Tuesday, January 15, 2019


The topic on tonight's #CdnELTchat on Twitter is Resolutions in English language teaching (ELT). I could stay up long enough to join in, but then again, that would be breaking one of my personal resolutions. Last fall I decided to make an earlier bedtime a part of my self-care plan. Bedtime for screens is an hour before that, something my naturopathic doc recommended.

The Twitter chat topic is, nevertheless, a great one for me to steal borrow for this week's blog post. I'm taking it in an unusually personal direction.

My life is going through some big shifts right now. A few months ago, I had what Carl Jung once referred to as a "big dream." I've only had about five such dreams in my lifetime. The meaning of the dream was clear. I was giving birth to a new me. This new Kelly is going to be able to state her needs like never before; she will be able to go after what she needs to be healthy and whole.

Shortly after this dream and the reverberations through my psyche, my six-plus-year relationship with my beau fell apart. It had been coasting on fumes for a while, but we had the long overdue conversation that ended it.

Two more events have recently impacted my life. I feel like a planet being pelted by one asteroid after another. The shake-up is good! First I met someone new, someone who is modelling excellent self-care and clear, no-nonsense communication. Second, I got a session with a Jungian life coach (there isn't such a thing; I made that up to describe my gifted friend) that has helped dissolved a complex that had been crippling me for decades. Since the lifting of this complex, I've found myself free from my usual anxiety, once diagnosed as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and beginning to feel much freer of perfectionism, which has also plagued me my whole adult life.

Yeah, I know. I don't usually get this personal on a professional blog, do I? But this tangent is going somewhere, I promise.

Things are shifting in me. Everything is starting to feel healthier, but I don't think this story ends well for my blog or newsletter or cute little MOO cards that I once passed out at conferences.

Six months ago my laptop broke and I couldn't afford at that time to replace it. I discovered that there is life beyond ELT and the hours I was putting into my prep and extracurricular activities. In the beginning, I felt anxious and guilty much of the time. But after a few weeks, I discovered that my students enjoy and benefit from lessons that include more 'Back to the Well' and fewer worksheets. I thank my lucky stars that seniors are not expected to do full-blown PBLA and that my other class consists of just eight CLB 2L learners. That is to say, PBLA is not crushing me the way it is so many of us.

On a personal level, It feels now as if I'm teetering on the brink of something (potentially) very big. A different life is calling me (though not necessarily a different job). My new direction involves art, and not just illustrations for ESL booklets.

I want to give myself space to figure out what is calling to me. That sounds like a great resolution. I hereby resolve to give myself space to hear the still small voice. I also declare this blog a bi-weekly publication. I won't be surprised if it is one day a monthly publication. I'm not steering right now so much as being carried along. It feels amazing.

How about you? Did you participate in this week's #CdnELTchat on Twitter? Do you feel yourself at a crossroads of any sort? Do you have resolutions for this year, professionally or personally?


  1. lol Kelly - I came home at 9.15 (p.m.) because I was preparing tons of paper and stuff for PBLA. This week we introduced the binders to the students. And started to develop the “PBLA Mindset” . “What if the inspectors come?” “How can I do PBLA “properly?” “For years I have had a successful way of teaching. Now my mind is confused. I’m paralysed. I don’t know which way to turn. Today was my worst day ever” (a colleague juggling the paper in the binders, trying to sell the “concept”/fiasco to her students). I was pretty on top of it having spent two hours creating a poster to “introduce PBLA to the students”. Cute, and acute observation from a South American man “Is (this) practical?”.

    So when I got home I joined CdnELTchat “Resolutions” chat late - and the first thing I tweeted - apart from well wishes to all - was my resolution to look for another job! That was kneejerk reaction and actually my resolution is to keep doing what I love doing and not give “Putrid Boring Laughable Ab” any purchase on my life. Can I do it? I can assemble a Billy bookcase from Ikea. So of course I can. Should I? Time will tell. I think my employer - from being the posterchild for PBLA compliance and then some - seems to be beginning to understand that PBLA is not all it cracks itself up to be. I love the agency I work for. I understand the pressure all SPOs are under (but that does not excuse stupidity).

    So...onward and upward.

    “When the student is ready, the teacher(s) comes/come”. This has been so true for me in my life. You, and others, are my teachers. I learn from all. Thanks for sharing. Food for thought.

    I am considering opening a photojournal blog of my PBLA experience...for my own need for logging..no comments from the public..just a journal..I even went to my Blogger account to think if format but I might use wordpress...or not at all. I feel no obligation to anyone but myself. That’s the way it should be.

    Stay well, my friend.

    1. Putrid Bombastic Laughable Absurdity

  2. Sometimes, it's good to have a barrier like a broken laptop pop up to help us see how our time isn't being put to best use. I have less work at the moment, and way more life! Not missing PBLA at all. Also resolving to reduce my time in the workplace to what's necessary, with a small margin beyond that. Meanwhile, I'm exploring cooking and sewing projects, which I'm really enjoying. There will be more work again in the future, but it's nice to coast for a bit.

  3. Like you, I had to decide to step back a little and go slower. I was spending most of my free time making custom exercises for my mixed, Fdn L/1L/1 class, (which included a couple of real anomalies including one student with 2 2 3L PFL) but something inside said "Stop doing that to yourself". Once again, Kelly, you helped. I reminded myself that going back to the well is a great thing. It gives the students security in their grasp of things. I might be raring to dash on to the next thing, to get those assessments in, but they aren't always running alongside. I asked for some burlap for Christmas because I had the idea I'd like to hook a rug after a 25 yr hiatus. So that is what I'm doing in the evenings instead of obsessing about school. I still do as much prep as teaching, but I confine it to the morning. Evenings are 'hands off' unless it's doing something like cutting out flashcards while watching something on TV. I'm sleeping better, and I'm better company. I'm still not sure my teaching is better, but at least I've remembered that there IS life outside ESL.

  4. Christine,
    That makes me so happy! Wish I could see the rug. —KM

  5. I will post a photo when it's done.

  6. Christine - Thank you. I read your blog. Such beautiful writing. You made me look out the window and SEE the snow covered trees.
    I’m going to go for a walk.

    Claudie G
    (I have been having issues posting comments on Blogger through Google - including on my old blogs..pro tem - I’ll try “Anonymous” setting.

  7. Claudie,
    Thank you for making me aware of Christine's blog. What writing! AND she has walked the Camino??? Whoa. I bow down in awe. My (newish) boyfriend is an avid walker. I asked him if he might ever be interested in walking the Camino, but --alas-- he is sun sensitive and only enjoys tree-covered paths. --KM

  8. Claudie Graner1/27/2019 12:15 PM

    I’ve been thinking about an adventure for summer...


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