I’ve stumbled across this hashtag recently and it seems a great way of writing down what I, and probably all of us, have been thinking about at this time of year.

As far as I can see, it goes like this: 13 thoughts about 2013 and 14 hopes & plans for 2014, quite a big number as far as I’m concerned, and it’s only going to get more difficult next year!

It reminds me of something I do every night with my own kids, “best bit, worst bit”, where we give a quick resume of our day before bedtime.


1. M.A. – I started an M.A. TESOL with Sheffield Hallam university. It’s not the first distance learning course I’ve done but it’s certainly the most challenging. I love it! I have always thought learning should be a life long experience and the advantage of studying something work-related is the motivation I take to school every morning as I try out the new ideas I’m reading about.

2. New Classes – after taking on one primary class in 2012 I have taken on another one this year. I love the enthusiasm of this age group, as I get older my pupils get younger and younger and I love that.

3. I started TWO blogs this year, firstly a class one, aimed at my students and their parents. All their lessons and worksheets are uploaded – no excuse for not doing the homework, and work produced in class is available for people to see what we have been up to. There are also links to other sites to help learning.

You are reading the second blog, the objective is to post ideas and reflections, on things that went well in lessons, things that didn’t, and reflections on my learning as I undertake an M.A.

4. I helped set up a monthly lunchtime brainstorming session between language teacher in the secondary school where I work, and more importantly, helped keep it going. Some of my colleagues have been teaching, often in the same school, for years. We are a private school so have no inspections, and many have got stuck in ruts of teaching the same lessons every year. Fortunately, this is not the case for everyone and slowly but surely, things are changing.

5. This year I organised and participated in our school trip to Edinburgh in May. 43 pupils aged 14-19 for four days. A wonderful experience that tested both stamina and positive thinking to the core, but many unforgettable moments shared with some lovely kids.

6. LT – I got an ipad this year and it has just changed my teaching, simple as that.

7. Training – I have been to some great training days and workshops, run by CambridgeOxford, and ETAS – the English teachers’ association of Switzerland.

8. More training but this time in the easy-to-digest form of webinars, by Cambridge, Macmillan, Oxford and IATEFL to name a few. Webinars are a godsend to a TEFL teacher miles away from everything and a welcome change to getting up at 4am to get the train to conferences. They are also a very time effective way of keeping up to date in the world of teaching from the comfort of my own sofa while still juggling job, family,etc.

9. Dyslexia & SEN – One of these webinars encouraged me to develop a series of worksheets aimed at colleagues, parents and pupils, full of helpful hints to deal with various SEN, but especially dyslexia. Once again our school moves very slowly and is not keen on doing more than the minimum for pupils with learning difficulties, however I’m pleased to say we’re making progress. I have also started a British council online course and am learning even more about how to help our SEN pupils.

10. This year I prepared pupils for the Cambridge YLE exams for the first time, a great experience and one I’m keen to build on next year.

11.“Appui” -our extra classes on Friday afternoon are nothing new but this year  we’ve done some great things. I’m particularly proud of how many pupils volunteered for my football class, the fashion one was popular too.

12. Reading – I do regret not reading as many novels as usual, but books such as How to TeachThe Lazy teacher’s handbook, and 100 ideas have filled my brain and my bag with new ideas for class.

13. Finally, on a personal level, running the Paris and the Lyon marathons, and especially training for them, has kept me sane and full of endorphins during this busy year.


Now for 2014, personally I think 14 New Year resolutions is a bit ambitious, but here goes;

1. Harrogate – my proposal for a TEFL workshop has been accepted at the IATEFL conference this year, as I have never given a workshop before this is very big and scary.

To prepare for Harrogate I have organised to give a workshop in Geneva (my nearest town) beforehand. I hope this goes well and have already put in another proposal for a different event later in the year. If these go well I think workshops will be something I’d like to develop, although teaching teachers is scary I’m always telling my pupils that if it’s not scary it’s not worth doing, and it’s good to get out of your comfort zone every so often.

2. Although I started it last year, I’m looking forward to getting on with my M.A. It’s so interesting and motivating and I just love the way my brain sizzles when I learn something new, do you remember the sweet powder “gold dust” that we ate as kids? It’s just the same!

3. Thanks to the M.A. I will be undertaking an observation project with colleagues, I’m looking forward to this opportunity to learn and work more closely with my fellow teachers.

4. This year I will be preparing pupils for P.E.T. for schools as well as the Cambridge YLE, another learning curve to conquer!

5. I will also be participating in the school trip to Naples, a wonderful excuse to visit some lovely places and get to know the students in a different context.

…so much for future plans, here are my teaching resolutions

6. I will also continue to get involved with projects such as TES’s A teaching moment in Time. You’ll see my class at 11.11, the pupils thought this was a great idea.

7. Beat my phonology fear by doing at least one phonetics/pronunciation activity per class per week.

8. Use more music in class – at least one song in one class everyday, even if it’s only to set the mood as the  pupils come into class.

9. Make the most of our interactive smartboards and plan at least one lesson on the board per week.

10. As part of my teaching journal I will record at least one class a week, either using the camera or voice recordings.

11. I will regularly reflect on classes, at least twice a week, as part of my teaching journal.

12. I will continue to use Learning Technologies in the classroom, and look out at least one new app a week.

13. I will look for an online coaching course so I can support my pupils who are going through tough times.

14. Yet again, preparation for marathons, this year Paris and Geneva will keep me healthy and happy, as well as showing my students and especially my own children that if you want to achieve something you have to work hard for it.

That’s about it for me, last year was busier, next year promises to be more so, but that’s how I like it.

What about you? What does your #nurture201314 look like?

About fabenglishteacher

enjoying sharing learning
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