Friday, September 5, 2014


I've been nominated by most of my FB friends to share the 10 books I like. 
Although I have listed the books on Facebook, I thought why not "analyze" them a bit more on my blog?
Here we go!

1. The day of the triffids - John Wyndham (I can read this one again and again)

I had to read this book ages ago, when I took the CPE exam as a student! I got so enthusiastic about this book, I just love destruction, panic among people, not knowing what to do!!!
I also bought the dvd of the first triffid movie !!
There is also a newer version.
When I took the actual exam I remember I was telling the examiner everything about the books and the first movie (there wasn't a new version back then), comparing the two, explaining to her that was happening in the photos she showed me!! She was even keeping notes!!! Yes I passed with A exceptional btw!

2. The night of the triffids - Simon Clark (Sequel of the first one by another author)

The Triffid frenzy again!!! I found out that Simon Clark was inspired 50 years after the first book was published and wrote the sequel!! 

3. Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury (you can all see I am a sci fi fun right?)

I found out about this one in a coursebook!!! the book was about different kinds of books and this was in the sci fi section!! I loved it!!!!! Knowledge can never die!!

4. Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury (oh yes!!)

Ray Bradbury was also mentioned in a German coursebook, talking about future life and there was even an abstract translated in German, about a house functioning on its own!!! I was thrilled with this one!

5. Minority Report - Philip K. Dick (read the book first!)

I made the mistake of watching the movie first!!! I liked the book, but I was expecting to see more of the movie plot... Next time the other way around!

6. 1984 - George Orwell (classic)

Big brother is watching us.... Nothing more....

7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy - Douglas Adams ( a GOOD laugh!!)

The hilarious space travels of Artur Dent and all the weird creatures he is meeting!! ( I got this fron Craig Wherlock!!THX btw!!)

8. It -Stephen King (One of the best I have ever read honestly!)

1138 pages!!!! After this I have never trusted clowns!!! A wonderful book! A wonderful movie!! No words...

9. The Shining - Stephen King (chills!!!)

Horrifying, but yet, you can't put it down!!! "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" and
“Sometimes human places, create inhuman monsters.” 
Movie is FANTASTIC as well... one the of the best Jack Nicholson was in! 

 10. Warm Bodies - Isaac Marion (I just loooooove the zombie... he is adorable!! Watch the movie as well!!!)
I watched the movie first... I loved the zombie!!! I was like "he is sooooooo cuuuute" the whole time!! I saw the book in my student's Eleni house, I borrowed it! I read it in one night!! No difference with the movie, it was like reading the script! But the zombie was still cute!!!

Anyway, there are more books that I have loved, but I was supposed to mention only 10

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

#30 Goals EDU: Engage parents

The school year is beginning in a while and who can be our best "allies" than the parents of our students.
Well... Parents sometimes bring us in a difficult position asking for things that cannot be done. I don't think that they do it on purpose, though, they just want what is best for their kids and sometimes they are misinformed.

Part of our job is to help them understand the needs of their children. What better way is there than to involve them in the learning process of their children!!
Here are some things I have thought and could make the difference:

  • Organize an Open Parent seminar day in the beginning of the year.  Inform parents how you work, what your goals are, answer their questions, get to know them,  listen to what they have to say.
  • How about an Open Observation day? This can be done either in the middle of the school year or on an extra day. Parents take part in the lessons with their children. Or children prepare projects and present them in front of their parents
  • Parents classes. Who says adults can't learn too? Maybe they are interested in learning a foreign language themselves? It is a great way to see how they function as learners.
  • Parent-children movie night. On weekends. Films without subtitles. You can have students answer questionnaires or do projects on the movie as well. Parents can choose the films, bring food maybe?
  • Christmas and End-of-the Year Events. Children perform a play or sketches.  Parents can help with:

  1. Food preparation
  2. Rehearsals 
  3. Costumes
  4. Music
  5. Organize a small performance themselves?

All in all, you can create relationships with parents. After all, they are the ones who know our students best!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

#30GoalsEDU: Build relationships with them

Pecha Kucha ITDi from Theodora Pap

Working for the ITDi Pecha Kuch I had this particular theme in mind: Relationships with students.
I have had the luck not to work in classes with a large number of students. This means that I get to bond with them more easily, and since we spend a lot of time together, they seem to trust me.
I really love this kind of relationship, because I don't really see myself only as a "teacher".
I mean, yes, I do have a job to actually teach them a language, but I am always there if they have a problem or if they want to share something that made them happy.
I believe in having fun during a lesson. I don't like disciplined kids like soldiers.
Noise is part of the game, especially if it is creative noise.
I believe in movement, in projects, in trips out of the classroom, in being there for them like a parent, like a friend.
I don't like exams. I work towards exams because unfortunately this is the system in Greece. Kids learn a language to take "an exam". This is bothering me...
You should learn to be able to use the language, not in order to pass an exam.
Sometimes parents are not happy with what I am doing. They need the "BOOK". They need the "EXAM". If their kids do not pass the "EXAM" it is always the teacher's fault....
I've had bad relationships with both parents and school owners because of that. 
And I am really sad to see that the kids do not remember the language after a couple of years they have passed the "EXAM" and some parents not talk to me because of the "EXAM" ( no matter if I have managed to get the kids to be interested in the language and actually use it... This is irrelevant)

So over the years, I have had students passing or failing exams, using or not using the language they learned, students that became teachers themselves, students who live abroad....
What I have gained? I have gained new friends and family. I have gained people who remember me as someone being there for them, someone who tried to make them learn something beyond grammar.

I am so happy that some of these kids (who may be adults now) still send me a message to say hi and that I can still see how they are doing in life.

Building relationships with people is what counts in our profession

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer adventures: Part 9: Pecha

What can I say??? I am a person who loves challenge!!!
No I don't think I am good at it, but I never say no to something that makes me get our of my comfort zone!!!

Somebody told me this morning: "Why do you always get into situations that makes you feel desperate?"

I wouldn't call it "desperate" myself.... I would call it something to get me on my toes and make me feel alive.
When I was preparing for my first Pecha Kucha for the TESOL Macedonia-Thrace back in March, I told to myself, if I can do that, I can do everything!!!
And it seems that there are a lot of people sharing my views or else we wouldn't  have had this wonderful session going today!!!

Seven wonderful people and myself talked about our "Fly - high" moments in our professional life.
Wonderful presentations that had everything ... poems, passion and lots and lots of pictures!!

I didn't only have the chance to be a speaker in such a wonderful event, but also be behind the scenes helping everybody to change the slides in time.
I can't say I did a good job, I did miss seconds and slides but everyone was really patient with me (sorry guys if I made you nervous)

What I have to say is that I am really impressed! We managed to organize something so big and actually make it work, no matter what country or time zone we were!! Chuck was moderating from Japan, Jase from the States, I was changing slides from Greece and people were presenting from Boston, from Egypt, Tunisia,  Mexico and Belarus and Athens!!!!

And I realize that here in Greece we don't have this feeling of sharing and co-operation.... when I used to work at language schools, everybody was so secretive about their work, they didn't want their colleagues "steal" their work, they didn't even help each other.... (this is a personal complaint from my experiences so I don't know if it applies to everybody in my country - as I get involved in conferences and presentations, I meet more and more people who actually want to share)

Anyway, a big thank you to ITDi and WizIQ and everybody who helped organize this wonderful summer MOOC!
I was honored and glad to be part of this. You people got me out of my SAD this year I owe it to you!
Let's do it again!!!

You can find our Pecha Kucha over here

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Summer adventures: Part 8: Translating

This is not my day job, but from time to time I do occupy myself with translations if it is an interesting subject.
The bad thing is that I get over motivated and I want to finish everything yesterday!!!

I remember when I was working on some glossaries for Cambridge University press, a couple of years ago, I slept only for 2-3 hours to finish this project earlier than the scheduled deadline.
These were coursebooks glossaries from English to German back then.

Now I am working on something much more interesting. I have had the luck to co-operate with a big private fitness instructor school in my hometown and I am translating texts about fitness, exercises, anatomy, psychology, goal setting and I just LOVE them! I keep looking at pictures of anatomy maps and videos on exercises! The thing is, I get so tired, as if I were performing the tasks myself!

Translating is NOT an easy job as people might think. Yes, you work on your own pace, but you have to be concentrated,  be careful when editing and be discrete. That's why it is important not to show your work around, when you are asked to.

Anyway, that's why I am not that much around lately!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Summer adventures: Part 7 Business Englishing

This summer I have had the luck of taking part in ITDi's Business English course with Vicki Holett, which I found really interesting. I have learned so many things and it helped me overcome my fear... So far I had never taken up students who needed English for their job, for fear not being able to teach them what they need.
In this course we have covered:
  • Key ways in which Business English differs from teaching General English and skills we need
  • Limitations and benefits of different types of lesson teaching, methods and techniques (like CLIL, PBL etc)
  • How to make presentations, overcoming challenges
  • Misunderstandings, communication and BELF ( Business English as Lingua Franca)

 All the online sessions were really interesting and the discussion on the chat - box very stimulating.
I have to say that I don't take part in online discussions that easily, I prefer to sit back and listen and read what the teacher and the participants have to say and try to understand on my own pace.

As a final assessment, we had to make a power-point presentation of a Study Case:

  • Identify our students and their needs
  • Choose the correct methods for our students
  • Design the key elements of the course
It was a wonderful experience! A big thank you to Vicki Holett, Steven Herder, Barbara Sakamoto and everybody at ITDi. Looking forward to the next course

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summer adventures: Part 6: Holidaying

Yes, most people are going on holiday this time of the year.
We decided to do something different and go to the mountains instead of the crowded beaches for a few days!
Although I was a bit hesitant at first, I did not regret it, although it was a 3,5 hour drive to get there!
And we got lost following Google maps!!!
When we got there, the view was breathtaking! the hotel was build in small houses which you could not tell apart from the rest of the village!
We went up on the mountain, visited the wonderful villages over there and swam in the river (ice cold!!! Don't even attempt to do that id you are not used to freezing water!!)

This is from a village called Big Papigo

And this is me attempting to get into the water - freezingggggg
Consider this as a natural river pool!

And the wonderful river.... (Voidomatis)

Another amazing thing that happened is that I got to see Vicky again - Went down to Ioannina!!!

On our way back there were A LOT of tunnels...
I have to say that I really LOVED the mountains, it was definitely worth it .
Till the next holiday!!!