Uncategorized

The Usual Suspects

This blogpost is addressed to my own locale, teachers in Greece.  If it looks like an attempt to influence people, you are right, it is!  Some of the comments may be true of other places on the globe – wherever you are, I would love to read your comments!

Who they are

The “Usual Suspects” is not the name of a music group or a TV series, but it is a metaphor for a group, a small group in actual fact, of dedicated professional educators who form my PLN (Personal Learning Network).

twitter_logoI see them everywhere, I follow them everywhere, on Twitter, on Facebook, on the various education Nings which you can see listed on my personal blog, in Second Life even,  and they do me the honour of following me back.

No matter how hard I try, the circle does not seem to be getting much larger. It does acquire a few more members after important events, such as the ISTEK Schools Conference or the IATEFL Harrogate 2010 Conference, or the Virtual Round Table, but never a significant number of individuals.

These “usual suspects” are passionate, engaged, fun to be with, warm and caring, ambitious and bright, smart and sharp, keen to develop, great sharers, dedicated to education, fully committed to the pursuit of excellence.

They are always there when there is any event, on or off line, I see the same names; I look for new names, hopefully of teachers or trainees I have been trying to engage, but the new faces that, at least I try to involve and engage, are usually few and far between.

Recently there has been some heated discussion re VIP’s and non VIP’s. Sure, I do have some VIP’s in my PLN but I also have a lot of not so well known teachers, trainers, presenters, who I value equally; some I value even more than certain well known ELT personae, and the greatest gift is that if I need help, there is always someone there who is willing to offer it.

Many teachers think this is a clique of names and celebs; some are sharp enough to recognise the value and power of networking; a few take to it like a duck to water and are now engaged in daily conversations with some of the so-called gurus of our profession.

These individual teachers are certainly more visible than someone who doesn’t blog, doesn’t use Twitter, or uses Facebook as a place to play Farmville or similar. Don’t get me wrong, although I don’t like this game, I don’t have a problem with people who play this as long it’s not the only thing they do!

These individual teachers will certainly have more career options than those who don’t, simply because they will be there when the opportunity arises.

So, don’t stay at home and moan about how unlucky you are and how some people get all the breaks – they don’t. They make their own breaks while you stay home and moan about it.

Get involved

Life is too short to be alone or to be  jealous. You can be a part of this too.

Become a usual suspect yourself!

  • Follow me on Twitter –  you can find me by my user name, @Marisa_C
  • Follow as many of the people I follow as you possibly can
  • Engage with them – retweet any links you like and tweet links you have discovered yourself

And if you don’t know how to use Twitter, please watch this great tutorial by Russell Stannard.

Related Blog Posts & Websites

  1. Do you Blog or do you just do Facebook? by Marisa Constantinides
  2. Why do we Connect? by Shelly Terrell

Postscript

Since many of the “usual suspects” I am referring to in this blog post have started responding to this post, I thought it might be a good idea for me to introduce them to you hoping you will be motivated to include them in your own PLN.

Categories: Uncategorized

Tagged as:

32 replies »

  1. Thank you so much for writing this post.
    I must confess I was looking forward to it since you mentioned it during the VRT’s panel session. In many ways it echoes my own thoughts. You’re right, there is a list of “usual suspects”, they are the ones that we look up to, the ones that we turn to for guidance, the ones that pretty much set the ground rules for the rest of us to follow. I don’t see that as a bad thing. Like you said you are the ones that attend every major ELT event, you are the ones that then, either Twitt or blog about it, allowing us to catch a glimpse of what’s happening in the ELT world. Sure, I would love to see more ordinary teachers taking a more active role, but, truth be told, the majority of us thinks sees themselves as “just teachers”, why should anyone want to hear what we have to say? So, yes we need to get past that feeling, because, like you pointed out, we can and should engage in conversation with you, we can and should blog, twitt, comment, connect, interact, learn, share. That we can do! Speaking as “just a teacher” myself, I have grown and learnt so much since I have started doing that. I couldn’t go back to the old me even if I wanted to. So, thank you for calling our attention to this, for allowing us to see and understand that even “just teachers” can and do make a difference.

    • Hi Alexandra,

      You are a usual suspect and I am one, too. I do not just mean people “we look up to” but also people “we see eye-to-eye with” . Most of my usual suspects are “ordinary teachers” who become extraordinary by engaging daily. There is no risk or cost to this and the growing and learning stay with you always.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      About Alexandra Franscisco

      Alexandra Francisco is a teacher, blogger and teacher trainer who works in Madeira, Portugal, and on Twitter she is @alexgfrancisco

  2. Hi Marisa
    As you very well know I am not in ELT and can’t therefore class as one of the “usual suspects” but over the last couple of years I have got to know and later actually meet several ELT VIPs totally accidentally, not having any clue whom any of them were or about their standing within the ELT community. I can honestly say I have found all of them (including you of course) to be friendly, caring, sensitive and very generous people. They share teaching resources, knowledge, thoughts, ideas, fun, laughter, interest, music and more freely with anyone who engages with them. I was dismayed at the VIP argument and I would just say to anyone to make the most of good things that happen, ignore the not so good, make the most of any opportunities that arise who knows where they will lead! The whole social networking, virtual world group of people that I have engaged with have opened up a whole new understanding of education around the world for me. All educators regardless of where, who and what subject they teach have shared interests, I am sure we can all support each other. I have learned so much from my PLN. New doors have opened for me in the UK and some of that at least is due to help and support from my social networking, Twitter and VW friends.

    • But you are indeed one of my usual suspects, dear Carol!

      You are always present in all the major events, and even though ELT is not your field, you listen to ELT people and learn whatever anyone has to share with you whether ELT or non ELT.

      I have learnt so much from you and your most excellent blog and look how many times you have helped me with your advice either on Twitter or in Second Life!! ELT can be so very limited and limiting if not applying wider education principles!

      I am very happy you are part of my PLN and have also become a friend and I fully agree with your view that “all educators regardless of where, who and what subject they teach have shared interests”.

      Thank you for your comment and reinforcement of the ideas in this blog post.

      About Carol Rainbow:

      Carol Rainbow is ICT trainer for all the schools in Oxfordshire, UK. Carol runs many sessions face to face and many of them in Second Life. You can follow her blog which is choc-a-bloc with descriptions of how to use various Web 2.0 tools here and on Twitter she is @carolrainbow

  3. Great post Marisa. I guess I’m a usual suspect and all I can do is endorse everything you’ve said. You know, but others reading this might not, that I’m a relatively rookie teacher (coming up to 3 yrs) and of no import in the ELT world generally at all. I haven’t written an ELT paper or book and I’ve presented nothing. However, I’m part of this incredible global teachers’ room PLN from whom I learn so much. I do share what I can of my unusual experiences teaching in Asia with other teachers and those VIPs via Twitter and my blog.
    If any potential PLN members are concerned about not having anything to ‘offer’ I went through this worry last week and nearly stopped tweeting as I felt I was taking much more than I was able to give back. However, I ended up having a skype conversation which one of the VIPs who put my mind at ease. Basically, no-one is obliged to follow us or read our blogs but do so because all voices are unique and welcome.
    It’s a pretty friendly and warm place to be (especially if, like me, you’re physically distanced from the #IATEFL etc happenings). And…what’s to lose by trying!? 🙂

    • Hi Laura,

      You are one of my “ducklings” but a rather nice looking one… Thanks for reaffirming my PLN assault… Having worked in a Greek ELT context you may be aware of the usual reluctance of local teachers. It is this reluctance I am trying to eliminate. Look at this post and comments! Apart from Shaz, who is my DELTA trainee anyway, none of my Greek colleagues have stepped forward or got stared on twitter.

      In fact, I was more or less thinking of you when I talked about ducks and water, but you may have guessed that already! Read my response to Jim Scrivener about how not everyone can or should be exactly the same and stop worrying about how much you are giving back. I’m glad someone set you straight on that and it is a rather warm and friendly place!

      Thanks for commenting here, Laura.

      About Laura Ponting

      Laura is currently teaching in Vietnam and is a recent convert (of mine, I could boast!) who now both tweets and blogs!!! You can read her blog posts on following the DELTA course in Vietnam here and on Twitter she is @lauraponting !

  4. As a newbie to the all these developments, I can honestly say every step you take to join in with conferences, add a comment to a blog, read a link or (very soon for me) twitter is a step that changes your way of thinking. It is difficult sometimes to implement the new ideas, methods, amazing tools you learn about in a school where the owner is not interested and you have to just get through the coursebook, give dictation and test test test. I read a great but simple piece of advice the other day..don’t ask permission to do something you know is right for your students, just say sorry to the boss afterwards! Brilliant! However, this comment could not have come from my husband, or my best friend, as they are not teachers. That’s why I love my small but growing PLN..I can relate to them and them to me! I’m developing because other people care enough to help me..I hope one day I can do the same for them! Enjoy the great names who are human enough to expose themselves through their blogs and let’s get a few teachers here in Greece to make a difference! Greeks , as a nation, do not sit back and give up easily so unite and join together!

    • Hi dear Sharon and welcome to my online PLN! You have been taking small but very positive steps in the right direction and I’m ever so proud of you! Just go and watch the tutorial about Twitter quickly and start sending some tweets! If you don’t quite know what to tweet, retweet something you liked! And don’t be afraid to retweet links which other people may have tweeted before – different people are online at different times of the day, so they may have missed seeing an interesting link. A good link is always worth re-tweeting!

      About Sharon Noseley

      Sharon Noseley is a teacher of English in Greece and is currently following the Cambridge DELTA course at CELT. She teaches children and teenagers in a small language school outside Athens. At CELT, she has been a volunteer teacher for our refugee classes for quite a while now and is to be highly commended for that. She is new, brand new, to twitter and is about to, on the verge of, in the middle of, yay… starting her own blog which I am really looking forward to! On twitter you will find her as @shazno

  5. 🙂 sorry, one of the usual suspects – good luck in the search for the newbies, I’m afraid my PLN’s the same as yours tho’ – but I think this is a lovely initiative to reach out to them, well done!
    Karenne

    • Indeed, one of the usual suspects. Doesn’t it make you wonder, now that all the comments are made by usual suspects! Thanks for stopping by and supporting this though – I do owe a large part of my PLN to your efforts in the blogosphere, Karenne, where you still reign supreme!!!!

      About Karenne Sylvester

      Karenne Sylvester’s are the fingers on the keys which produce perhaps the most popular ELT blog, Kalinago English – on my highly recommended list! Karenne is the force behind many new bloggers like myself; she has kickstarted so many teachers into blogging, I have really lost count!!! Follow her blog and follow her on Twitter where she tweets as @kalinagoenglish

  6. Hi Marisa,

    Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic, but I think I can see real signs of improvement in our profession over the last couple of years. Okay I know that still only a small percentage of all ELT teachers are involved in PLNs or even know what they are, but I certainly think my PLN has grown dramatically over the last couple of years. The fact that we are even talking about PLNs is a really good sign.

    In some ways the thing that will force this issue is quite negative (the need for teachers to keep up in terms of professional development and the costs of providng that) , but I think lots of institutions are now seeing PLNs as low cost teacher development and training and are actually looking for ways to recognise and accredit the time that teachers spend online developing themselves.

    For me, one of the most positive developments I’ve seen in terms of the way my PLN has grown is the broadening of it so that it reaches far beyond ELT and into so many other disciplines, that’s really something that Twitter has enabled.

    Personally speaking though, the people I value most in my PLN aren’t the VIPs, but the people who are still working away in the classroom and sharing what they do. They tend to have much less to say, but the value of what they share is far greater.

    Best

    Nik Peachey

    • Hi Nik,

      I don’t think you are optimistic but you are possibly responsive to a wider global picture and I am trying a PLN “assault” to include local teachers in the Greek context.

      I like the important point you are making, that a PLN helps you with your teacher development without any costs to yourself – something which needs to be stressed and repeated again and again because I think many teachers are highly suspicious that may be just a trick to draw them into following a paid course, or something!

      The contact with educators outside ELT is an additional bonus and a great blessing. I find a “TEFL only” diet quite restricted and limiting and Twitter and Nings have certainly opened up the channels of communication with educators in other disciplines, a greatly enriching and valuable way of opening up to the fact that we are not mere “language dispensers” but educators in the wider sense of the word.

      Thanks for adding your thoughts here.

      Marisa

      About Nik Peachey
      Nik Peachey is one of the best known trainers for Web 2.O tools and has a number of extremely useful blogs and websites you should be following:
      Technogogy, Daily English Activities, Learning Technology Blog, http://www.youtube.com/NikPeachey, Blogging and Social Media. If you would like to follow him on twitter he is, well, @NikPeachey !!!

  7. Very interesting post and responses. I’d just like to add a brief comment (as a Twitter newbie who only joined at IATEFL 2010).

    I think that it may be harder for new people to join into existing networks as easily as for those who were “there at the start”.

    I have enjoyed the experience of seeing all the Twitter conversations flying round me, but have had the feeling that it’s a bit like being a new kid moving into a school dormitory. Everyone around you has been sleeping in the same room (even if not actually “with” each other) for months or years and there are lots of conversations going on, many of which make no sense at all to you. People welcome you – but even so, it feels like a club of old friends and you’re a bit unsure of what your role is, what is appropriate to say, retweet, respond to etc.

    It’s all a bit overwhelming too. Some people are doing so much of such quality that it feels like the bar is set very high and it’s hard to see how one can be of much use. I wonder if a beginner does need to get comfortable by starting with simple chitchat “what I did today” tweets – but may feel less able to do so because others are already past that sort of thing.

    I’m not sure if anything could or should be done about this. It probably all sorts itself out over time. But just a thought that it may be harder for some to join in with a pre-existing PLN than it looks when you are already inside one and up and running.

    • Hello Jim and welcome to this blog!

      You are right that when you are starting out on Twitter, it can be quite overwhelming – we have all gone through this, please remember that. And you may think, well, what could I possibly tweet, what exciting link could I pass on with all these high-powered tweeters bombarding me all around?

      My advice is don’t even try to compete!! 🙂 Be cool about it.

      A PLN, like any other social group, is not made up of replicas of one another; there are tweeters who fire links all day long, there are those who re-tweet them, there are those who discuss them, there are those who engage in conversations, and of course. there is the #nightshift, too! There are those who love to tweet some good “choons” on blip.fm and that is great too!

      If you have been around for some time, a certain kind of collegiality does emerge but I think not just through Twitter – blogs too play a significant role in this and I do recall myself being quite hesitant in the beginning, thinking what could I possibly say that would interest anyone?

      To my surprise it did, or if it didn’t, people were too polite to say anything about it, which gave me the chance to begin to take courage and comment some more, engage some more, interact some more, just like you’re doing here, now.

      Your comment is especially important below this post, because, after all, you are the Jim Scrivener all my trainee teachers swear by and if you are prepared to lay yourself open and talk about your insecurities as a newbie on twitter and PLN’s, but still are prepared to dive in head first, it might help others ‘see’ that this PLN thing brings us all together in a way we could not communicate our thoughts, our strengths and fears before.

      Thank you so much for writing this.

      About Jim Scrivener

      Jim Scrivener is the author of Learning Teaching, Macmillan Publications, a book on our highly recommended list for CELTA and CTEFL courses and more! He describes himseld as “an English language teacher and writer who also tutors on initial traininghere You can follow him on Twitter where he tweets as @jimscriv

    • I so idenitify with this comment , Jim. I started on twitter post IATEFL 2010 as well and I’m really enjoying the whole experience, but I still feel very much like a new member of staff in an incredibly daunting staffroom, full of some many witty, intelligent, charismatic colleagues, and not really knowing how to join in. I’m seeing my first couple of weeks as a silent period, feeling my way through other people’s exchanges, retweeting rather than tweeting, writing out phantom messages that never actually get posted ‘cos I’m not sure how appropriate they are. Though as a direct by porduct, it has spurred me on to visit more blogs and post more comments.
      Maybe we should form some kind of newbie list where we can experiment in relative “safety” – a bit like hanigng out with the other new teachers at the beginning of term, while tentatively making contact with the existing group? Not sure how that’s done though! I haven’t got that far on my learning curve yet 😉

      • Hi Ceri and thanks for responding here. I am afraid I don’t know enough about you yet to introduce you to my readers but you seem engaged and keen and anyone following you on Twitter might be reassured by your post. I have tried using twiducate , a social network for schools that looks a bit like twitter, in order for my CELTA trainees to get used to this type of environment. I think the rich public line may indeed frighten people off in the beginning, but there are no cliques, no rules to how much you have to “put back in”, in fact, you can pretty well follow everyone and say nothing, until you feel ready to say something!!

        Thanks for your comment here and on Twitter (you see you are already engaging with me! 🙂 )

        About Ceri

        Ceri is a new twitter friend from Spain who describes herself as “an ELT teacher, trainer and writer – interested in personalising, localising, internalising and exploring” Her user name on twitter is @cerirhiannon

  8. Hi Marisa, I’ll endorse what you say…. and I hope a few more people from this part of the world pick up on it too. Actually, twitter has just hit the mainstream here in Japan in a big way and I am picking up more Japanese followers, but it is a pretty recent thing. My online PLN (I always make that distinction – let’s not forget the colleagues we work with day to day, the printed books and articles we read …) is very Euro-centric, which is fine for blogging but makes twitter quite interesting. All my friends are going to bed just when I’m waking up! Of course, I am very unlikely to meet most of my Europe based colleagues, but I feel like I get to meet them every day!

    We have some excellent teaching associations here in Japan (in ETJ, JALT, JACET) and the opportunities for offline professional development are pretty good. But being online strengthens those local ties, allows you to go up to someone at a conference that you have already ‘met’. It also helps you to keep an open mind and think beyond the local and maintain global perspectives – something I think many of us who are based in one regional context need to do.

    One of the challenges for a newcomer to the online world is allowing time to develop. Although twitter in particular seems incredibly fast, it actually requires gentle nurturing to become useful. I guess a lot of people hear about it, try it for a few days, say ‘I don’t get it’ and give up. They shouldn’t!

    Can I add this to the links list? http://www.livesofteachers.com/2010/02/20/personal-learning-networks-the-what-why-and-how/
    Another advantage of having an online presence is that a presentation I did live for about forty people has now been seen by hundreds more around the world!

    Cheers Marisa! It’s great to know you, and I’d welcome more teachers from anywhere to the online community.

    • Hello Darren!

      How nice to see you here! Your video about PLN’s which your post links to is already featured in our DELTA Wiki… Many thanks for that!

      I like the comment about “gentle nurturing” for newcomers to PLN’s – I certainly try to help and mentor those I introduce to it i- that is, f they keep on trying.

      The problem is with those who never start or simply stop trying, Darren. How much time has each one of us available to dedicate to persuading reluctant teachers?

      I am making an effort here on this blog, and I am ever so grateful for the surge of support from so many members of my PLN, but isn’t there a limit to what one can do in order to engage those who are unwilling or afraid to be engaged?

      Perhaps this has to do with education models – this generation of teachers in Greece which I am trying to engage comes from a highly teacher-centred background. Perhaps it is expected of me to do it all for them?

      Perhaps this last sentence was written to get them to think?

      Hmmm…. I don’t know…. but thank you for commenting

      About Darren Elliott

      Darren Elliott has been teaching English for ten years, mostly in Japan with a stint in UK higher education in the middle. He has taught at private conversation schools, businesses and universities and has worked as a teacher trainer. He maintains a great blog, Lives of Teachers where he has also posted some great interviews . On twitter you can find him tweeting as @livesofteachers.

  9. I’m a usual suspect, I guess. I have said (and blogged about) before that the exceptional thing about Twitter is that there is very little hierarchy here – in terms of age, gender, status etc. I learn stuff all the time. I hear authentic classroom voiced. I meet engaging and interesting people. As someone has said over on my blog, I am a happier person than I was before I came along.
    As for newbies feeling a bit ‘awed’ at first: yes we all were but all u have to do is pitch in. Answer people. Retweet.
    And then you will be met with kindness, humour, and help when u need it,

    Jeremy

    • You are, indeed, on my list of most wanted usual suspects, dear Jeremy.

      You most certainly have pitched in and are a true engager both on twitter as well as your blog! I loved how you took to both like “a duck to water” as well and we can see much evidence of this in the photo below where you are following a talks by your PLN; no VIP attitudes there, although you are a really very important ELT author we all look up to!

      Jeremy Harmer tweeting during a talk at ISTEK Intl Conference - 2010

      And lest my readers get scared by these ‘usual suspect’ contributions, may I also say how well you engage with all teachers, not just ‘important people’ or teacher trainers, but with every teacher who is willing to communicate with you.

      You are truly very special.

      Thank you so much for commenting

      About Jeremy Harmer

      Jeremy Harmer is one of the best known ELT authors who have written about methodology.He has written many books on ELT as well as materials for teaching but is perhaps best known for his “Practice of English Language Teaching” and, more recently for “How to Teach English”. Jeremy maintains a blog focusing on the art of presenting, teaching others and much more and he tweets as @Harmerj

  10. Great post, Marisa, and something that has been on my mind for quite some time. I even wrote a blog post late last year specifically addressing newer teachers (or teachers new to things like blogs and Twitter).

    Something Scott Thornbury mentioned over on Ken Wilsons blog last year (in response to one of my comments) did make me start to look at a little differently, however. Scott mentioned in a seminar he did in Spain, he did a quick poll of his audience and found that most of them do read ELT blogs and more than half of them had blogs of their own (I think that’s accurate… working from memory here). So why dont we know about them? Why do ELT blogs appear to be clustered in little island groups across the broader blogosphere, with no connecting bridges to create better through traffic?

    With the recent Take a Look at this Blog series, also, some people mentioned to me it was a bit pointless, because we’re all basically reading each other’s blogs in a tight circle anyway. That isn’t actually the whole truth. My blog is connected to a resource site that gets 1.5 million visitors from teachers every year. I actually have a very wide readership on my blog, and there are constantly new people coming in to take a look and then follow links to the other blogs I network with.

    The problem is, as you say, that we’re not hearing all of these teachers’ voices. Part of that is of course their shyness, in other cases it’s part of that natural Silent Period they’re going through as newer teachers – and (I think this is something we really need to think about if we are already Usual Suspects as you define them in this post) there’s a good chance that we are not writing the sorts of posts which really appeal and invite them into the online discussion fold… If usual suspects keep writing posts basically to maintain a circle of discussion with other usual suspects, then yes, it could well be that we’re not holding out a welcome mat to other teachers out there (even if we don’t mean to).

    Anyway, great post and very relevant, something I’m thinking about and trying to address.

    All the best,

    Jason

    • Dear Jason,

      An interesting comment and perhaps you are right about the teachers in Spain (or Scott is) but this post has a mission statement at the top and it does hope to mobilize the reluctant and perhaps shy teacher to get involved in social media for their own benefit. Blogging is not the norm here and possibly in other places too.
      Do we write irrelevant posts for the newcomer blog reader? Mmmm… I don’t think so. Apart from the odd occasions when we perform PLN navel contemplation, people write mostly about teaching and tools they have used in the classroom. There are so many blogs out there, there is something for everyone!

      Engaging with Twitter is another problem – even more resistance there – but you are right about the need for a Silent Period. Both Darren Elliott and Jim Scrivener have also commented on how hard it is to find your niche, your raison d’etre on twitter.

      Of course, we both know there is absolutely no need for a reason to be there. You can learn just by following – then one day you may be ready, may be not.

      Anyway, thanks for supporting this attempt to sell Greek teachers the idea that it is in their best interest to engage with us – let’s hope a few more will be drawn into the fold.

      Will list your post along with the others and thanks for dropping in!

      Jason Renshaw

      Jason is a teacher of English, teacher trainer and author who has worked in various countries and now lives in Australia. He has written Boost! a skils series published by Longman Pearson, maintains a blog called English Raven as well as an excellent resource website. He tweets as @englishraven

  11. It is true that being an English teacher in Greece , especially at Greek language schools, is often underestimated by both parents and school owners. I have felt a lot of times in my life that I’ ve had enough of different attitudes and comments which made me wonder whether I should go and work in another country. But I really don’t like giving up because this is where I was born and if the others can’t change the way they think that doesn’t mean I have to comply with their rules. But I didn’t know how until I decided to broaden my horizons and attend the DELTA course. I’m still a DELTA trainee and I have realised, with the guidance of my tutor, that there is a whole world of EFL teachers who share my views and worry about the same things as me and moreover, they do care about how to be better teachers. However, if there wasn’t for the Internet which can connect people apart from destroying, unfortunately, their lives at times, the only pleasure we would have as teachers, would be making the students do all of the exercises in their workbook, grammar book, extra activity book, etc. ( don’t get me wrong but this is what happens in many Greek language schools, even nowadays. Please, excuse my thoughts and feelings about Greek language schools, it’s what I think, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any good schools.)

    One of the things that I’ve been trying to do, not so successfully though, but it’s just the beginning, is to keep up with technology and listen to my tutor’s advice who has been encouraging me to get involved with it. I must say that I felt a great joy when I first attended online seminars, the second VRT and was able to communicate with all these great people, known or not, around the world. I think we ( meaning the Greek teachers of English) can also make the difference if we have the strong desire to do it. It is sometimes hard, but no gains without pains!

    As for the cliques, I don’t like them and I’ve always avoided them but the way Marisa Constantinides tries to join teachers doesn’t seem a clique to me at all. We should be open to new ideas, and yes, we should communicate with all the teachers and with the important ones, who have laid the foundations of the EFL world and let’s try, we, the ordinary teachers, make this world better. And yes, I want to get involved, I want to be one of the usual suspects who aren’t reluctant teachers, who share their knowledge and who are kind enough to praise the others.

    Well done, Marisa and thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a member of your group!

    • Wow, Toula!

      I am gobsmacked! What a huge change in your attitude to social media and networking and connecting!!!! I am giggling with joy – still remember how we dragged you into Facebook and how suspiciously you used to view this whole thing!

      I am thrilled you have seen how good it is to connect and how fantastic it is to meet educators with a passion for teaching and for change! If this is the age of learning and sharing with total strangers, then I welcome it. There is so much to gain and so little to lose.

      I welcome you to the circle of my usual suspects and hope to be seeing more and more of you in all the usual places!!!

      Keep it up and pass it on! And thank you for this great comment straight from the heart.

      Your tutor

      About Toula Sklavou

      Toula is a teacher of English in Greece who has been working towards obtaining her Cambridge DELTA Diploma. She is keen to improve as a teacher and although she is new to all things Web 2.0, she is an enthusiastic teacher dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in teaching. You can follow her on Twitter as @toulasklavou

  12. As one of “The Usual Suspects”, I didn’t comment on this the first time round because others had already beaten me to it with what I would have said – however it’s encouraging to see that in the intervening months, many new suspects from around the world have been “apprehended” and added to the lineup 😉

    It was good to see this week’s #ELTChat about convincing colleagues of the value of online CPD move the discussion on further.

    Sue

    • Indeed a lot has changed, dear Sue, and the circle of usual suspects has started widening.

      #ELTchat has been a great way of getting teachers into Twitter and I am really happy to be part of this.

      You are certainly on the list of my most wanted!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s