Sunday, February 25, 2018

Journey out of burnout: Links

  • The iTDi blog with articles about mental health, burnout and mindfulness:

  • A blog and online lessons about self love, mindfulness and gratitude:

  • Monash University courses about mindfulness and well being:

  • Future Learn courses on Mindfulness and well being:

  • A collection of teachers' articles on Mental Health and ELT:

  • Benefits of meditation:

  • Video with the 'jar of life' story:

  • Buddhist Monk on how to meditate:

  • How to stop overthinking:

  • Teachers talking about their everyday lives:

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Goal-Minded Teacher Live Expert Teacher Panel Discussion

Click here for the video!

 I had the honour to participate in the first live hangout of this wonderful MOOC:

The EDU Goals MOOC helps you to become a goal-minded teacher who sets small achievable goals throughout your teaching year and teaching career. Each unit motivates you to accomplish a goal to enhance learning in your classroom.
The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers is the inspiration behind this MOOC. Over 10,000 teachers have joined The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers since 2010. After you complete this MOOC, you will be able to receive support from teachers worldwide who are also goal-minded on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks.

A tired teacher: A journey out of burnout

We've all been there!
I have always wanted share my thoughts and try out things that might also help you overcome this!

TESOL Macedonia Thrace 25th Jubilee International Convention:
Thessaloniki, Anatolia College
Sunday February 25th, 11.45

TESOL Greece 39th International convention
Athens, Deree College
Saturday March 3rd, 18.30

Join me!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

What's new?

I've got news for you guys!

1. The #EduGoalsMOOC is launching today! There are going to be live hangouts - first one this Saturday at 18.00 (GMT+2) and guess who one of the guests will be!!!!

2. TESOL Macedonia Thrace 25th Jubilee International Convention on February 23rd-25th at Anatolia College and Theodora's journey out of burnout on Sunday 25th, at 11.45

3. TESOL Greece 39th Annual International Convention on March 3rd-4th at Deree College in Athens and Theodora's journey out of burnout on Saturday 3rd at 18.30 right after Theodore Lalos ' Escape Master: The New Breed of Educator at 17.30

4. And don't forget the February issue of the Humanising Language Magazine where you can find my short article on creative exam prep!
I hope to meet you virtually or in flesh and blood real soon!!

Guest teaching: activities with kids!!

Recently I have had the chance to work as a guest teacher at the language school of Ms Psarra in Thessaloniki!
It plays a significant role in my teaching life, not to be occupied with specific age or target groups. I like to be versatile and find new challenging ways to cope with all levels, ages and targets.
So this time I had to work with mixed-ability children aged 9-12 (in different classes).
Some of the activities we tried:

  • Introduction game with a ball: The person who has the ball states their name, age, hobbies (and whatever else they want to) - the next person talks about themselves and also mentions what the previous player said and so on!! Much fun with big classes!

  • Dictionary, Drawing dictation, drawing and describing things: Depending on the level, students  draw objects and their classmates guess what they are, teacher reads something (for example, describing a park) and the students draw what they hear or the students draw something (i.g. their room) and then describe it to their classmates.
  • Pantomime: Students try to show an object with their body and their classmates guess what it is!
  • Grammar Auction: Teacher "sells" sentences (correct and wrong ones). Students bid and buy the sentences. Winner is the person who has more correct sentences.
  • Video stories with Learn English Kids: Students watch the video, comment, they can use the activity worksheet or just describe what they saw or write about it depending on the level.

  • Lyrics training: Students try to guess words of a song. There are easier and more difficult options and the choice to choose from words or type them on your own. Great activity on the Interaction whiteboard. 
I would like to thank Ms Georgia Psarra for giving me the opportunity to work with her students.
More to come!

Useful links:

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The wild goose (chase? - in other words story about a bird)

Once upon a time there was a litte wild goose. She was all alone in the world. She didn't belong to a flock. She flew wherever she wanted, she met a lot of other birds and animals on her way. Wherever she wanted, she stopped, she explored and shared her stories with the other animals.
Most of the animals were friendly with her and wanted to spend time with the goose. They liked her, because she had been to many places and she knew a lot of things. The goose was very happy to talk with them and help them, telling them her thoughts and her opinions based on her experience.
So, she flew and flew but life was really hard. the goose felt that she didn't have a home. It was really difficult for her to face all these dangers out there alone. Every day she had to find a new safe place to stay, food to survive and cover from predators.
Every day, instead of enjoying her freedom, she just thought of the uncertainty in her life and she was miserable. More and more every day.
Until one day, she landed on a farm. There were a lot of animals over there, cows, horses, dogs, cats and lots of chicken.
So, the rooster comes and says: Why don't you come and live with us at the hen house? You will be helping with the chores and we will provide with you a place to sleep and food to eat and protection from the wild animals.
The goose thought about it and decided to stay. She had found a purpose. She had found a home.
So, every morning, she helped with the chores at the hen house, she ate and drunk and had a place to sleep.
But the chickens didn't think she was worth enough to spend time with her. They talked only to other chickens and always gave her the difficult chores and were very competitive. They always said that she did things in the wrong way, no matter how hard she tried.
But the chickens had build their own groups and did not let her in. They talked behind her back and envied her.  They were really unhappy and wanted the goose to leave the hen house, although she tried and tried.
So one day, the rooster went for a walk with the goose and told her that although he liked her and her stories, she didn't actually help the chickens by staying at the hen house, so they decided that she had to leave.
The goose was very disappointed, because she thought that she had found a home, although she was very pressured and she tried and tried, in the end she didn't make any friends.
But she had no other choice.
She left the hen house and flew free. She flew wherever she wanted, trying to find food and shelter and take care of herself every single day.
And you know what? Although every day was uncertain, she enjoyed every single moment. Because she was free. She didn't have to have in mind what the others thought of her. She was what she was. Herself!
What can the wild goose do in the hen house? The answer is nothing. Because a wild goose is a wild goose and the chickens are chickens....

Thursday, October 26, 2017

EFL TALKS Students' voices

I had taken part in 3 EFL Talks already, when somebody had the idea to organise another one, co-operating with TESOL Macedonia Thrace this time.
So, how could I not take part in such an initiative?
This time I was so very nervous, mostly because I was not alone in this.
The idea was to have my students talk with me. After all our subject was student's voices.
What I wanted to show, was that teachers are appreciated and how the role of the teacher should be.
So I have started with a small dialogue:

My students then started expressing their views. 
You can find Eleni Gkoura's article about the ideal teacher over here
Stergios Gkouras talked about his experiences with teachers:
"As a student of law, I would say that I have grown out of my school-self. I am much more confident and I have found something that I'm passionate about. That wouldn't have been possible though, if it weren't for some teachers.
They helped me overcome personal struggles and they showed me a career path that I never had thought of until that point. When a teacher helps you do things that you had never tried up until then. It gives you confidence, because you feel a sense of accomplishment and pride. And when you feel confident, it's easier for you to develop social skills and that's what happened with me. I had more courage to voice my opinion and stand up for somebody. And as I find out now, this is extremely helpful. 
You also start to see things from a more critical standpoint, as a good teacher's job is to always provide you with great counterpoints for everything you hear. 
Finally I believe that the greatest thing a teacher can be is a role model that can inspire you. I feel inspired by the way teachers conduct themselves, because when they are teaching and most importantly when they provide advice for our more personal problems, following the footsteps of our parents who did the same thing when we were younger"

Eleni Vasdoka continued with her thoughts about the annoying teacher:
"During my years as a student I have come across a variety of teachers. Some of them were really good, but some were very annoying. 
So what kind of a teacher is annoying?
  • The one who makes fun of his students. They belittle their students, they insult them and students feel very badly and lose their confidence.
  • The one who talks about his life. It's not possible to listen to the teacher talk about their lives all the time and not about the subject they re supposed to teach. 
  • The one who is very strict. We need to breathe and we are not a military camp.
  • The one who does all the talking himself in the classroom. It is very important  for us to discuss and express our opinion."
And then the "teacher" (myself) continued talking about the role of the teacher. You can find my whole post at the iTDi blog "Teacher - Learner - Supporter" over here.
One more article that we used was from the Wiziq blog, which you can find over here
All in all it was a wonderful experience, although I felt an inexplicable nervousness.

Preparing our EFL talk and drinking coffee

 Some students are part of my extended family so, it is always great to see them and find out what they are up to!
I would like to thank Rob Howard & EFL Talks and TESOL Macedonia Thrace for giving us the chance to present our thoughts.
Most of all I would like to thank my students for always being there for me and for taking part in every crazy thing I think of. I love you guys! Always!
You can see our 10-minute-EFLTalk below:


All the wonderful TESOL Macedonia Thrace colleagues who took part are here.
Until we meet again for a new educational adventure.