oh, it's summer!
Summer is the time to rest and chill out! I guess it will be super hard to plan a challenge that requires being systematic and diligent. Therefore I will give you here a list of less-involving summer-time activities that you can do in your free time. They mostly include online games, puzzles and quizzes. Have fun!
1. Easy speak
You need a mic for this activity. It's quite easy but fun. Good for practising pronunciation as it uses voice recognition mode. There are several categories available. You can try it with friends or even your kids!
2. Phrasal verbs
In this activity you need to choose a proper phrasal for a picture. You have 3 opinions to choose from. The phrasals used here are pretty common and it's good to have them in your active vocabulary.
Here you will get 16 random letters of the alphabet and three minutes. During that time, you have to come up with as many English words as you can using the letters you have, and every time you make a new word, you get points.
The game might not be the easiest but the rules are downright simple: listen to a word and try to spell it correctly. Additionally, you can have a look at visual thesaurus on the right and all the definitions.
5. Crossword puzzles
This webpage is a great treat for any crosswords' lover. It offers a variety of puzzles and levels to choose from.
TubeQuizard is great! It might be more challenging than a simple game as it focuses on intensive listening exercises - it includes short clips from many sources and songs! You can pick and choose as their library is quite impressive. Additionally, you can decide on the level you wish to practise and type of quiz focus - grammar, vocabulary etc.
You have been doing so well in March that it's time to raise the bar.
This month I am inviting you to the "Tell me about your day" Challenge.
The rules are as simple as ABC.
1 - You click the link HERE (there will be an additional link in your learning space if you decide to take part)
2 - put your name (no surnames please)
3 - set up your camera
4 - talk about 1 minute about your day (there's no need to remind you that you don't need to tell the truth; you can lie as much as you want to)
5 - wait for my feedback and the targets for your next recording
6 - get back to point 1
I think we can start from one video a week. The time for submitting your first video is 10th April. Oh, and one more thing - submitting your video equals your registration for this April Challenge.
This month we will be doing some controlled audio recordings.
The task is for you to describe a photo or I guess I should say tell me a story behind the photo. And the target is to use modal verbs of speculation - preferably present and past. Still, please remember you need to sound natural.
As a bonus feature I am giving you a time limit which is 1 minute.
The links to this exercises will be published in this post every week. Pls note that they will become active with a beginning of every week.
Please include your true name and the first letter of your surname if you have a common name in the task. You can submit the task more than once, there's such an option but try not to do it before getting feedback from me.
Written by Agnieszka Kansy