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Questions from Vilges Suola answered – after a fashion

The dog days set in and there’s nothing I like better than answering questions about ME – or alternatively ranting about all the injustice I feel should be righted.
Anyway, Vilges Suola posed 11 questions and bonus one for us what make our livings by teaching English as a foreign language. I use the words “make our livings” rather loosely – more like “grind out an existence”. So here goes:

1. Why do I blog?
I’ve always written stuff down – usually dreams if I have time and adequate vocabulary to express the dreams in words. Blogging as part of my job was just a sort of progression and everyone was doing it: being a trail-blazer is not my forte – it isn’t even something I’d like to do. I also found the relative safety of a sort of pseudonym-come-vague anonymity quite freeing.

2. What keeps you teaching every year?
Not sure if I will be, now that I have been relieved of my position, but what DID keep me teaching was probably a number of things – frustrated actress syndrome, a need to be needed and latterly the most incredible students. I was deeply fortunate in the students that came my way.

3. What aspect do you struggle with and how do you try to improve?
Mostly feeling like a fraud. I have no faith in my ability, my approach, my knowledge, my experience. Right up until the very last day I taught, I felt an anxiety that I wasn’t good enough for the student in front of me.

4. What is the ideal lesson like?
Small group of Business English upper-ints who are experienced, mature, motivated and funny.

5.What do you hope to be remembered for?
Apart from being the best bloody teacher anyone has ever had (yeah right), I’d like to be remembered as the teacher who gave students confidence and a voice.

6. Why did you become an ESOL teacher?
Right time, right place. It happened in South Africa during “the dark days of the struggle”. All available teachers were needed to help those whose education had been disrupted. I taught three groups – exam candidates, literacy classes and refugees from Africa’s badlands who needed to survive in South Africa.

7. What would you do with a paid semester off?
Well, I have that now – not only a semester, but I guess that’s about how long the money will last. I have not a single clue. This wasn’t planned and I have discovered that I am not very proactive or inspired just now. Can I get back to you?

8. What music do you playing while grading papers?
Fortunately, I haven’t had to grade for many many years and I prefer it that way. Theoretically however, I wouldn’t play any music, it’s too distracting.

9.Who has influenced your teaching?
My students – without them, I wouldn’t be a teacher.

10. If you could go anywhere in the world to teach, where would it be?
Like Vilges and Secret DoS before him, my living room, probably via my computer.

11. What’s your favourite resource?
My students again, but if they were a little reticent, or felt overwhelmed, I’d use Rory’s Cubes.

12. Pet Peeves
Oy. Photocopied exercise sheets – especially skew ones;

Managers with no qualifications, no experience and not much of anything else, telling me how to do my job;


I have much experience of all of these and the more I experienced them, the less tolerant of them I became.

Thanks for the purge opportunity, Vilges. I’ll get back to you on No. 7.


2 responses »

  1. I forgot to mention the actor bit in my post, but it applies to me too. In Athens among the teacher trainers I worked with were two former actors, two ex-semi-professional opera singers, one ex-dancer, and me, an ex-actor wannabe. The ‘profession’ seems to be a repository for frustrated hams.

  2. nice answers bro very interesting


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