Staying healthy and motivated – Anna Loseva

Keeping It Fresh

It is only too obvious that everybody has their own personal tricks and tips on how to be healthy and what to do to boost motivation in a treadmill of daily work. Naturally, the ultimate advice here is to listen to your inner self. Body and mind know so much better what we need and are always giving us hints, so why not be responsive to their voices!

Being on good terms with yourself as a person, trusting yourself as a teacher, interacting positively with people around you all contribute to The Feel Good Sense – which is key. Do you feel it? If not, it’s well worth making a stop in your routine at times in order to take a reflective look from the outside. Such breaks have proven to be extremely useful to me. Their refreshing potential can be very empowering.

As this blog title supposes that I share my own perspective my post might look like a collection of imperatives, but of course these are just my ways of dealing with the imminent stresses of my own life. Take from it what you will:

*      Socialize and draw good vibes from good people. Find the time for your family and closest people, your friends and colleagues, both online and offline. Inspiration comes from so many sources, and motivation runs on the inspiration you get. I get mine to a large extent from the fabulous PLN I have built (and am still in the process of building), and the iTDi Associates who make up a large part of my passionate learning network.

*      Talk to your students about what you’re all doing in class, ask for their opinions, and appreciate their views.  Draw motivation from students’ responsiveness and feedback. The friendly rapport we establish can also be a fruitful way to enhance our teacher imagination. I feel it very acutely that every time I’m open in a lesson, it is sure to give way to more inspirational ideas. Staying open-eyed for our students’ reactions requires dedication and work from a teacher, but it pays off with great benefits!

*      Experiment and improvise. Tackle problems with creativity, and perceive them as challenges.

*       Do what brings you joy and try to avoid the mundane. When you have to handle boring issues, get done with them as quickly as possible and never let them occupy your mind.

*      Take a lot of rest and also take your mind off work matters regularly. Even though you love your work so much (as I’m sure you do), recharging is essential. I love to take warm baths, read Psychologies magazine, drink fruit tea and watch my favourite TV series, of which there are so many. Simple pleasures!

Make notes! Creative ideas are so transient, so make sure you catch the butterfly when it flies your way. Being the notebook addict that I am, I take an exceptional pleasure in making all different types of notes in all those different notebooks that I have. I’ve written about my addiction in detail in a post here.

*      Do some physical activity regularly, whatever feels good for your body, and your mind does not repel.

*      Eat healthy food of bright natural colours. Let’s admit it, vegetables and fruit look beautiful, and so they taste beautiful, too. Besides, an apple a day… you know.

*      Listen to the music that inspires you – and sing along with it! One of my many latest personal favourites is The Sound of Violence“ by Cassius in one particular remix version.

*      Keep it fresh. Don’t let your view of life get blurred.

*      Seek inspiration, from both within and outside!

*      SMILE and enjoy the springtime!! =))

I don’t always stick to all of the points, but I like to praise myself every time I do stick to some of these, and I can tell you – carrots are more effective than sticks. It would be very exciting to know what your several tips are. Please share some!

Using English outside of class – Anna Loseva

I believe I’m lucky to be a non-native teacher of English. I live in the same language environment as my students, I know where problems can lie because I could have (and indeed, I have) faced them myself. I’m a just learner who is given a chance to teach. From my viewpoint, that is such a winning position! So my main take on this post is: share what you know works for you. They’ll get the hint and find their own way.

The activity that I’m keen on including during one of the very first classes of the course is all about encouraging students to see English beyond our classroom. We draw two simple mind maps and brainstorm ideas for ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ ways to learn a language. The input we usually have as a result is astounding. The informal map is filled with ALL the kinds of things you’d recommend them to do to get involved with English outside of class. What’s been my personal eye-opener about this activity is that I do not have to utter a single word. To quote Chuck Sandy,  “a teacher can totally step back”.

They already know where English is around them and how to get the most of it. Some play computer games on international servers, others watch favourite cartoons and TV series in English. Some remember that they most often have to read user guides to devices in English, others note that they can pick a free English newspaper in cafes. Songs, TV channels, films with or without subtitles, books, airport signs, brands, podcasts – ideas pop up from all students in the classroom and everybody learns something new. We then critically look at what we’ve come up with and discuss which of these ways are best for each one of them.

Yet, I have my own special favourite that I like to share. I advise my students to switch all the gadgets they have into English. That is, I advise them to change to operating system of their phones, ipods, computers and whatever else they might have into English. By doing so they turn their immediate surroundings into English. It’s so easily done and the effect will not leave you waiting for long. A phone which operates in English becomes your English-speaking friend. A Google search conducted in English gets new results.  There’s a whole new world of the Internet instantly open through this one-click door. English becomes your reality and with it come confidence, knowledge, and a broader mind!