Getting to know a PLN star… an interview with Shelly Terrell

For those of you who don’t know, Brad Patterson (@brad5patterson) suggested a challenge to the PLN. If you haven’t heard of it yet, the premise is simple.  Ask a member of your PLN  5 standard questions, which you’ll see below, and from there, get to know them in ways that you might not otherwise have the chance to on twitter or other social media. As soon as he proposed I called “shotgun” on Shelly :-) Hope you enjoy it!

That's how you usually see Shelly - with her radiant, warm smile :-) and tweeting of course!

Shelly is one of the first people any educator who joins twitter should start following. She’s a passionate educator (and calls her PLN the Passionate Learning Network), keynote presenter, mobile learning enthusiast (There’s an app for anything!), web conferences organizer, webinar presenter, social media goddess and… the best friend one could have. She’s the most supporting person and a true dynamo. I don’t know where she finds energy to do everything she does, but I’m glad she does. I was fortunate enough to meet Shelly face to face last January in Yorkshire when we both took part in Berni Wall’s (@rliberni) fantastic Professional Development Week Workshop – it was friendship at first sight! We shared a room and would stay up til 6am talking… She’s been a true friend ever since, being there for me whever I needed and it was an immense pleasure to be able to interview her for this challenge!

The 5 Standard Questions:

If your students were to label you with 3 adjectives, what might they be?

Playful, caring, supportive

(Why am I not surprised… 3 adjectives that definitely fit Shell like a glove)
What would we find in your refrigerator right now?

Lots of German beer, Coke 0, soy burgers, lactose free milk & in my cabinet chickpeas and blackbeans because this is pretty much what I eat everyday.
(As a coke o addict myself, I can vouch for her answer here… Simon Greenall (@simongreenall) could barely keep up with our drinking habit when he was our host in Oxford!

If you weren’t a teacher, what might your profession be?
I would be a beach bum with a seriously cute surfing pug, Rosco. Seriously, though, I would be running my nonprofit organization I started years ago that I had to give up. Artists, musicians, poets, and writers came together to teach homeless children, gang members, and troubled youth how to express themselves through art, writing, and/or music. We would raise money by throwing these incredible shows in this huge warehouse that had been renovated to serve as art studios. Then we would get together weekly to talk about how we would improve the community through creativity and art. These were some of the best moments of my life. Ethos achieved the SAMMinistries 2001 Volunteer Group of the Year Award for the creation of a music and arts program for homeless children.
Thanks to this challenge I learned about this part of Shell’s life… which only validates her commitment to education and the transforming power of it. I hope she can pick up her organization from where she left it and continue to spreading love, education and transformation soon… And as for Rosco, he’s the only dog who’s glared at me (when I lectured him about farting while his mom was holding him)… pretty amazing ;-)
What do you find most difficult about the teaching profession, or What has been your most difficult class as a teacher?
The most difficult thing about the teaching profession is the politics that get in the way of supporting good teachers. My most difficult class was in Germany. I co-taught at an English camp for German speaking children. The class consisted of 20 children between the ages of six- to seven-years-old who spoke and understood very little English. On the first day, I received a less than warm welcome. The children ran around the classroom flying paper airplanes. They climbed the walls literally because there were bars on the wall to hang the floor mats! They ignored me, since I knew as much German as they knew English. The worst part of the week was that one little boy was treated as an outcast and the children were quite cruel to him. We experienced many behavior problems.
As an educator I can certainly relate to that… politicians know nothing about teaching and education, and only get in the way…
What was the last book/movie you read/saw, and what have you seen/read way too many times?
I am currently reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac and Dance, Dance, Dance by Haruki Murakami.
The last movie I saw was with you for our Skype date. Remember we saw Just Go With It with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston?
I buy several copies of a book, A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, so that I can give it to my friends. I have even read this book to an exboyfriend who hated reading. LOL! I have watched The Wedding Singer, Heathers, and Dirty Dancing way too many times. That’s really the reason I don’t sleep because I am too busy trying to make up the time I spent watching these movies. I actually spent an entire summer with friends watching Heathers once a day for the entire summer! Talk about die hard fans.
Yes… I remember! For our readers, a brief explanation…Shelly and I have movie Skype dates, where we start watching the same movie at the same time, and we skype while we do it, so we comment on the scenes and laugh a lot…. It’s a lot of fun! We had some bad movie choices, but the last one was a perfect chick-flick – just what we needed that night! As for Dirty Dancing… well, Ania Musielak also mentioned it on her interview to James Taylor, and I have to admit it seems its influence transcends cultural borders. I know most of the lines on that movie by heart and have the special edition DVD. Because “nobody puts baby in the corner!”
The Extra Questions:
From all the places you have visited, which did you like the most? Which is the most beautiful?
I have traveled to 16 countries and 100s of cities. I am the worst at choosing; therefore, I’ll name top 5 which are the beaches of Mexico, Barcelona, Alghero, and Austria. I really loved Brighton Beach too but it may be because I got to make memories with so many friends.

Lunch at the Brighton beach... Marisa Constantinides, Shelly, me and James Taylor... after fish 'n ' chips, of course!


If you worked in a circus, which would be your number?
The trapeze girl for sure although I’m deathly afraid of heights.
Whisky Tango Foxtrot???? Afraid of height trapeze girl??? that’s be something to see…

 What do you indulge in when you’re having a hard time?
Give me a beach. I’m pretty obsessive about being at a beach.
Yeah… any time you looked around in Brighton and couldn’t find Shelly, you just had to go down to the beach to find her… the force the beach and the ocean have over Shelly is unexplainable. (not: I don’t know whether I should mention this here, but Brazil has some amazing beaches… just saying ;-))
What’s your hidden talent? Something you do really well that no one from the PLN knows?

I invented a kiss. It’s a Fish Bubble kiss. Actually my 2 younger sisters and I invented this kiss we give on the back of people’s’ hands.
Ok… I am currently with a sign up sheet for people who want to find out about that kiss on the next tweetup… If you feel like getting  a Fish Bubble kiss, please send your name to me and I’ll send details on how to get it ;-)
After the questions, I thought it’s be nice to do a “ping-pong” with Shelly, where I’d give her prompts and she’d have to say the first thing that came to mind… We did this through Wetoku, so here’s the video:





Hope you join Brad’s challenge!!!! Choose a PLN member and let us know more about him/her!

For other posts on the Challenge read:

Don’t CC Ceci, send her a To  – by Brad Patterson

ELT Blog Challenge: An Interview with Anna Musielak – by James Taylor