Weekly Photo Challenge: A (Satur)day in My Life

I usually enter the weekly photo challenge via my personal blog, but after recording a day in my life, it was clear — once again — that there is a fine line between personal and “professional”. I invite any of you ELT photographers to join in on the fun. :)

I had a surprisingly geeky good time — maybe not that surprising to those who know me– diving into the new textbook of the semester. I read about superheroes and what makes a regular person a hero, and figured out ways to modify the material to make it more relevant to our teacher-trainees. A big thanks to @bora_maren for generously — and randomly — giving me a sample last semester.

Truly enjoying this textbook. First textbook use in 4 years. Blog report to come.
Truly enjoying this textbook. First textbook I use in 4 years. Blog report to come.

It was then time to unveil the results of our #KELTchat poll for the chat Sunday night. Although most of the KELTchat crew was either presenting at (Mike Griffin, John Pfordresher and Alex Walsh) or attending the KOTESOL Seoul Conference, they were ready to spread the news and retweet at the sign of the hashtag – congratulations to Anne Hendler for being the quickest RT draw in town — or Seoul.

The last task of today was reading and giving feedback on the teacher-trainees’ reflections on giving and receiving feedback; yes, quite meta. They wrote this after they did their short experiential lessons called “The Teaching Game”, where teachers teach a 5 minute lesson on anything other than language (i.e.: origami, dance moves, magic tricks…). I learned a lot about how they processed the experience.

Teacher-trainees reflecting on the feedback process, and me giving them feedback on their feedback experience. #meta
Teacher-trainees reflecting on the feedback process, and me giving them feedback on their feedback experience. #meta

What will tomorrow bring? I’m looking forward to tackling this challenge again this week.

A Year in the Life of a Community

If you had told me a year ago that going to the KOTESOL International Conference was going to change my life, I never would have believed you. But seeing one presentation did just that.

Following the recommendation of @michaelegriffin – then only known as Michael Griffin – I attended Chuck Sandy‘s 10am Sunday presentation. He spoke of the value of creating communities: if you don’t have one, create one. At the end of the presentation, he talked about one such community of teachers he helped create called International Teacher Development Institute (iTDi).

The talk was inspiring in so many ways, but there was a 20 second soundbite that pushed me in a very important direction.

“Who’s on Twitter? Get yourself on Twitter!

Who’s on Facebook?

Facebook works. Twitter’s better.”

So I signed up.*

Now, a year later, part of my community is linked to iTDi. This past weekend at JALT2012, I had the great pleasure of meeting some of the iTDi faces that were up on Chuck’s powerpoint. Here are a three of these inspiring teachers:

Barbara Sakamoto, Yitzha Sarwono, & Marco Brazil

They are no longer pictures on a screen. Yitzha is my Instagram buddy, a constant source of light on Twitter, and now a friend I am fortunate enough to have had dinner with. Barbara, who inspires us via her own online community, Teaching Village, is someone I have exchanged thoughts and smiles with. Meeting Marco at JALT was an infusion of joy. I am very happy to now be connected to him. If I hadn’t seen Chuck’s presentation, I doubt I would have made my journey to JALT, which this video shows was very much worth it.

A year has passed since that fateful conference day, and now it’s our turn to present about a community we created on Twitter: KELTchat. I look forward to standing with Alex Grevett, Alex Walsh, Michael Griffin and Anne Hendler as we talk about how and why we came to be.

I am incredibly grateful for the communities I am a member of thanks to that inspiring October day.

Thank you Chuck. :)

*A little known fact: I had been on Twitter for two years, apparently dropping my blog posts into the abyss before I met Chuck. Until that day, I had no idea how powerful/magical Twitter really was.

Related posts:

#JALT2012 Journey: Meeting @kevchanwow

When @michaelegriffin and I met at the Incheon International Airport, we knew we were in for an adventure. The adventure began like this…

Mr. Stein’s Pick Up Service – Hatless

@kevchanwow, with “Michael and Josette” typed in 16 point font on his iPad, greets us at Arrivals. Hugs of #gratitude and #excitement. Thoughts in my mind, “Is this really happening?” We rush off to catch the train…

where long overdue face-to-face conversations ensue over refreshing beverages @kevchanwow was so generous to bring for us. We arrive at his lovely home, stars twinkling in the Nara sky. Delicious food is waiting on the kitchen table prepared by his gracious (and very funny) partner-in-life/radio star DJ. The glee continues.

A handout from @michaelegriffin – a noted moment

@kevchanwow would not be able to join us at the JALT International Conference since the lucky people in New Zealand got to see him present only a few days before at the CLESOL conference (read his pre-conference post, A Post Before I Go, and post-conference post, Wikis and Instant Noodles: my times at CLESOL). Perhaps to celebrate the JALT experience, @michaelegriffin shares a handout he prepared for his presentation, “Common pitfalls of observation feedback.” This #TESOLgeek moment is cherished….as are many more.

Goodnight from Nara the ancient capital of Japan…

But perhaps none more than this one:

Screen shot by @michaelegriffin

Thank you so much to the @kevchanwow clan for sharing your home with us. I am still in awe of your generosity and warmth. I look forward to the day that I can return your kindness.

PS. We ended our trip to Nara with a delightful tour of the deer park before Mrs. @kevchanwow kindly drove us to the train station. Amazing people. Amazing experience.

Note: I added two new categories thanks to this part of the JALT journey: gratitude and friendship. :)

The Laughing Diary Intervention

I just added two new categories to my Feelings & Needs category list (see list on the left): fun and humor. How could they have evaded me for this long?

Just a week ago my sister saw a t-shirt with the word “serious” on it and said I *should buy it. Nothing like a sister to set things straight. It seems that focused attention on all-things-TESOL was starting to take its toll: limited utterances of joy; too many conversations about what’s wrong with the Korean education system; and a vague memory of the term joke. Then the other night I caught myself Googling “Why so serious?“. It was time for an intervention.

PLN to the rescue! It started with Anne Hendler’s self-directed plea for ease and joy in her post Best Medicine, where she put forward a challenge for others to join her in keeping track of things that made them chuckle. If it wasn’t for her, I may not have finally noticed my humor drought.

The ever inspiring and “woopingly” funny Vicky Loras was the first to take up the challenge with a delightful description of family and events that make her smile. Then this afternoon saw two more of our hilarious Twitter friends/colleagues, Kevin Stein and Laura Phelps, list up some items that had me having a healing lol at my desk. Thanks to all this inspiration, laughter came back into my life.

Here are my first picks:

1. Sawyer in “Lost”

When I need a little downtime, I have a few go-to TV series I like to indulge in. I’m now re-watching Lost. Lost fan or not, I think you’ll understand why Sawyer’s one-liners get me all the time.

2. zombo.com

Just click and turn up your speakers. You won’t regret it. Big thanks to Mike Griffin for sharing this with me during one of my bouts of seriousness.

3. Lou and me speaking our household language: Acadian with specially added twists of exaggerated slang, franglais and turns of phrase.

This picture was taken during such a sisterly dialogue:

vargué tight

The words that were uttered for the picture below are what made me vargué tight (Clare Acadian for laughing wholeheartedly). Note: tight is used as an intensifier (see bigtime (adv.) or the synonyms for tight (adv.): securely; soundly.)

H’allons nous gasser tight.

So while searching for videos that could give you an example of what we sound like, I came upon this:

Seeing my family name used for the parody brought a comforting chuckle. Well played (there was a mighty long list of LeBlanc’s in our phone book when I was growing up). I had forgotten how much I loved This Hour Has 22 Minutes, so that was an added laughing bonus.

And through this searching adventure, I remembered this movie: Les gossipeuses by Phil Comeau, filmed in the 70s in my hometown with a homegrown cast.

photo from http://www.nfb.ca

Nothing like the Clare dialect delivered through the lips of a gossipeuse for a good laugh. This is the perfect example of what Lou and I sounded like at times:

  • Gossiping with the gals: from the beginning to 4:30
  • A little franglais svp: 18:50 – 19:35
  • The classic gossipeuse phone call: 40:09 – (especially 41:43) – 42:07  (the woman on the phone, and the main character, used to be my jazz and tap dance teacher back in the day.)

Miss you Lou. Check out her rockin’ blog! Le blog musical.

4. Mullets – Mullets were a big theme on Twitter this week. I had the pleasure of teaching this word to my course participants during a culture class on stereotypes. This was the featured picture:

Photo by Mike Griffin and Jostens

Enough said.