Sunday, January 14, 2018

One Door Closes

My friend and mentor, Dr. John Sivell, who prefers to be addressed simply as John, has decided it's time for him to shift his attention and energies to new projects and endeavours. It's a sad time for him, for his students, and for all of us who looked forward to hearing from him at conferences. 

With his enormous intellect and huge heart, he has given so much to our profession, to teachers in training, to former students, and to me. This last one was something I could only have dreamed of without ever expecting it to happen. I was not even one of his students at Brock, yet he suggested that we co-present at the annual TESL Ontario conference. I was nervous and doubtful, freaking out over every detail while he calmly finished his lunch just minutes before we were to go on.

All of John's emails bear a signature quote at the bottom: The highest good is like water... - Tao Te Ching: 8. I never asked him about it because I instantly understood. I saw that he lived that way. When asked to travel four hours to co-present with me for my affiliate chapter of TESL Ontario, though we could only offer an honorarium that barely covered lodging and gas, he gladly came. He and his wife, Daeng, supped with me and my partner. When I stopped in at his home on my way to Niagara, Daeng prepared a wonderful Thai meal.

John taught me much, and I know I'll never have another friend quite like him.

While John is looking forward to devoting more time to travel and fiction writing, new doors are also opening for me. ATESL has reached out to me in response to a member's request to have us (now just me) repeat the Fast Equals Slow webinar. Right about the same time as that invitation came in, I also got an invitation to be the plenary presenter at the spring conference of another affiliate chapter of TESL Ontario. Of course I have accepted both and am already immersed in thoughts about how I want to change the scope and content of what was once 'our' presentation. Now it's my baby, and my brain is flooded with ideas.

On a completely different note, tonight I finished a 19-page activity pack to complement the Bow Valley College ESL Literacy Reader Mary Gets Sick. It took an entire week of evenings and much of my weekend to create. I think parts of it could be used with CLB 1 and 2 as well as with CLB 2L. I hope that anyone downloading it from my website (LITERACY - HEALTH) will leave me a comment.

Be well. Let me know what you're up to.


  1. \You are my guardian angel!!!! I'm just starting Maria Gets Sick this week! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I'll let you know how the students like the materials.

    1. Christine,
      Wow, what synchronicity, eh? Thank you SO MUCH for letting me know. I can't wait to hear what worked and what sorts of changes you suggest. --K