My new guest author for the blog is a fantastic teacher I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person during the last IATEFL annual Conference in Brighton. I started interacting with Ania through Ken Wilson’s blog, when we were both guest bloggers around the same time (thank you Ken!!!). Our interaction only increased through twitter and the blogosphere, and I’ve learned much from her. She’s a very passionate teacher, with a knack for using drama in the classroom – something I’ve always been a bit skeptical about using and that I’ve been learning new ways to do it in an effective way.
We were talking about Brad Patterson’s PLN Blog Challenge and she said she wanted to take part in it, but she didn’t have a blog to post on. What??? just my luck, because it gave me a fabulous new guest blogger and the chance of knowing another teacher/friend I admire a little better – not to mention giving the rest of the PLN following this challenge the opportunity to know a bit more about our IATEFL roving reporter. Here’s Ania’s post:
The idea of ELT INTERVIEWS is simple – you choose one member of your PLN and ask 5 standard questions so that we can learn something more about our favourite people on twitter:)
Vladka the Ruler
Vladka comes from Michalovce, a beautiful little town by Zemplinska Sirava dam – the biggest dam in Slovakia. She is an English teacher and works in a State Language School in Kosice, where she teaches general business English to adults and teenagers. She has an MA in Teaching English Language and Literature and Ecology from Presov University in Slovakia and a certificate in Teaching Business English from English Language Centre in Brighton. Vladka is full of surprises and prepares a lot of extra activities and materials for her students. They never know what to expect:) She is also obsessed with colours and crayons (her favourite ones are “tickle me pink” and “spring green” ). Her students are really lucky to have such an enthusiastic and devoted teacher and we can learn about Vladka’s teaching adventures thanks to her blog http://vladimiramichalkova.edublogs.org which she started last year in March.
I have known Vladka for some time – we met in Paris TESOL conference last year – and I have to say – her kindness and friendliness enchanted me. We had a lot of fun in Brighton at IATEFL so I decided to make her „the victim“ of my quick fire questions:)
First I wanted to learn something more about Vladka’s unusual name (Brad’s etymology bug got to me;)) and I came across some information that says her name means „A Great, Peaceful Ruler“. Wow, that is some powerful stuff:) So what did the Ruler herself had to say? Here are Vladimira’s answers:
1) If your students were to label you with 3 adjectives, what might they be?
Vladka hesitated a bit but finally decided on patient, creative and unpredictable because „they never know if I bring a ball, board game to the classroom or ask them to sing nursery rhymes”. (And bear in mind the fact that Vladka teaches adults:))
Well I would like to add something to that picture – I asked some of our PLN members to describe Vladka (with one word only but some of us decided to use more – us teachers, always wanting to elaborate;)) And now a challenge for you – can you guess who said what?
2) What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
This is what Vladka had to say:
„Well, I am not a very good cook and I don’t eat meat when I can choose so now there are broccoli, cheese – two kinds, cherry and apricot jam, apple juice, yoghurt (I don’t like yoghurt in fact) and nothing cooked because I am going to cook tonight after teaching.”
3) If you weren’t a teacher, what might your profession be?
Here the biggest surprise – Vladka would love to be an archeologist, zoologist or a mythologist. Wow, that’s quite a range! I think I would have guessed a zoologist but the other two – never!
4) What do you find most difficult about the teaching profession, or what has been your most difficult class as a teacher?
Here Vladka wanted to concentrate on the most challenging thing when it comes to teaching:
“It certainly is motivation. If you motivate your students, inspire them, then it’s something amazing and it gets back to you. I love it when I am on my way back home after the whole day of teaching (last lesson usually finish at 7:30pm) and I feel energized and encouraged. And then I sing in my car. But to be honest, I sometimes have problems with young children! I just don’t know what to do with them (so please, feel free to give me any advice on how to deal with them :P).”
To be honest I can’t imagine Vladimira having problems with teaching children – she’s so lively, approachable and always full of ideas! And besides – teaching adults is just like teaching (really big) kids:).
And finally the last question:
5) What was the last book/movie you read/saw, and what have you seen/read way too many times?
And here again I learned something new and unexpected
“Hm, last book? I usually read two or three at the same time. I fell in love with Sookie Stackhouse novels and I love everything supernatural or ethereal. I also enjoyed Angelology and now I am reading Smart Swarm. And I am a huge movie fan! Last time I saw Woody Allen’s movie You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger…and I wish I had time to watch again Inception > fantastic movie! The movie I have seen too many times is probably The Matrix. I watched it with friends again and again during one night on astronomy course trip when the night sky was cloudy and we couldn’t watch the meteorites. You can try to count how many times it’s possible to see this film in one night”.
I was curious so I asked Vladka how many times she actually saw it: “Hmm, how many times? Together I must have seen the movie like 20 times, but on that night maybe 4-5 times?? The last time I just woke up in the middle LOL!”
I’m ashamed to admit but… I fell asleep in the cinema when watching The Matrix for the first and only time;) Well, the film was shown at night and I was really tired…Vladka I hope you can forgive me;)
There’s one more thing that I learned about Vladka – she is VERY sporty, she loves Latin dances and swimming and … she represented Slovakia in a lot of running competitions for about 5 years!
She used to run long distance – 1500 to 5 km. Now she still runs for pleasure.
Vladka, Weronika and me in Brighton – Slavic Power Girls ;)
Anna Musielak is a Polish teacher and teacher trainer holding a Ph.D. from Silesian University. She has worked at the military unit, at college, teaching British Literature and Culture and as methodology director in a private language school. She has also published articles on literature, culture and language teaching. At the moment she is working on workshops and teaching English to young learners and adults. She is interested in using drama, music and literature in ELT. You can find her on twitter and get to know (and learn more from her!): @AnnaMusielak