Saturday, July 18, 2020

A Good Run

Ten years is a good run. It is longer by five years than the length of time I had ever stuck with one employer. I am sad to be leaving a good organization, a team of wonderful colleagues, and my beloved students, but recognize that my teaching was stagnating. The wind had gone out of my sails.

The combination of PBLA and its sickening effect on our field, a need for new horizons, and the call of filial duty has made for the perfect storm.

Learning to teach English to newcomers is without a doubt the most satisfying calling I've ever found, a most perfect fit for my skills set. I leave with a treasure trove of precious memories, many of them memorialized on this blog and on my two classroom blogs.

I am starting life over in Arkansas, having downsized my earthly possessions until my life fits into a small guest bedroom in my mother's house. Wish me well, please, as I learn anew how to navigate life in the US, life in the South, and begin to seek my next livelihood. I will be thinking of all of you as you try to adapt to teaching in these very different times.

Do reach out if you find a broken link on my website or are desperate for a particular sort of resource. Who knows, I may just be able to help.

Don't forget me.










44 comments:

  1. Kelly, you will never be forgotten. Thank you for your many and diverse contributions to Canadian ELT. Thank-you for your generosity in sharing not just your well-designed and useful materials, but for sharing your space here on your blog as well. I wish you all the best in wherever your path takes you next.

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    1. Thank you, Bonnie. It's been really good working in this field with you. KM

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  2. Aww. Best of luck to you. I hope you find your new calling with lots of wind in your sails.

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    1. Thanks, Tyson. I heard so much about you over the years and am sorry I never got to meet you. KM

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  3. Toni Cassidy7/18/2020 8:01 PM

    Dear Kelly,

    I will remember you for your fierce loyalty.

    What a great time to start an amazing adventure and adventures are always good. I've never been to Arkansas and now I have a reason to go. Canada will be a little less wonderful without you.

    Stay well.

    Hugs,
    Toni

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    1. That's a really sweet thing to say, Toni. Your words mean a lot. KM

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  4. You are a treasure. A go to blog when I began teaching literacy students 3 years ago. I know that wherever you go, you will be enhancing someone's life... but it's sad to know you are no longer an active member of our ESL community in Canada. THANK YOU SO MUCH Kelly. (I'm the person who also liked the film "A Serious Man".)

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    1. Aw, cool! Take good care of those literacy students. It makes me happy to think of all the good work being done out there by people like you. KM

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  5. Thank you Kelly for always being willing to share. Good luck with everything!

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    1. Thank you, Aida, for taking the time out to say that. :) KM

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  6. Stella Baker7/19/2020 6:58 AM

    You are and always will be a shining star of a human being and a passionate educator. I feel fortunate to have met you. 10 years at your speed and depth is an admirable run, Kelly, and so many people, students and peers, gratefully quenched their thirst from your "well". Onward to the next adventure and the best of luck to you.

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    1. Stella, I'm so happy we got to meet that day in London. Our conversation left a deep impression on me, and it had nothing to do with teaching or English but about what it means to stand in your own power as a strong woman without apology. KM

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  7. Best of luck going forward, Kelly. Your perspective will be missed.

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    1. Thank you, Anon 10:45. Gosh, this is just like old times airing our PBLA grievances. Lots of anonymous commenters. ;) Kelly

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  8. Claudie Graner7/19/2020 10:59 AM


    Kelly - I will never forget you and you will always be in my heart as a good and true friend. Your courage and wisdom, your compassion and sense of justice found expression in curating this blog at a time of pain and crisis for many ESLers. You provided a safe refuge, a venue for thoughtful, practical, responsible voices that gave strength, comfort and hope to so many in a time of darkness. Some may think I exaggerate. I do not. Thank you.
    Carpe diem, go safely, be happy, I’m excited for you.
    But I will miss you.

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine upon your face; the
    rains fall soft upon your fields
    and until we meet again,
    may God hold you in the palm of their hand.
    Love,
    Claudie

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    1. Thank you, dear Claudie. I will think of you every time I look at the fridge magnet from the Agha Khan. We have fought the good fight. Keep dancing. K

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  9. Thank you, Cheryl / Sherri! KM

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  10. Thank you for your wonderful blog. It gave me so much guidance and help as I navigated Literacy. Thank you for all the hard work you put in. I wish you all the best in this new chapter.

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    1. Thank you, Candice, for letting me know that my site helped you out. Take care. KM

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  11. Best wishes on your next chapter!

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    1. Thank you, Diane. I'll miss seeing you in Toronto each year. KM

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  12. Thank you for a decade of commitment to newcomer settlement and teacher support in ELT. You'll probably never truly know the full reach of your influence, either on the learners you've impacted or the teachers you've helped. We're all made better by voices of advocacy, reason, and resources. Safe travels!

    Linda M

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    1. Linda, what a sweet note. Thank you. KM

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  13. I will not forget you! All the best to you Kelly.
    Gaby

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  14. Thanks, Gaby! Good luck. KM

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  15. I have been a fan of your site for the last two years. The ideas and resources you shared have been valuable to me and my learners. Thanks for sharing and thanks for advocating for us. I wish the best for you and your family.

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    1. Bernice, thank you so much for letting me know that my resources have helped you and your learners. That's the best! KM

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  16. It is indeed the end of an era...but new things can happen. I'm still teaching but learning how to use power tools!
    I wish you all the best and thank you so much for blessing us with your enthusiasm and creativity.

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    1. Marcia, power tools, eh? That sounds fun. I think we all need a second skills set just in case. KM

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  17. Thank you for your commitment to the learners and your colleagues both near and far. Your blog posts about PBLA helped me to feel not alone in my struggles. I will truly miss your posts, perhaps you will find time to keep us posted on your next adventure. (Interesting side note, I have been working in the LINC program for 10 years and due to contract changes my position has come to an end... it seems we are on the same path?) Thank you again! You've given me hope in and out of the classroom.

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    1. Sharon, thank you. It heartens me a lot each time I hear that exact thing: that the blog, after the advent of PBLA, helped many feel less alone. That's too bad about the end of your position. Let's see what the future holds for us both! KM

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  18. I hope that you'll find a way to use all the skills you've developed in your new environment. Thank you for your devotion, enthusiasm, encouragement, and for all the great resources you've shared with us. Like you, right now, I'm not teaching ESL. I miss it, but the time away from total immersion in my work has reminded me that there are other rewarding things in the world; like my garden, and reading, and writng, and photography, and even housework! I know you will turn your situation into something special and rewarding. Good luck down there, and don't forget to VOTE!!

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  19. Christine, I will never forget YOU since your smiling face is forever linked to one of my most embarrassing moments. ;) Rest assured I always exercise my right to vote. Here's to more time for gardening, cooking, sewing, reading, writing and even housework. Kelly

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  20. I'm shocked to read of this enormous loss to our TESL community. What a shining example you have been to us all with your generosity, dedication, and bravery. You will truly be missed. Will you stop in now and again, at least on Twitter, and check in with us?

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    1. Nancy, Good to hear from you. I'm not sure about checking in, as I'm going through a radical life change that could include going off social media altogether and a return to snail mail. Like the world, everything is in flux now, and I don't know what life will look like after it all settles out again. Hugs, Kelly

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  21. Oh darn it. :-( I hate goodbyes. Arkansas? Wow! Are you from the U.S? I've enjoyed your words and your resources so much. I wish you all the best. Sara

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    1. Hi, Sara,
      Yes, I am from the U.S. It's funny that my first TESL gig was as a pronunciation teacher for four lunch hours per week, and my then supervisor later said that had he known I was from Arkansas, he would not have hired me as a pronunciation teacher.
      Thank you for your well wishes. It's been the most rewarding ten years of my life. --KM

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  22. Hi Kelly, I have been reading your blog since 2017 and shared it with other ESL teachers on the West Coast. Thank you for creating a digital platform for LINC teachers to criticize and protest against PBLA. I resigned from my LINC teaching position in 2018 because I refuse to prep, mark, and give feedback for free. The system is unfair to teachers' bottom line and detrimental to students' progress. This blog was a place of refuge and sanity. I am sorry to see you moving on because I love coming here to read your posts and everyone's comments. I wish you success: financial, personal and professional. You are a brave and talented person. I am sure you will find people in Arkansas who will appreciate and value your skills!

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    1. Anonymous August 1st:
      I always get a special kick out of it when teachers in distant provinces know my blog. That's so cool. On a more serious note: you are one of the handful who stood up and walked out, refusing to go along with--yes--a system detrimental to our students' progress and exploitative to us. I wish you well in whatever you've chosen to do next. Hug. --KM

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  23. Hi Kelly,
    I am sorry not to have been on this page for a while to miss the news...
    So many warm words have been said to you and about you - what can I add? I feel sorry for the students at the school you worked - I hope they can get someone comparable, but knowing how difficult it is to help literacy learners, I doubt it.
    Your commitment to your students is hard to match, and the skills and thoughtfulness take time and effort to develop.
    I will keep sending my TESL students to your teaching resources, and wishing you best of luck in the new chapter!

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    1. Yuliya, I am honoured to know you send your students to my resources. I hope we can keep tabs on each other over the years. I admire your strength and know I'll never forget you or the part you have played and are playing in protecting the integrity of our profession. --Kelly

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  24. Oh Kelly, I'm sad to discover this just now. I hope you are settling in well in Arkansas. It's a beautiful place, and I'm sure it's filled with beautiful people, if you are our example! All the best. Joleen

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    1. Joleen, what a treat to have a comment signed with a real name. Thank you for your very kind words. I am starting to settle in, and yes, Arkansas is SO beautiful and filled with lovely people. Take good care of yourself and yours. --KM

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Thank you for participating in this forum. Anonymous commenting is available, but is not intended to shield those taking pot shots at those of us challenging PBLA. If you are here to do that, please use your name.