Archive for April, 2011

More Embarrassing Moments – (Do not read if squeamish)

April 22, 2011

I’d better immortalise them in case they ever make good stories.

Yesterday, I swallowed a fish bone.  A big, uncomfortable, sharp one.  I spent the next hour drinking water, swallowing bread and poking the back of my throat with my finger until it proceeded to dislodge itself.  It stuck and drew a bit of blood.  Lovely.  Embarrassing since at 25, I should be able to chew my food by now. It was rather painful and nearly had me crying.

Today, I was walking along the street and a fly flew in my eye and really stung.  Not so embarrassing as “Why do these things keep happening to me?”  I think its corpse has just come out my eye, in the form of a black ball.


Like: my Facebook note.

April 21, 2011

Do you think one day, we can simply have conversations like this:

“I think I’ll have a cup of tea. Do want one?”


“I’ve just had my hair done. What do you think?”


“Ive booked my holiday for June”


“The Government are losers.”


Because every time I see a blog I like now, I don’t want to go to all the effort of leaving a comment. I just want to “Like” everything. Facebook has made me even lazier.

Belated Birthday – 14.01.2011

April 20, 2011

I never did show off my birthday presents.  I think at the time, I had no batteries for my camera.  As well as showing off my gifts, this post serves as an aide-memoire, just like the Christmas post, because every Christmas and birthday has a nasty habit of morphing into one in my memory, and I really want to preserve the memories on this blog.  Above, you see my new Radley bag.  Those among you who are more observant than me will remember that I got a Radley purse for Christmas (pictured below), so from time to time, I leave the house feeling like a lady (though not the Emily Howard sort!) with a proper leather bag and purse.

The pink background on these pictures is the little fabric bag that the Radley handbag came in.  Thank you, Mum and Dad, for these wonderful things!  One day, I’ll be able to afford nice things myself, but until then, presents of this sort are welcome!  🙂

And to complete the leather purse and bag set, I naturally need something leather for my keys, with an apt reminder of where I should lose my keys (ie not down a lift shaft!).

A lovely, sparkly bangle from my sister.

My new best friend, Milky the Cow.  If you squeeze her tum, she moos.  From Mr Flykites.

From the man who stole my heart, he gave it back to me with a lady bird!

And he gave me a witch.  Perhaps he could see the ressemblance!

Flykites’ Sister Blog

April 19, 2011

I’m pleased to announce that my more artsy blog is now launched!

Do check out Ordinary Hepburn.  Don’t worry, this blog is still alive and well, and I will continue to post my thoughts and reflections here.  Ordinary is more for my more artistic reflections.

New Directions

April 17, 2011

I’m going to start a couple of new blogs for different reasons.  This blog is like my on-line journal/journey, with my inner thoughts, feelings and photos of my life.

I will start one relating specifically to teaching for my advanced students with topics, tips, activities etc.

My other one is going to be a rather more indulgent scrapbook through which I will channel my other creative energies that have been rather more neglected since the advent of my teaching career.  This blog will serve as an on-line inspiration folder.  It’s audience is intended to be those Ordinary Hepburns I described in an earlier post, girls like me who love pretty things, though seldom get the time to be a true fashionista (let’s face it, who’s got the time?).  This blog will acknowledge the private fantasy world from our childhood that we still regress to from time to time.  I will post photos of my own creations and hopefully discover new directions for my jewellery and paintings as we go.  I’ll try to review things I like and make some good comments on things I see and like.   I know it seems it a bit muddled at the moment, but it’s essentially following in the direction of certain blogs I already read and admire.  It will evolve as time goes by as is to be expected.  Through this, I am getting in touch my artistic side.  I’m not the only TEFL blogger to start up somewhere new.  I know one other TEFL blogger who has started a lovely blog about being a dad.  Another of my favourite bloggers advised me that it is indeed through immersing ourselves in “other things” that we get to be better at our profession.  So it is important to make time fo our personal hobbies and interests.

I look forward to launching these blogs and I hope some of you may read them too (even the men!  I’m not excluding men by writing for Ordinary Hepburns).


April 16, 2011

Now I know there hasn’t been much blogging from my end, and I know how you’re all missing my posts (please read self-depricating sarcasm in that sentence! )

Well, having been accused of verging on “tefl-bore” by family, I don’t want to bore you all with TEFL.  Which is ironic, since I daresay, if you’re reading this, you are a teacher.  Not that I want to sound bitter.  I completely agree that I must seem boring to some.  Even to myself at times.  I love TEFL, the sector.  I don’t always love the job, but then, no-one likes things they HAVE to do every day.  Unless it’s eating or sleeping.  And it is mildly addictive.  It’s just that having to plan everyday for a year has taken its toll.  I officially am out of good ideas and tired.  And this week is meant to be a rest for me.  So I don’t really want to talk about my job too much*.

Thanks for understanding.

*I see that there are many teachers who are constantly animated by their job.  Everyday.  Every holiday.  Each to their own, I suppose.  But do they ever just want to take their foot off the accelerator and enjoy the view for a while?


April 9, 2011

It’s interesting to see people’s thoughts on Twitter.  Evidently, many people are positive about the use of Twitter as a networking tool to get the latest information and keep up with hot topics and debates as well as to forge useful relationships with others in the same profession.

I use Twitter as my “virtual staffroom”* among other things, and it’s great for having discovered what’s hot and what’s not in the world of ELT.  As a new teacher, I have learned about such things as Dogme as a result of Twitter.  The blogs I now subscribe to, I was first introduced to by Twitter.  I have about eighty followers, most of whom are teachers.  Everyone seems very kind and giving and they offer a lot of support, whether directly or indirectly.

I go through phases of commenting and discussing on Twitter, but I am primarily a lurker.  I can happily switch off from Twitter for a week or two.  I opt in and out.  I don’t read everything and I don’t click on every link.  I don’t join in with every ELT Chat and I don’t follow every blog.  I have a free and easy relationship with Twitter, and I don’t feel any obligation to give it any more time than I do.  I can understand why many do, those who are far more “hot” than me.

I am not friends with everyone, a problem which bothers me in my real world as well as my virtual world, but you know what?  I actually find this fact rather liberating.

I think what I’m trying to say is that I cheat.  A lot.  I very rarely read more of a reference book than I really need.  I read the odd chapter here and there.  If I read every book in the world that I ought to, there wouldn’t be any time to eat or sleep or talk to people or other necessities.  So I don’t.  And I don’t read everything on Twitter that my PLN recommends.  And you know what?  That’s fine.  We are always going to miss out on something good, just like we do in conferences.  We just have to do the best we can with what little we tune into and relax.

That’s my opinion, anyway.


*Guido Europeaantje‘s term for using Twitter for professional development.  It’s all his fault!  😉

Transition Shock

April 5, 2011

From Wikipedia.  Very amused by this.

Transition shock

Culture shock is a subcategory of a more universal construct called transition shock. Transition shock is a state of loss and disorientation predicated by a change in one’s familiar environment which requires adjustment. There are many symptoms of transition shock, some which include:

  • excessive concern over cleanliness and health SORT OF BECOME A MORE FUSSY EATER AS I DON’T WANT TO GET SICK
  • feelings of helplessness and withdrawal  HAVE DEFO HAD THIS A FEW TIMES
  • irritability  SOMETIMES AGAIN
  • desire for home and old friends DESIRE FOR HOME YES YES YES
  • physiological stress reactions DUNNO.  SORE SHOULDERS COULD THIS BE?
  • homesickness YES YES YES
  • withdrawal AT FIRST, YES.  NOT SO MUCH NOW.
  • getting “stuck” on one thing PROBABLY.  MUM?
  • excessive sleep YES YES YES
  • compulsive eating/drinking/weight gain COMPULSIVE EATING (COZ IT COMBATS BOREDOM)
  • stereotyping host nationals 100%!
  • hostility towards host nationals YES QUITE A LOT OF THE TIME

Oh how comforting to be able to put a label on my inneptness at being sociable!  though on reflection, I don’t get all of these any more, so maybe I’m moving out of the “Negotiation Phase” into the “Adjustment Phase”.  These phases are of five, the first being “Honeymoon Phase” which is possible to skip.  I did skip this phase with Cadiz.  I’ve never felt romantic.  I didn’t skip it in France.  Looks like I’m going to have to make an effort, because the people like me tend to have problems on reintegration to their home country.  I don’t want to be an “adoptor” of the Spanish culture, but I most certainly am a “rejector” which doesn’t bode well.  I hope to adapt and become a “Cosmopolitan”.

For all information I have referred to, check out good old Wikipedia.




April 2, 2011

It’s been a few weeks since my last post, and I know I was very emotional about the whole teaching thing.  Since my last post, I am still feeling the stress and have been keeping away from commenting on blogs and twitter because I felt that reading about what I should be as a teacher was adding immense pressure to that which I already feel.

I went to the TESOL Spain Conference in Madrid a few weeks ago.  It was a great weekend and I found it very interesting.  I came back with a cold and didn’t feel much like writing.  I made copious notes and I have to prepare a presentation about it.  20 minutes to talk about .  The irony is that although I “present” for 4 or 5 hours every day, I find myself daunted by the prospect of talking for 20 minutes in front of my colleagues and boss.  I’ve no idea what I’m supposed to say!  I guess I’ll talk about my ideas and try to get some intereactive whiteboard games from the Internet to show my colleagues what is available.  I’ve tried getting my head around ebeam without much success other than the basic whiteboard functions.  I spend about 20 minutes a week messing with it but I have no idea how to do basic functions like hide and reveal.  I’ve looked at the “Help” section, but it’s not all that helpful.

I’ll use this blog as a sound board to express what I’m thinking about each and every talk I went to, and perhaps that will help my thoughts come together.

Technology is not a strong point of mine this year.  I have a netbook, which makes any resource design near impossible, since it TINY and I have to scroll a lot, which is tiring.  Plus I have Microsoft Works, not nearly as useful as its cousin, Microsoft Office.  I have no printer here in Spain, only the work printer.  In work there is one computer for six teachers apart from the one that is permanently attached to the ebeam.  If I do any printing, it is squeezed into my breaks or the compulsory 30 mins before class starts.  The centre is open three mornings a week, but since I work evenings, and I’m half an hour’s walk away, forgive me for not being devoted enough to make that extra journey every day.  So any research is done during stolen moments when my tutees don’t turn up for their half hour Friday tutorial.

Moan over.  I just hope those teachers on my circuit who spend lots of time making materials and using technology will understand that it’s not always easy compared to Post-it notes and paper and pens.