Marisa Pavan holds degrees in ESL teaching and in English/Spanish-Spanish/English translation/interpretation from Instituto Superior Nº 28 “Olga Cossettini”, Rosario (Argentina) and has over two decades of experience in teaching English as a Second Language. She has over 8 years experience working as a freelance English-Spanish/ Spanish-English translator and 3 years experience working as an assistant to the supervisor of an educational consultancy firm that takes students to London on cultural trips. She is skilled in languages, translation, interpretation, training students to develop listening, speaking, writing and reading strategies, CAT tools and communication. You can also find Marisa on Twitter, @Mtranslator.
What are you passionate about, Marisa?
As a teacher I’m passionate about motivating my students, that is to say, about choosing tasks, content, tools that they might find interesting and thus, facilitate their learning process. For that reason, I’m fond of being a life-long learner myself so as to keep updated.
How and why did you become a teacher?
I’m not sure a teacher is born or made. I remember pretending to be a teacher as a child and teaching invisible students. When I was a teenager, I helped my classmates to study for tests and exams when they had difficulties understanding English, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, History, Philosophy, and Literature facts. I felt really happy to be able to help them learn and remember facts in order to be successful. Before finishing secondary school, I realized I love English and I felt I wanted to be a teacher of English as a second language. At the age of 6 my mum decided I would start taking English classes, and I haven’t given up since then. Later on, I realised the methodology the teacher used to teach English to a cousin of mine and to me — we were the only 2 students in our class — was totally unappealing but I felt hooked and I cannot explain the reason why.
What are you most interested in right now?
I’m interested in learning about new tasks, the use of technology in the classroom, and about how to inspire my students so that they become life-long learners.
What things do you do to help you get better at being a teacher, Marisa?
Currently, I do my best to find the time to read posts the members of my PLN share in their blogs. They help me reflect on my teaching practice and improve myself.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a teacher at this moment?
The biggest challenge I face at present is how to motivate my students to practise the language outside the classroom. To deal with this issue, I create wiki spaces for each group and upload material I think my students might find interesting such as games, interactive tasks, audio books and many others. I recommend colleagues who are experiencing a similar situation that they should use technology to communicate with students and help them develop other skills while practicing the language.
What advice would you give to a teacher just starting out on a journey of professional development?
As far as I see it, professional development should never stop, since there is always something new to learn so as to improve ourselves. Teachers who are starting as well as those who are more experienced should interact with colleagues so as to exchange ideas and views. Observing classes is also helpful as well as attending lectures by well-known educators, which contribute to developing teaching strategies so as to address and meet students’ needs and styles.ers who arers should lnces and to interact with other teachers toers.
Are there any blogs or links you’d like to recommend, Marisa?
I believe reading the ideas colleagues share in their blog posts is really insightful to gain experience and keep updated on teaching practices. I read the posts most of the members of my PLN (Personal Learning Network) write and some of them are:
http://shellyterrell.com/ by Shelly Terrell
http://www.teachingvillage.org/ by Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto
http://vickyloras.wordpress.com/ by Vicky Loras
http://cecilialemos.com/ by Cecilia Lemos
http://jasonrenshaw.typepad.com/jason_renshaws_web_log/ by Jason Renshaw
http://www.edulang.com/blog/its-freeday-or-friggs-day-or-friday/ by Brad Patterson
http://civitaquana.blogspot.com.ar/ by Janet Bianchini
http://marisaconstantinides.edublogs.org/ by Marisa Constantinides
http://seanbanville.com/ by Sean Banville
http://burcuakyol.com/ by Burcu Akyol
What are your favorite quotes about teaching?
Two of my favourite quotes are:
Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.
The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say, “The children are now working as if I did not exist.”
Is there anything you would like others to know about you as a teacher, Marisa?
Perhaps my own idea of what teaching means to me. Teaching is not a job for me but a life attitude. I cannot set apart the teacher that’s in me from my own self. Once I was asked to create a metaphor about ‘teaching’ and my metaphor is: “Teaching is like day-dreaming.” As a teacher I isolate myself from the world around me when I’m teaching and create a new world. My mind is totally focused on the lesson and on my students. I can forget about everything that forms part of my non-teaching life.