Saturday, February 28, 2015

Finding balance (paragraph blogging)

Two weeks have passed since my last post.... And I have been working 12 hours a day ever since....
Including weekends. Some people will say ok, no problem, you are a workaholic anyway so you live for these things. And the truth is ... YES I do live for these things. I do love creating things. I do love learning. I could never be away from my students and my students keep making me proud, so I am glad I did not give up on them.
The other side of the truth is though, that nobody could work so much every single day without a real break. Eventually you will break down at some point. And this is bad... for you, for your employer, for your students, for your family.
Doing what I do right now, I have sacrificed a lot of things, which are important to me.
I stopped going to the gym every day. There are days that I can go and I plan to go and I am thinking about it all day, but when the time comes (like yesterday)  I feel so tired that I just stay home and sleep.
I don't see my kid so much... and I miss him and he misses me as well, although when I am around he prefers to be in his room. I know that he feels secure when I am at home though....
I don't do housework any more, which is really good, by the way!!! I think that this has made the family realize that they too have to do something around at home, appreciating what I have been doing for them all these years.
One thing I have noticed, though... I am really calm. It is the first time in years that I feel this way.
I know that I have a lot to do to find balance in my life again, but I am working on it.
I will keep planning and I will keep dreaming....
To be continued....

Sunday, February 15, 2015

#30goals Challenge: Support a movement


a. The act or an instance of moving; a change in place or position.
b. A particular manner of moving.
2. A change in the location of troops, ships, or aircraft for tactical or strategic purposes.
a. A series of actions and events taking place over a period of time and working to foster a principle or policy: a movement toward world peace.
b. An organized effort by supporters of a common goal: a leader of the labor movement.
4. A tendency or trend: a movement toward larger kitchens.
5. A change in the market price of a security or commodity.
a. An evacuation of the bowels.
b. The matter so evacuated.
7. The suggestion or illusion of motion in a painting, sculpture, or design.
8. The progression of events in the development of a literary plot.
9. The rhythmical or metrical structure of a poetic composition.
10. Music A self-contained section of an extended composition.
11. Linguistics In generative grammar, a transformation in which a constituent in one part of a syntactic structure is copied or displaced into a different location, creating a new structure.
12. A mechanism, such as the works of a watch, that produces or transmits motion.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Cycle 6 of the #30Goals Movement has finally started and our first title is "Support a movement" .
To be honest, I don't only support one movement. For me the word "movement", as I understand it, is to be part of a group. Do work with other people towards a Goal.

  • The first Team that I support with all my heart is of course the #30Goals. Shelly has given me an hundreds of educators the inspiration to go further, to think deeper, to self-critique, to communicate, to experiment, to recognize our successes and failures, to reflect do something more than traditional teaching.  A chance for new projects. A chance to get better as educators and as people.

  • iTDi is the next big family I belong to. Through the countless blog posts, courses, seminars and constant support, I have learned to evolve, to try out new things. And I know that there will always be someone to listen to me and help me with any problems I face or just be happy for me.

  • Wiziq is not just a platform you can use for online lessons. Behind this there are some wonderful people you can count on. People who can share their knowledge whenever you need it. Webinars that can keep you going and offer you knowledge and support and also a wonderful blog with a lot of information on anything.
  • TESOL Macedonia Thrace and TESOL Greece. Conventions, seminars,  spending time with friends and people with the same interests. Learning and having a great time at the same time. Connect.

  • My Gym. I know that some people will think that this is not exactly a movement. Well, it is. Throughout these past years, I have learned that taking care of your body is equally important as taking care of your mind. Working in a team makes you feel important, again communicate, share your goals and worries, test yourself, find your limits, unwind. For me this too is a way of personal development.
Supporting a movement for me, has to do with CONNECTION, COMMUNICATION and COMMITMENT.

Believe in yourself (paragraph blogging)

I saw this new blogging trend on Anna's, Kate's and Sandy's blog and I thought I should give it a try.
First of all I never write long posts and secondly I never have time to write so much anymore. So this is a good way of expressing my feelings and my thoughts without actually worrying if the post is long enough.
Well, my work life is changing from tomorrow. After 7 years of freelance, I am beginning a new chapter working for an educational company.  Although what I am going to be doing is not that strange to me, it is different from just teaching and I do have my doubts if I am going to make it.
Of course the people who are hiring me must have seen something in me and they probably think I could complete the tasks they have in mind, but I have to say that I am a little hesitant for my new beginning. Hesitant but also excited at the same time.
What is annoying though, is that people in my surroundings are very skeptical on what I have decided, they raise a lot of doubts on how I am going to make it go, working at the office, then rush off to my private classes, to the gym and also complete my "household chores".
And to be honest I don't really know how I am going to make it, either. But I think I will, one step at a time. And sometimes you need people around you to just be there for you and support your decisions and not make you feel bad that you have to sacrifice other things.
Maybe I am overconfident about myself, I don't know, but loving your job and not feeling guilty to spend time creating stuff is not actually a crime. I guess that most people in the blog-o-shpere are doing exactly the same thing. And "Work-o-holic" is not actually a bad word is it?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Exercise and the brain

Physical exercise is not only important for your body's health- it also helps your brain stay sharp. Your brain is no different than rest of the muscles in your body--you either use it or you lose it. You utilize the gym to stimulate the growth of muscle cells, just as you use a brain fitness program to increase connections in your brain. The benefits of physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise, have positive effects on brain function on multiple fronts, ranging from the molecular to behavioral level. According to a study done by the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia, even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. Exercise can stimulate the brain plasticity by stimulating growth of new connections between cells in a wide array of important cortical areas of the brain. Recent research from UCLA demonstrated that exercise increased growth factors in the brain- making it easier for the brain to grow new neuronal connections.
In general, anything that is good for your heart is great for your brain.
  • Aerobic exercise is great for body and brain: not only does it improve brain function, but it also acts as a "first aid kit" on damaged brain cells.
  • Exercising in the morning before going to school/work not only spikes brain activity and prepares you for mental stresses for the rest of the day, but also produces increases retention of new information, and better reaction to complex situations.
  • When looking to change up your work out, look for an activity that incorporates coordination along with cardiovascular exercise (such as a functional but playful exercise routine).
  • Circuit work outs or high intensity interval training workouts (H.I.I.T) can both spike your heart rate, but also constantly redirect your attention.
  • Hitting a wall or mentally exhausted? Try rebooting with a few jumping jacks for your brain improvement exercises.
Exercise directly impacts the behavior and development of the brain. “It is likely that the effects of physical activity on cognition would be particularly important in the highly plastic developing brains of youth,” according to a 2010 essay penned by Charles Basch of Columbia University. He summarized how exercise may affect executive functioning:
1)    Increased oxygen flow to the brain
2)    Increased brain neurotransmitters
“[Increased] brain-derived neurotrophins that support neuronal differentiation and survival in the developing brain.” Neurotrophins assure the survival of neurons in areas responsible for learning, memory, and higher thinking.

 Mr. Nick Maragkos has been involved in the fitness industry, over the past 15 years, as a personal trainer and a group fitness trainer. He is a graduate from Central YMCA in Leeds England and an approved triathlon coach by the British Triathlon Association and has been working in some of the biggest gyms of Great Britain, in Leeds, as a manager and a fitness specialist. Through his collaboration with Les Mills International and Les Mills Hellas, he has been evolved into an advanced instructor, a trainee trainer and a specialist coach in the group fitness programs of the company such as Bodypump, CX, RPM, Bodycombat, and Grit. Over the last 5 years and after his return to Greece, he is collaborating with gyms in the city of Thessaloniki as a group fitness instructor and a personal trainer through his company, Personal Experience.

Facebook: PersonalExperience

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Yes, kids have to learn vocabulary. Sometimes you don't need much technology to keep them interested.
Sharing what my little students have done to learn the subjects in German.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

One word for 2015 #OneWord

Although I have already written my New Year's Resolutions for 2015 or better Small Goals, I read Vicky Loras' post and I got jealous!
It seems there is a new "trend" or "Challenge" in the Blog-o-sphere and teachers around the world express the word which will define them in 2015.

Well, I guess my word will be #MOVE.

Moving on to new possibilities to my teaching. This means mostly that I will have to explore ways to keep teaching, not necessarily face to face. I think I can set up an online business someday, somehow, as long as I can find my niche. This can happen if you have the right connections in my opinion and I am working my way towards that.

Move away from negative people. There are people who judge you no matter what you do, right or wrong. And I really don't mind if somebody tells me that I am doing something wrong. What I really hate is when they always find you at fault. Or when I have done something without noticing and people stop talking to me and I don't know why.

Move off to a new territory. And this is my new "moving project". Teaching through moving. I have a lot ideas for this, I really don't know if I can make it in 2015, nut I'll keep trying!

Move towards a healthy lifestyle. Not live to work but work to live. No more stress. Healthy nutrition and exercise (something that has been been left behind these last months)

Be moved by real people. And when I say real, I don't mean the internet, I mean not fake (true with their feelings)

Move and keep spinning!!! 

And no matter what,  keep moving and have some FUN!!!

PS. A bit of vocabulary practice:
  • move on: stop one thing and start another
  • move in: move to a new house
  • move away: leave
  • move out: leave your home
  • move over: move to the side
  • move towards:  tend to favor a particular conclusion.
  • be moved:  to stir the emotions:

Saturday, January 3, 2015

30 Small Goals...

This year I am going to write 30 small New year's resolutions (small goals to be more exact).
They will not be strictly professional though:

1. Find my niche ( not necessarily do only that though)
2.  Work towards an online lesson business
3. Find online students
4. Use TED talk lessons
5. Learn how to use Edmodo
6. Learn how to use Wiziq
7. Learn how to make a PayPal account
8. Work on my "keep on moving" prezo (I really don't know if we can make it this year, but still I have to try)
9. Find a "theme" for an online presentation
10. Work on my teaching skills as a "young learners" teacher (I have rarely worked with small children and although I have lots of materials on teens and adults, I have to find more on the young ones)
11. Read more methodology - pedagogy and German books
12.Teach a class again (at least one hour! I miss being in a classroom)
13. Brush up my Spanish
14. Learn a new language (Turkish or Russian preferably)
15. Design new lessons and activities
16. Read more literature with my students (at least an excerpt once a month)
17. The same goes with songs and music, use at least one song or music piece - activity
18. Experiment on a Flipped classroom
19. Try to teach something new, for example presentation techniques or activities development etc
20. Work on a presentation in German (not necessarily present it...)
21. Learn how to cook. Experiment on one new dish once a month
22. Spend one day a month offline
23. one hour without looking at my phone every day
24. Spend time with my son doing something alone together at least once a week
25. Take up running
26. Take part in the next marathon (goal is at 10km but if I don't have time to train, 5 is ok too -5km in 30 mins tops)
27. Instruct a spinning class at least one time ( I miss this so much)
28. Go to the gym 5 -6 days a week (never miss practice)
29. Start eating healthy (5 small meals a day, no sweets, no alcohol, less bread, more fruit and veggies, at least the ones I can eat - allergies) and avoid allergic attacks
30. Organize a charity event (I hope this works)