A Confession, an Apology and Bright Shiny Objects

Teaching focus

Bright Shiny Objects (BSO):  Any new, interesting, intriguing, colourful idea, strategy or possibility. Designed to excite, stimulate, side-track, deviate and beguile. Guaranteed to deflect focus. Long before it was diagnosed many of my students labelled me ADHD. I would argue that I was just passionate. As it turns out I am both and I have fallen into the trap of BSOs with this blog. Time to get back on track. … Read More

What my Naughty Dog taught me about Students.

Building relationships with students

I have a very naughty dog. He was adopted from the SPCA in Singapore when I was teaching there and was about 2 years old at the time. For the first few days he was quite tentative and unsure of me, but that did not last long. By the end of the first week he would race gleefully to the door to meet me when I got home in the … Read More

For Teachers -The Times They Are A Changin.

Teachers and change

Why teachers didn’t get a mention in Bob Dylan’s 1964 hit song is a mystery to me. Writers, parents and politicians are mentioned and of course they are important, but surely great teachers are significant instruments of change. That teaching as a profession has changed in the decades since the tumultuous 60s is undeniable. Like all change, some has been good, some not so much. Some change even seems contradictory. … Read More

Why Do Passionate People Teach?

Passionate English teachers

There are a stack of different reasons why people go into teaching, especially teaching English. Between 1950 and 1978 in Australia, Secondary Teaching was one of the few things you could get government funding for to go to University. It was competitive. You sat for the studentship exam and if you scored well enough the government paid for your studies. In exchange you agreed to teach for three years  in government … Read More

Why Teach English?

Teaching Literature

The second greatest surprise of my life came when I realised that I loved teaching teenagers. Seriously, I was 35 years old and had spent the previous 20 years actively avoiding it. Where I grew up teaching and nursing were the only two options for clever, nice girls and I was determined not to be one of them. I didn’t have any clear idea of what I wanted to do … Read More

Where Are They Now?

Teaching is for the long-term

One of my earliest Facebook memories was receiving a friend request from a past student. A wonderful message followed thanking me for being the teacher I was. I won’t brag and go into details, but we don’t get this feedback often and when it comes it is treasured. It helps so much when we are beginning to doubt we are making a difference. And we all feel that from time … Read More

Why Burnout is not the End.

Avoid teacher burnout.

Day 4 of the challenge and we are asked to write a story post. Stories are the lifeblood of English teachers so there was not a shortage of possibilities. Once again I was tempted to take the easy road and talk about one of the many magic moments that I experienced over the 25+ years of my teaching career. There are many. However there is a story that may resonate … Read More

Sharing is Easier with Chrome.

Chrome for collaboration

Here I am again. This 3rd post in the challenge is to be a review post. What to review posed a challenge in itself. My first thought was to review school based PD offerings but that needs a much fuller treatment than I can do today. I have been reading and researching a fair bit about PD’s and plan to write about it in more detail at a later date. … Read More