Saturday, December 28, 2013

Knowing me, Knowing you: 11

OK. So I have been tagged and now I will share with you a bit of myself in 11 random facts and my 11 answers to questions from two amazing taggers. You might be wondering what this is all about. Well, it is this chain started - this I presume- by  a fellow ELT-er and the idea is to invite an EFL-ESL colleague to "reveal" personal information few or no one from his/her professional (passionate) learning network know about them. To do that you are supposed to write 11 random facts about yourself, answer 11 questions the tagger asked you and invite 11 colleagues to do the same. You can sort of represent the whole process like this:

My two lovely taggers

My taggers are two lovely, sweet ladies from my PLN: Malu Sciamarelli (Brazil) and Hana Ticha (Czech Republic). Here you can read their very own posts: Eleven! and 11 random facts. How I met them? Well, just the way most of us have met amazing ELT colleagues  on the web: Facebook, Twitter, a webinar, the Electonic Village Online, you name it. The truth is they are part of my PLN and how luckier can I get?

OK, time for the knowing me, knowing you 11 random facts

1. I have a twin brother. He is not as cute as me (smiley), but he is taller, fun, sociable and loves
salsa music. I am quite the opposite. People mistake us most of the time on the phone – similar voices so they say. We are fraternal twins.
2. I draw or at least I used to do that well until my late 20s, early 30s. After that no more drawings, blame it to work, computers, life. As a child I was into the religious theme, you know (Hey!  a family thing)…Growing up drawings became cartoonish and more personal ones. At the uni, I drew for Young Editors (a sort ELT language learning magazine funded by two amazing undergraduate teacher trainees: OK, my best friend and I)...Also, as a teacher I dare to draw these potatoes like characters for a children material- totally hand made.

3. I do trip the light fantastic ( a smiley)…A family thing. Everybody dances. It is also a cultural thing…If you are a teen and you know how to dance you don’t have to worry about anything else in Venezuela (as opposed to teens in the USA – if you know what I mean). I discoed, "salsaed", "meregued" even danced to drum beats and a bit of breaking - not anymore! But unlike singing, I can still boogie oogie boogie (smiley)
4. Call me a coffee addict. During the day I can drink more than 10 cups a days and I can still sleep like an angel. Love Venezuelan coffee, but I can enjoy drinking this "black brew" anywhere. Its smell and even listening to cups and saucers rattling in coffee shops takes me back  home,  reminiscences of a nice conversation, friends, grandma, my aunt Hilda, mom…family.
5. I used to sing a lot…I was part of this school choir and once I even tried to participate in a singing contest…Stopped singing in my early teens and you know what they say: "Use it, or lose it". Nowadays, my voice is literally pitchy...Not the same anymore…So forget American Idol or the Voice.
6. I had never been interested in politics at least in its narrow sense (political parties , politicians. "politiking" and all that), but over the last 15 years I have been participating in rallies, protests,  signing here and there against one of the most corrupted governments in Venezuela. It is a totalitarian, militaristic regime disguise as democratic.  

7. Love whatever is related to green, color in nature...Blame it on my "abuelita" (grandma). She encouraged me to take care of plants as a child...I did. But as I grew older I quit on this idea of having a small, welcoming garden for several reasons. Now I have shyly started an orchid collection at home. Cross my fingers hope they will spike and bloom one day.
8. Oh yeah, I used to write poems as a child. It was triggered by my first experience traveling to a distant place away from home (OK, in the same country). It was entitled: "Un Niño, un Viaje y su noche Mirandina" ( "A child, a trip, and his “Mirandina” night"). I was part of this school music band (estudiantina) and we were going to perform somewhere.  I played the cuatro. It was a successful performance, but I just wanted to be back home really. I was about 8 or 9 years old. Strange enough I still have the same feeling every time I travel. The only difference is I can stay for more than two days away from home - OK a bit more. I have learned to manage my inner child.
9. I have got this thing for books. Apart from its traditional use related to pleasure and knowledge, I believe they can be amazing decorative objects. They do! Believe you me.
10. I am a proud introvert (not necessarily shy). I do enjoy being on my own a lot. Good listener.Give me some rain, good music, my caffeine fix and I'll be obliviously happy on my own.

11. My first online friend and the first one I met in person is not from my PLN, not an EFL teacher. That was mid 90s. He is a nice, thoughtful Dutchman. I had the chance to visit him and his partner twice. We still keep in touch.

The biting-my-nails-moment: answering my taggers' questions

Malu Sciamarelli

1. What do you have on your bedroom wall?
A framed poster of Slaapkamer te Arles (The Bedroom) by Vincent van Gogh

2. What’s the first thing you do when you get up?
I grab a cup of coffee (You do!) and check out email, Facebook and Twitter.

3. Do you have a pet?
Yes, a shih tzu named Luna -totally spoiled.

4. What’s your favorite food from your childhood?
A fish cake, my mother used to make it during the Holy Week.

5. What do you like most about teaching? 
Designing materials and teaching in the classroom

6. What’s the best thing about going to a conference?
Meeting your e-friends F2F + what you can get from presentations.

7. Do you read two or more books at the same time?
I sometimes read 2 books at the same time.

8. Who is your hero?
My mother

9. What’s your favorite country to visit and why?
The Netherlands...Especially the Hague...I don't know I think it is its buildings...or its exhibiting sculptures in the Scheveningen district from the Beelden aan Zee museum.

10. What’s making you smile at the moment?
A text message.

11. Life is too short to…
please everybody. 

Hana Tichá

1. If you could change one thing about education in your country, what would it be?  
The education ministers and local authorities 

2. Have you ever thought of quitting your job as an educator? Why?  
Yes, once I wanted to be a graphic designer. 

3. What's your earliest memory as an educator? 
Teaching English to my classmates in high school - that was a start, right? 

4. Is education valued where you live? If not, what is the main reason?  
Not as much as it should. It has been neglected by most governments and over the last 15 it has been used to instill political values, nationalistic pride and now more than ever before to worship the late "Hugo Rafael Chávez Frias". 

5. How do you think we could help to make teaching a more prestigious job? 
Taking the time to develop ourselves professionally. Now there are more opportunities than before especially online to be updated in your field / interests (IATEFL / TESOL webinars, The Electronic Village Online, The reform Symposium, The Virtual round table, MOOCs).  

6. Apart from burning-out, what's the biggest danger for a teacher? 
Low salaries (juggling jobs to get by) , lack of support from authorities and colleagues, the school year's routine.

7. Did anyone try to put you off teaching in the past?  
No, no one. 

8. Why do you think teaching can bring so much satisfaction but also frustration?  
Well, we are dealing with people - unpredictable - in spite of all the research. The way students react to or show / manifest their "learning" varies from one person to another, from one group to another. So when we feel they have learned, we feel elated; when they don't, we feel we are not doing enough.

9. What makes you happy? 
Designing material, thinking of new activities to help my students learn.

10. When did you last laugh out loud? 
Like about two weeks...with (Ok "at) my best friend. 

11. If your child/best friend wanted to become a teacher, what piece of advice would you give him or her?  
Well, try to do things to the best of their abilities...Just make sure you love what you do.
When the tagee becomes the tagger: fun!

So here's my tagee list, time to meet some Venezuelans and  other wonderful EFL teachers!

Miguel Pérez @maperezramos
Elvina Castillo @elvicaro
Teadira Pérez @teadira 
Evelyn Izquierdo @EveWeb
Marina Majonica @teachermarinam
Yuly Asención @yya2
Beyza Yilmaz @Beyzah
Priscila Mateini @priscilamateini
Elena Nikiforou @neleni
Liliana Simón @lilianasimon
Fabrice Karenzi @Kafamem
Martha Mendoza

So now it is your turn to let us know a bit about yourselves, tagees. There's no pressure. If you feel you have time to do this, great. Otherwise, you have been chosen because you are amazing! If you rise to the challenge, you can take your time. There is no rush. Please, if you write your post, let me know...If you have already been tagged, share your post with us in Comments as well as the tagees.

My 11 random questions to you, tagees:

1. Since there’s a been a debate on how you should greet someone in Christmas season, what would it be in your country? "Happy holidays" or "Merry Christmas"? In Venezuela, most people say "Feliz Navidad" (Merry Christmas), no matter what.
2. Have you got a favorite sitcom? If yes, which one.  Why do you like it?

3. Is there a favorite poem you like? Which one? Why?
4. Which music decade you like the most? 70s? 80s? 90s? any?
5. If you happen to have a deaf student in your class, you think you must learn sign language?
6. Is there a memorable international / local conference you remember? If so, which one?
7. Any favorite educational app or web 2.0?
8. Have you ever been taken an unflattering photo you’d like to get rid of especially from social networks? If so, How did you feel? What did you do?
9. What’s the most favorite hot drink in your country? Coffee? Tea? Chocolate?
10. Is there a popular folk singer in your country? What's his/her name? Can you share a video link?
11. Is there a national flower that represent your country? Which one is it?

Images: Miguel Mendoza by Miguel Mendoza is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial No Derivs 3.0 Unported License 


Marina said...

Well, Miguel. I have really enjoyed reading you. Your words and thoughts have been very interesting to read. I feel humbled to have been tagged. I look forward to writing my own. December is a wonderful opportunity to reflect.

Miguel Mendoza said...

Well, really looking forward to reading yours, Marina:)

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