Tagged for the last time, I hope

This is the Tag-a-Blogger Challenge going around the blogosphere! A fun chain of posts which include 11 random facts about yourself, answers to 11 questions posed by another blogger who tagged you and your 11 questions to other 11 bloggers you tag in your post.

Looks like a chain letter?! Yes, but why not? It’s a fun challenge and being tagged doesn’t mean you must respond, or else!!!

What are the rules? They are simple:

  1. Introduce the person who tagged you.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions posed by the blogger who tagged you.
  4.  List/tag another 11 bloggers.
  5. Put your 11 questions to the bloggers you nominated.

Since I responded on my TEFL Matters Blog twice already,  I thought I would write a double-barrel response to two special ladies, colleagues from Greece  but not in my home town, two bloggers who tagged me after that, before that…. who knows… it doesn’t matter really .

They are Aphro Giouris and Theodora Papanagiotou, so my 11 random facts will be for both of them but I shall answer their 11 questions separately below.

Theodora Papanagiotou


Meet Theodora Papanagiotou, a paussionate Greek teacher from up north (to me), from the beautiful city of Thessaloniki. I first met Dora on Facebook and Twitter and we soon connected and started conversations about teaching and the current state of the ELT education industry in Greece. Dora is forthright and outspoken and I was impressed by her bravado and courage to speak her mind, so much so that I asked her to write a guest post for my Greek blog – which she did and you can read it here. It’s in Greek of course but you can use the Google translator widget to get at least the gist of what she’s talking about in that post. SInce we met, she has gone from strength to strength, has a great blog, presents at conferences and is an all around connected teacher!. Read Theodora’s Blog to find out more about her.

Theodora’s Questions  & my Answers

  1. How important is music to your life?  Music has played a major role in my life both as a listener, as a student of music, as a performer (for a short while) and as a hobby (I dabble into song writing, occasionally) – my brother is a musician who was a member of a really popular pop band in the 70’s , Greek colleagues may have heard of the Idols (or so I hope), and now his son, Andrew, is building a musical career as Drew Melody – so a musical family has framed the backdrop of my life for many years 🙂
  2. How much time do you devote in your job24/7!!!
  3. Share a funny thing that happened in class. I can’t think of anything in particular at the moment although there are many times when things can go wrong in any class and we always end up giggling uncontrollably. We need more laughter in classrooms, don’t we?
  4. What does the word “educator” mean in your opinion? To me, an educator is an agent of change with the sole aim of helping learners stop needing an educator!
  5. If you could learn anything, what would that be? I would love to be able to fly an airplane and to learn to compose music on my laptop, something which I always say I will find time to learn and then I never do!!! I would also love to learn advanced web design – am really only a dabbler but need to learn more.
  6. What is your favourite movie? I have several, but I always end up mentioning The cook, the thief, his wife and her lover as well as The Green Mile, two movies which I consider memorable and I never tire of watching again and again.
  7. Fears...What do you fear the most? I wish I could claim I was entirely fearless of anything but have the usual human fears – mostly I am afraid of heights. I had a terrible accident/fall when I was 13 which nearly cost me my life and since then, I have been really edgy when anywhere high up.
  8. If you could live anywhere, where would that be?  I dream of a house on a beach where I wake up in the morning and from bed, I dive straight into crystal blue waters! I used to live in one in the summers when I was a child – and want that feeling back again.
  9. What is your favourite word? I don’t think I have one but I love the sounds of some words – like ‘absolutely’ and ‘Philadelphia’, possibly the consonant combinations please my ear!
  10. What is your favourite digital app? I use quite a few on my iPhone and iPad and I particularly love Evernote, which I use a lot for taking field notes during teacher observations (a blog post on this is cooking as we speak) and all the apps that are accessible from all my devices, like Dropbox, Skybox, Flipboard and many more. For teaching, I am really fond of Educreations, a wonderful app for recording errors, corrections, showing images and sending all those goodies to your learners
  11. Do you have any lucky items, objects or traditions?  No particular objects come to mind. I don’t believe in things like that but i believe that luck comes to those who not only take but give back to others, who pay it forward. In that sense, my good luck charm is my community of peers and my PLN.

my musical family 

Aphro Giouris


Meet Aphro Giouris, another passionate Greek teacher from central Greece, from the city of Larissa and, like Theodora, I met her through Facebook and Twitter and have watched her blossom as a connected teacher and blogger. Aphro teaches primary school and has ‘caring is sharing’ as her personal motto!!! I was thrilled to meet her in Thessaloniki recently and she is always sunny and positive – I suspect her primary school kids must simply adore her!!!!

Visit her blog, ELT Inspired to find out her ideas and adventures in ELT and new technologies. It’s an absolute delight and writing this post gave me the opportunity to read the many great posts she has written.

Aphro’s Questions  & my Answers:

  1.  What are you most proud of?   If I am proud of anything it’s the fact that I have managed to create and maintain a teacher training centre in Greece and that we do better every year . I feel proud when I hear teachers say I have inspired them with a drive for excellence and a passion for continuous development. I am also quite proud to be part of a truly great international PLN and to have daily contact with so many great teachers.  
  2. How will you know if you have lived a full life?  I am not sure quite how to answer this question – I believe I have lived a life that’s full of learning and to me that’s quite important – it may not be for someone else but for me it is. 
  3. What is your biggest fear?  I have many different fears, small sized and medium sized, like most people, I talked about the fear of heights in answer to Theodora’s question. 
  4. Who has had the greatest impact on your life?  I guess people who in one way or another pushed me to go out of my comfort zone even when I didn’t have very much confidence in myself and thought that there were people far better suited for this or that job than me. There was always a gentle hand there pushing me to go forward. I would like to be the same kind of hand for as many of my own student teachers as I can because I have truly been blessed with great people in my life myself.
  5.  If Hollywood made a movie about your life what would it be rated and who would be the star? I doubt that my life story is Hollywood material ! 
  6. Who is the most important person in your life? Any learner or student teacher I am focusing on at any point – I feel a weight of responsibility and always worry about the impact I have on my trainees’ learning, their development and their career. 
  7.  If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go? I would try to go everywhere! And if I could afford to travel anywhere, I fear I would not come back at all!
  8.  If you could do anything in the world without fear of failure what would you do ? Publish my music!!! And perform it!!! Also publish my own coursebook 🙂 
  9. If I asked your best friends your 3 best qualities what would they say? I asked them myself, to be quite honest, but I don’t believe them because they are my best friends – isn’t that what friends are for? 
  10. If you only had six months to live what would be the top 10 things you would do? I feel a list coming on!!!!!  
    1. I would visit Australia to see it and reconnect with family – I would also go to Japan and may be even do JALT!!!
    2. I would hire a chauffer to drive me everywhere – I hate to drive!
    3. I would also buy a scooter. 😀 I used to have one and I love the sensation of tearing around on that thing!!!!
    4. I would eat at the best restaurants and blow money which I save for a rainy day 🙂
    5. I would travel to see as many faces of my PLN as possible – Brazil is definitely on the cards here!
    6. I would eat whatever I wanted,. stop worrying about my weight and drink loads of margharitas and caipirinhas!!
    7. I would write a book about Greek ELT – some little known facts 🙂  All shall be revealed! 😀
    8. I would start a competition for excellence in ELT in my country where teachers are not appreciated as much as they should – I would pay the media to promote it properly and make it into a big thing
    9. I would stop doing ANY kind of housework which I also don’t enjoy doing
    10. I would use time off housework to read some of the books I have not had time to read and listen to music I always put off listening to again
  11.  What is your biggest regret?  I used to think I made a mistake when I didn’t stay in the UK to work for a university there – I came back because my father needed me. But, in retrospect, I have had so much more fun making my own mistakes with my own training centre I don’t know if I should feel sorry! I will never be rich but I will never be sorry either! 
I would travel andnever come back!!!

I would travel  and travel and never come back!!!

And now 11 more Random Facts about me 

Phew! Difficult to fish out more random facts that I didn’t share in my previous posts but here goes – the ultimate ego trip, talking about ourselves!  Ok this time, I will talk mostly about my career and especially my beginnings.

  1. I spent a year as a language teacher without training – a time I recall with abject embarrassment. The following summer, I enrolled on a course and that was the proper start of my TEFL career.
  2. I was in fact fired from my next job for having participated in a 6-month sit-in,. Details on request. I don’t want lawsuits from the Hellenic American Union though they won’t have a leg to stand on.
  3. During those 6 months  I was a also employed as  in-house teacher trainer for a staff of 60 teachers and my employer did not fire me when she heard about the sit-in, though I offered to resign. Very characteristically, she asked “Have a set a wolf to guard the sheep?”, then I said, well, I am ready to go but she wanted to know why – when I told her she said “If I worked there, I would be in the sit-in too. You are not leaving.’ For this I will always have tremendous respect for Gina Pagoulatou-Vlachou.
  4. I have worked as a free-lance teacher trainer for Longman (now Pearson), OUP and Heinemman (now Macmillan) which is where I met hundreds of teachers – very useful connections when I did set up my own centre.
  5. Before setting up CELT Athens, I was involved in quite a few summer courses which I was asked to design and teach on organised by PALSO Federation. In those good old days, they paid for school owners from all over Greece to follow proper training courses at different locations in Greece !!! I ran courses in various places in Greece, the first one near Heraklion, Crete, then Kalamata, Kammena Vourla and the last two years in Athens. I met and trained so may school owners it was amazing!
  6. I was involved in partnerships twice before CELT Athens – both bombed for different reasons: the first one because I had different ideas about training, the second, because I had worn off my use, which was to set up CELT and the courses for two very nice people who then got rid of me and continued on their own 🙂
  7. I started CELT entirely penniless, no money and no trainees, and set up on a shoestring. The second day of opening, a school called me up and asked me if I would organize and host a 30-hour course for their teachers! I am always grateful to that school owner, Elpida Papadantonaki. She later became my trainee on the Diploma and sent all her teachers old and new hires to follow our CertTEFL course. This was mega-major support for a new training centre and it went on for years.
  8. I have taught the whole gamut of the Diplomas, since they were RSA Dip. DTEFLA and DOTE, then taken over by Cambridge and witnessed the sluggish pace of turning these into DELTA and now the Modular DELTA.
  9. I have acres and acres of seminar input material which cover the shelves of a whole room – one day I am hopeful that some of them will find their way into a trainer book.
  10. I still take ages to write blog posts – which is why this one is so late; this is because I have to do so many other things at the same time and, well, you know what we’ve learnt, our poor brain can’t mutlitask all that well!
  11. Famous last random fact: These days, I spend so many hours looking at a screen and believing I am with friends that it must be a whole new concept of what reality is. I live a virtual life in webinar rooms, chat rooms and Second Life but I think I am now a much more connected teacher and teacher educator than in the days BSM (before social media) – so meet me on Facebook and Twitter (where I hang out every Wednesday on #ELTchat) and connect with me on this marvellous new learning adventure.

My Nominees – I am tagging you!

And now my own nominees – I have chosen to nominate some of my own recent trainees just to encourage them to start blogging and I think this challenge is a wonderful opportunity to start them off blogging either on our/their own blogs for their  CELTA or DELTA courses where they are free to blog, or to get their own blog started!

I am not mentioning everyone because Joanna Malefaki beat me to it so if any of you pick pick up the challenge, pay it forward and nominate some of the other trainees in your group please.

I also believe that since I have been tagged by TWO bloggers, I have the right to nominate TWO lots of people so here is my list of 22!!!

  1. Rena Zagkla
  2. Michelle Politis
  3. Periklis Chatzikyriakidis
  4. Nualla Hayes
  5. Theodore Lalos
  6. Pedro Gomez
  7. Carmen Ignat
  8. Lina Sapounadeli
  9. Tina Kyriakou
  10. Danilo Tiutiun
  11. Victoria Zurakowski
  12. Lia Kallianos
  13. Vassiliki Matzaris
  14. Christopher Pappas
  15. Lida Lambropoulou
  16. John Vournous
  17. Eric Benson
  18. Julie Raikou
  19. Lorna Gilbert
  20. Manos Koutsoukos
  21.  Georgia Georgogiannis
  22. Peggy Lee

I will make sure I email them, notify them on Facebook and, in fact hound them until they get out there in the blogosphere 🙂

My 11 Questions 

  1. What are the top three qualities as a teacher that you aspire to?
  2. Describe your dream teaching situation, classroom, school, the works!
  3. Name three classroom activities which have always got your students talking like there is no tomorrow!
  4. What is your favourite technique or app for error correction?
  5. Which approach to teaching grammar do you favour the most?
  6. Name your top three websites or pages where you get great ideas for teaching – please provide links
  7. Do you play any games online? Which ones?
  8. Are you a Twitter user? If so, how do you benefit from Twitter? If not, what is stopping you?
  9. What are your greatest ambitions in your TEFL career?
  10. If you were asked to present a paper at a conference, which topic would you choose?
  11. If you don’t have a blog today, what would be your chosen name for your future blog? If you do, tell us its name, link and what you write about

No more tags please!

And that concludes my ‘tagged’ posts. No more challenges will be taken up – I have written three already – thank you very much for tagging me if you have, but I have revealed enough, the rest is for the birds!!!!!

My other two ‘tagged; posts

Photo Credits:

yuan2003 via Compfight cc & Screenshot from same for travel images and some family snaps

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