Voices from the iTDi Community 4 – Victoria

Victoria Ostankova – Russia

Victoria Ostankova is a teacher living and working in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski in the Russian Far East.  She works with gifted children at school and online with disabled children across her region. Victoria believes that every child has potential and that it’s our job as teachers to bring that into being.

What are you passionate about, Victoria?

What a tricky question! I’ve devoted all my life to learning and teaching English. You may say it’s easy. Born in the Soviet Union, it was difficult to sustain my motivation and interest in learning English. I remember my friends laughed at me when I was reading the Morning Star, the newspaper of British communists and trade unions. Where else could I find any authentic and modern English texts at that time? But I never gave up. I was in constant search for books, materials and resources that had helped me stay connected to my passion. That time I read Shakespeare, Henry Fielding, Oliver Goldsmith, and Charles Dickens, etc. – all those writers were my best friends. I never look at English as a foreign language. It seemed to be my second native language that I adored so much! Time passed and nothing has changed. However, the World Wide Net gives you ample opportunities to follow your dreams and learn whatever you want. There’s no need to struggle now in finding something new. Everything is open and at your disposal these days. Just go for it and never procrastinate in your professional development.

How and why did you become a teacher?

My passion and hobby gave a way to my profession. Moreover, I’ve always loved working with children. Also, I can say that I followed this profession intuitively or figuratively:  the stars ordered in such a way for me to become a teacher. However, I put so much effort into studying and learning! It was not just a piece of cake, as it seemed at first. Having dreams and living in reality are two differing things. After graduating from the Pedagogical Institute I didn’t go straight to school. Though my schoolteachers said, “she has an innate genius for teaching”, I wanted to become an IDEAL TEACHER.

Interesting, but at a young age, I realized that we needed changes in education. I had a great desire to find something new in educating the younger generation. All this begins with the individual teacher, with my own education and intentions to make the lives of children better. As Aristotle said, “The fate of empires depends on the education of youth”.  I still believe that the aim of education – whether at home, at work, at play, or at school – ought to be the teaching of what we call values, not merely funneling information into empty minds. As Albert Einstein put it: “It is essential that the students acquire an understanding of, and a lively feeling for values of the morally good. Otherwise we – with our specialized knowledge – more closely resemble a well-trained dog than a harmoniously developed person”. Everything we know comes through a process of communicating and sharing. Whoever these people are – parents, teachers, philosophers – we are what our education makes us. So, I was hungry for more and more knowledge after my graduation. I didn’t have any ‘moral right’ to go to school and teach students without anything to share.

Anyway, experience is the best teacher. That’s why I started participating in all possible conferences and workshops for teachers. My practical goal was and still is to develop and cultivate my professional teaching skills. It first started with participation in the American Values through Media CD-ROM publication project. Then came the online course Methods I: Survey of Best Practices in TESOL. Also, I attended numerous webinars and delivered lots of teacher training sessions. I want to conclude here by saying that ‘teachers are born not made’ because what I’ve learned from the online courses I’ve taken or books I’ve read, I already knew intuitively and subconsciously. Have you ever had the feeling when starting a book that you know exactly what it will be about? The same is teaching for me.

What are you most interested in right now, VIctoria?

I could give you a long list of all things I am doing and am interested in right now. I guess it’s in my nature to be multitasking.  As I work with gifted children right now, I must cater to their academic needs and bright intelligences. This group of students has a specific mindset with well-developed cognitive and metacognitive abilities, so I have to be competent enough to teach and reach all of them. I am glad that the administration of my school trusts me completely and that I am free to choose any material or book I consider to be beneficial for my students. Thus, I’ve made a decision to design the syllabi myself and pick up materials for my gifted learners. I know I must present a lot of educational information to my learners within the limited period of time and teach them how to speak, comprehend, read and write in English. I strive to empower and equip them with learning strategies that will help them succeed in their studies. Now, I also spend more time learning new things to incorporate technology tools into my teaching and learning process, as well as observe the valid rationale of practical and pedagogical uses of technology. Moreover, this year I will be an online tutor for disabled children in my region. As an online tutor, I will try to motivate these special students to grow further and never settle for less.

What’s the biggest challenge you face as a teacher?

My biggest challenge is assessment. I don’t understand the standards of assessment and testing. Who made up all these standards which make our learners feel stressed or even distressed oftentimes? Learning is a lifelong process; we are learning something new every day. What is the point of assessment then? Ministers who never step their foot into the classroom give us tips on how to raise bars and meet national standards. It’s a pity that they mention criteria and never tell about reaching students’ potential. Each student just needs a special route to the destination. Some learners get there faster than others, but they ALL will get there. It takes time and patience.  I am happy that my school implements a curriculum in which assessment is informal. We use informal observations, portfolios, and running records to track academic growth of our students. Using rubrics as an assessment tool is considered to be informal as well. By evaluating students by rubrics and by giving feedback to them, we teach our students to plan, monitor and evaluate their own progress and accomplishments. Grading policy is not provided at our school. We observe learners’ achievements and progress during English Olympiads and Linguistic Contests.

What advice would you give a teacher just starting out a journey of professional development?

Listen to your learners and let them voice their opinion. Ask for some kind of feedback. Learners are always helpful in giving constructive feedback. When you teach, try to motivate students and share with them what you know about the world and life. Don’t be too overbearing; guide them to let them find and then discover their own path in life. As Audrey Koh said, “Every child has potential. It’s the teacher’s job to have a keen eye of what each child’s potential is and how to polish it until it shimmers”. So I may add: Never rush into conclusions but observe children’s potential with a ‘keen eye’.

Victoria, is there any blog or online link you’d like to recommend?

I’d like to recommend Shaping the Way We Teach English  http://shapingenglish.ning.com/. You can find lots of resources and materials there for your professional development. This ning site is frequently updated with new webinars and various topics on pedagogy and methodology. It’s moderated and supported by extremely devoted teachers and material designers.

I would love everybody to communicate with the whole world and to engage your students into it as well. I like some of the British Council’s international projects that unite schools all over the world. Some of these projects include Schools Online http://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org/  Global Gateway http://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org/Global-Gateway Connecting Classrooms http://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org/accreditation-and-awards/International-School-Award and eLanguages   http://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org/node/4

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Oscar Wilde once said, “Education is an admirable thing, but it’s well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught”. It’s up to us to decide what teaching is for us: art or science or maybe a combination of both? I believe we should always know what and how to teach and always feel how to reach our students’ potential and hearts.

Voices from the iTDi Community 4 – Maryam

Maryam Fazeli – Iran

Maryam Fazeli is an MA student of TEFL at Guilan University in Iran. She’s an English teacher and lives in Rasht, Iran. She’s currently conducting research on Demotivation and teaches English in language institutes. She’s passionate about helping others and psycholinguistic issues. She’s a music lover and an avid gardener. She believes that a successful teacher primarily should be a motivated motivator of students to desire learning. Furthermore, she agrees with this statement that a person who dears to teach must never cease to learn.

What are you passionate about, Maryam?

I’m Maryam Fazeli from Iran. I’m an EFL teacher and MA student of TEFL at Guilan University in Iran. Currently I’m working on my thesis project focused on demotivating factors among English major students at university level. I’ve always been interested in helping others and in communication. I’m a passionate teacher who’s passionate about motivating her students, developing in her teaching carrier and helping her students to develop to become an independent learner who has reached to her own voice. As a person, I really enjoy playing and listening to music especially Iranian traditional music and classical music. Walking with friends, gardening and writing diaries are activities that I spend my free time with.

How and why did you become a teacher?

My teacher at elementary school used to tell me that I was just cut out for teaching! And I believe she was a wonderful foreteller who was true indeed ;). My interest in English language was roused when I was a teenager. Fortunately I was lucky enough to have a really affectionate English teacher whose behavior was greatly encouraging and persuading, and certainly her high EQ brought about the discovery of my interest in English learning. From then I decided to study English related majors at university. In my view teaching is the mother of other professions, because it is teaching that teaches all the other professions. Therefore, its fundamental role in a society is indisputable and its major goal must be to empower the learners to think independently and creatively and to have their own voices.

What are you most interested in right now, Maryam?

I’ve always been interested in psychological issues and specifically in my field of study psycholinguistics. One of the issues that is very fundamental in education is motivation, because no individual is able to start an action and keep doing an activity without having enough motivation to do so. In education teachers have significant roles in raising this interest and motivation in their students and also have effective roles in demotivating them. Right now I’m engaged in doing research on demotivation which is a major problem of English learners. I’m going to explore the demotivating factors for English major students. As a teacher I’d extremely like to integrate technology as much as it is possible in my teaching. And find the ways of teaching that meet my students’ needs.

What things do you do to help you get better at being a teacher?

In order to teach a subject successfully, you need to stay on the ball for the latest developments in the area all the time. Language learning is so extensive and complicated because it is a culture and social related subject. Therefore, for a non-native teacher the job is much more challenging than it is for a native teacher. I try to read new published articles and books. They are extremely helpful to me to become a more professional teacher both theoretically and pedagogically. The other way of developing is to connect with other teachers from different countries and exchange ideas about teaching and my problem areas. They always have something new for me! Conferences and workshops are also places where we can learn a lot from professionals. Something very important for a teacher to have useful teaching experiences is listening to her students very carefully and evaluating her achievements. These are activities that we teachers must do constantly otherwise we will not develop professionally nor will our students benefit from our classes!

What’s the biggest challenge you face as a teacher?

I am teaching English as a foreign language in a context in which there are a few English native speakers and English learners have very few opportunities to practice real language use in a real situation. So one of the biggest challenges that I face is looking for more such opportunities and ways that my students can practice real language use. Certainly a very good solution that is beneficial is social media. It provides a vast and variable amount of communication for students. However, to get them using it, I have to previously prepare them for such practices.

What advice would you give to a teacher just starting out on a journey of professional development?

Any teacher has its own style for developing:  here is some of my advice for you according to my experiences. One point is that we have to put in practice our knowledge of teaching that we learn from books or hear from others. Mere knowing is useless.  We should act upon this learning in our classes. The other fundamental point that we always should consider is our students’ specific styles and needs. Every class and every individual has a particular style, needs, and goals.  All the decisions that we make should be based on these things. Communicating and cooperating with obliging colleagues are convenient ways of developing professionally. Also attending workshops and conferences keeps you up to date with the latest developments. And finally something that you should never forget is to be a passionate teacher. Appear in the class zealously and attempt to raise your students’ interest in learning. That’s the key of success!

Is there any blog or online link you’d like to recommend?

There are many of them, but a person can choose those that meet her needs. Following are those that I really benefit from:


this link introduces 100 best video sites for educators:





What’s your favorite quotation about being a teacher?

“A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the student with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.” – Unknown

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”  — Albert Einstein

“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”  Plato

Voices from the iTDi Community 4 – Judy

Judy Wu – Taiwan

Judy Wu is an English teacher from Taiwan. She’s been teaching English in Tawian for more than 12 years and has also taught the Chinese language in the UK. She currently lives and works in Taiwan. She is passionate about using technology in learning, storytelling, and intercultural communication education. She believes that the teacher is a facilitator and a coordinator — not the dispenser of knowledge. She is also a masseuse, an acupuncturist, a zumba teacher and a lover of salsa dancing.

What are you passionate about, Judy?

I am passionate about interaction with people and learning more about how people think and learn. When I was young, I liked to observe other classmates learning and performing. However, I was too shy to join them. Now, as a teacher, I love to guide shy students to become more expressive and willing to explore different things, and most importantly, themselves. I also enjoy travelling and exploring different cultures and meeting locals. For me, life is a non-stop learning journey as I explore new things but also embrace tradition at the same time. I am passionate about music, dance and alternative therapy. For me, they are the important elements in my life. Being open to all sorts of possibilities and being ready for various challenges in life positively is a big part of who I am.

How and why did you become a teacher?

When I was young, I always liked to hang out with my father who was a teacher in primary school.  I enjoyed listening to my father’s students talking about what they had learned in his class, how much they enjoyed the lessons, and how much they had changed because of their learning. I thought that being a teacher must be the best job in the world because a teacher changes others’ lives and is proud of their achievements without being in competition with them. And then I made it to enter the college to be trained as a secondary school teacher.  I have been a junior high school teacher in Taiwan for more than 12 years. I taught aborigines in the north east of Taiwan for my first 2 years of teaching. It let me realise that accuracy is not that most important thing, but the passion to go for something. My students were not afraid of making mistakes and loved to sing and dance to express their feelings, even though they came from the low social status background without enough support from their families. It let me realise the mission of a teacher is to try everything to guide and motive the learners in different ways and never stop learning as well.  After my 5th years of teaching, I found that I needed to have more input for my personal teaching development. Therefore, I went to Northern Ireland for my master’s degree and had a great teaching experience for 6 weeks in Hungary. That was another milestone for my interest in intercultural projects. As an Asian to use English to communicate with the Hungarian students, I not only needed to bring them the content of the lessons, but also the culture from my background for them to know more about the other side of the world. 

What are you most interested in right now, Judy

I have been a language teacher for more than 10 years and always try to find different ways to learn and to explore myself. I am currently doing my PhD and am working on an intercultural email exchange project for my thesis writing and also assisting intercultural exchange groups between Taiwan and the UK. It’s a project supported by the British Council. I am also a Chinese acupuncturist and a zumba dance teacher. All of the learning inspired me to do further research about multiple intelligence theory and mind-body-spirit learning. For instance, doing a tai chi breathing exercise at the beginning of a lesson is helpful to calm the students down. And guiding them through the different meditation exercise with music and visual aids is good to train them to focus on something and also to be creative in their own ways. My students would know different acupuncture pressure points for relaxing or therapeutic functions. They cannot just help themselves, but also others. A group relaxation exercise is a great way to have a good group rapport and to let go of barriers.  For me, being a language teacher is more than just teaching a language. It is way of life. Through another language, we can see another world through different perspectives.

What things do you do to help you get better at being a teacher?

The best way to learn is to learn from the best. During work, I develop professionally through my PLN. I met many great educators from the IATEFL conference in Brighton in 2010 and that broadened my view of learning through technology. I also went to the UK to pursuit a post-graduate degree from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland and am working on my part-time PhD study at the University of Durham in the UK. When I am in Taiwan, we have a group of teachers on Facebook to exchange lots of inspiring thoughts and teaching ideas and then meet from time to time for workshops and seminars. I am also a teacher consultant in my region and the sharing with other consultants develop my teaching in various ways. We go to different schools to give a talk and to conduct seminars for the schoolteachers and it’s another great way to learn from other teachers who have been working in their areas for years but didn’t voice themselves in public. I think, learning by doing is the main principle.

What’s the biggest challenge you face as a teacher?

The biggest challenge for me is to motivate learners with different abilities and learning styles in the same class to know more about the world in English. Therefore, my master degree dissertation is about applying multi-intelligence theory in story telling (mini-drama) to cater to various learners and the thesis I am working on at this moment is about utilizing an intercultural email exchange project to enhance students’ language abilities and cultural awareness. Another challenge for a non-native English teacher is to keep English language fluency and find ways to develop as a teacher and maintain professional skills.  Meanwhile, I need to provide workshops for teachers as a teacher consultant, manage my own class as a homeroom teacher, and try to get my thesis finished as a PhD student. My solution is to have a great dance, take a nice trip and then lock my study-buddy and myself up in the library to get things done. And also, the most important thing is to join different professional development groups and connect either through webinars, Facebook or Twitter in order to keep updated within the limitation of space and the time.

Judy, what advice would you give to a teacher just starting out on a journey of professional development?

I will say be open-minded and willing to learn and to absorb things.  No teacher can be perfect in every lesson. The most important thing is to reflect on what has gone wrong or what was good and to learn from your own experience and others’ experience.  Make the best use of web 2.0 tools such as Skype, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and so on to keep updated and learning and also maintain friendships with others professionally and personally. No man is an island and no teaching can be done alone. Sharing ideas and difficulties can lower anxiety as we learn more from others. Another great way is going to a conference, and I highly recommend the IATEFL conference. Finally, as my other speciality is Chinese medicine and acupuncture, therefore, I advise trying to blend breathing techniques, body movement, massage and visual medication into your lessons. Without this, I am concerned that students might lose the real connection with people even though they would have the visual interaction online. I would suggest teachers to take the best care of themselves, not just mentally and spiritually, but also physically. Have fun in teaching and in life J

Are there any blogs or online links you’d like to recommend?

iTDi http://itdi.pro/itdihome/index.php

Teacher Bootcamp http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/ by Shelly

http://www.teachertrainingvideos.com/  by Russell

Nik’s Quick Shout http://quickshout.blogspot.tw/2009/09/web-20-tools-for-efl-esl-teachers.html   by Nik

What’s your favourite quotation about being a teacher?

“The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.”  –  Edward Bulwer-Lytton

And another quotation from myself

“Everyone’s life is full of stories and the task of a good teacher is to make the stories full of life” – Judy Wu

Voices from the iTDi Community 4 – Barry

Barry Jameson  – Korea

Barry Jameson is originally from Ireland but currently lives and works in Jeonju,  South Korea. He’s an active member of #KELTChat and KOTESOL and quite a presence in the ELT Blogosphere. Barry blogs on All Things ELT at http://barryjameson.wordpress.com/ and can be found on Twitter as @BarryJamesonELT

What are you passionate about, Barry?

It may seem an obvious answer for a teacher, but I am passionate about teaching.  I wake up every day and consider myself fortunate to do what I love for a living.  I am relatively new to teaching but it has turned my whole life around.  When I worked in financial services I always envied co-workers who came to work with a smile on their face.  I never felt any passion for my previous work.  Quite simply, I feel like I belong in the classroom.

How and why did you become a teacher?

I could say I always wanted to be a teacher, but that would be a lie.  I was bored of my old job and life.  I had worked in banking for almost six years but never enjoyed it.  I had always dreamed of travelling.  I was 33 and felt if I didn’t make the move then, I never would.  I didn’t become a teacher because it was a calling.  I became a teacher simply because it allowed me to travel and still pay my bills.  It was a very practical decision, and I had no idea whether I would enjoy it or not.

I handed in my resignation in my old job, did a simple 100 hour TEFL certificate and applied to work in Korea.  I took the first job that was offered and left it to fate.  Luckily, after a shaky first few weeks, I started to really enjoy being in the classroom.  Then, I simply fell in love with the job.  Now, I don’t see myself doing anything for the rest of my career other than teaching.

What are you most interested in right now? 

I find Reflective Practice a really interesting part of my development.  I first became interested in it through reading Dale Coulter’s blog (http://languagemoments.wordpress.com/).  Here was this young guy, not teaching very long, and he is writing an absolutely fantastic blog.  He was certainly an early inspiration.  This year I’ve really started enjoying reading Michael Griffin and Josette LeBlanc’s blog posts on Reflective Practice. The other thing I have a real interest in is motivation.  I think this stems from of my own lack of motivation when I was in school, I was a poor student, mainly because the course work didn’t engage me.  I was bored and shut down.  As a teacher, I love the challenge of reaching students who seemingly have no interest in studying.  It’s hard to describe the satisfaction I feel when they start to open up and become involved and interested in learning.

What things do you do to help you get better at being a teacher, Barry?

I’m lucky to have a fantastic PLN on twitter.  This has been huge in helping me improve. When I first joined twitter I was surprised at how open and welcoming the ELT community was.  There seemed to be no competitiveness.  Everyone was pulling together, helping each other.  That impressed me and has been a constant source of information and inspiration.  However, because I’m less experienced and less qualified than them, it can feel intimidating at times.  This drives me to want to improve every aspect of my teaching. In addition, I have a plan to visit and observe some wonderful teachers soon in their workplaces.  I always feel I can learn something from every teacher, whether they have been teaching 10 weeks or ten years.  You always see something that makes you re-evaluate your own approach and tweak it in an attempt to improve. The chance to view and learn from other teachers is very exciting for me I have also been trying to attend as many webinars as possible.  Of course, iTDi is one of the best out there at the moment providing some great presentations so far.  I don’t know why but I could just watch teachers talk all day.  I also watch lots of videos on YouTube.

What’s the biggest challenge you face as a teacher?

The biggest challenge for me is a not having the amount of control over my teaching as I want.  There is always a danger that your own teaching philosophy doesn’t fit the school you work for.  I have been very fortunate to work for a wonderful school at this early stage of my career but in Korea, the course book is king.  My beliefs stem more from the Dogme point of view, so it can be frustrating to try to cover material which doesn’t engage the students, but also having little opportunity to change it.  It can be frustrating when parents see course book completion as a definitive sign of learning progress, when it is rarely is.

Barry, what advice would you give to a teacher just starting out on a journey of professional development?

Find what works for you.  There are many different ways to develop.  I love twitter and it has been fantastic for me.  Other teachers haven’t found it useful.  Try everything, keep doing what works, and discard what doesn’t.  Always keep an open mind.  Also, make sure you take professional development seriously, but also make sure it’s enjoyable.

Is there any blog or online link you’d like to recommend?

Where do I start?  There are so many fantastic blogs, I’ll have to apologise in advance for leaving anyone out.  If I was to give you the full list of blogs I enjoy, you would see a list as long as my arm.  With that in mind I’ll list the blogs that I happened to discover when I needed them most..

First up, the first teacher I discovered at the very beginning of my professional development journey.  The legend, Scott Thornbury.


Next up, a fantastic teacher trainer, Anthony Gaughan.


A blog that got me interested in Etymology as well as ELT, step up Brad Patterson.


Next is a great guy and a blogging machine.  I love his style of writing and impressed by his knowledge, Phil Wade.


A teacher who has infectious enthusiasm and a brilliant blog, Chia Suan Chong.


The master of interviews, Chiew Pang.


Two great teachers working in Korea that I mentioned earlier.  I’m glad I discovered them on twitter.

Michael Griffin


Josette LeBlanc


I could go on but I better finish there, with a final comment to follow all the great bloggers on KELTChat – http://keltchat.wordpress.com/

What’s your favorite quote about being a teacher?

I’ll go with my fellow countryman on this:

“Education is not filling a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  William Butler Yeats

Voices from the iTDi Community 4 – Marisa

Marisa Pavan – Argentina

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.
John Dewey

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.”
Maria Montessori

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.