Sandy Millin, what’s your WHY?

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Age: 33

Origins: England

Current roles: Director of Studies, IH Bydgoszcz; CELTA trainer.

Previous teaching experience: 10 years, mostly in various IH schools, including in the Czech Republic, the UK, other countries in Europe, South America, Asia and North America.

WHY?

To enable others to communicate.

To help to spread professionalism through English language teaching.

HOW?

By ensuring that students feel comfortable experimenting with language in my classroom.

By finding ways to boost the confidence of students and teachers.

By being mental health aware.

By being as professional as I can be in everything I do (leading by example).

By investing time in my own development and that of the teachers I work with.

By sharing ideas for development online and face-to-face.

WHAT?

Experiment with methods of language learning myself.

Pass on the things that work to the students.

Try out different ways of approaching teaching to see which ones my students respond to, for example task-based learning.

Create a relaxed environment in the classroom, for example by playing music (if students want it) when they are talking in pairs.

Make sure I know all of the students’/trainees’ names, and that they know each other’s names.

Point out students’ successes in class.

Point out teachers’ successes.

Ask questions that remind teachers of the positive things that happened in their classrooms, not just the negative things.

Focus on a maximum of three things for teachers to improve on in their own teaching at any one time – any more than that can be overwhelming.

Show teachers Emma Johnston’s talk:

Have an open-door policy.

Tell teachers about the things that I’m working on as a teacher, DoS and trainer.

Ask them questions about what they’re working on.

Record my own lessons for teachers at our school to watch as peer observations.

Encourage teachers to record their lessons and see themselves in action.

Continue working on staying calm, even when things are frustrating me. Displaying this calm through an even tone of voice, a normal or quiet volume, and neutral body language.

Write my blog.

Write ebooks that give guidance for reflection through structured tasks and questions.

ELT Playbook 1 cover

Contribute to journals.

Always explain things clearly – don’t assume that people already know what a term means for example. Use terminology when it helps, and avoid it when it will make something less clear.

Go to conferences.

Present at conferences.

Watch webinars.

Present webinars.

Read blogs.

Help other people to set up their own blogs or social media presence, but only if they want to.

Listen to teaching- and language-related podcasts.

Share links in general through social media and this blog. Send specific links to specific people who I know might benefit from them.

Participate in #ELTchat.

*Original blog post on Sandy’s blog here*

Other articles in the What’s your WHY? series

Bronte Rose Ainsley

Alister McCarty

James Egerton (yours truly)

Is yours next?

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