It’s been a while…

…since I last posted here. I meant to in summer as I, we, had the opportunity of interviewing a very interesting old(ish) man on the history of #Piazzatorre in #ValBrembana in the #Alps where we usually go on holiday. As usual, I found ten billion other things to do and didn’t get round to transcribing the interview nor the talk we attended. I promise I will get it done before going up this year.

There have been a few changes in my life so I do have a relatively good bunch of excuses:

I was off sick last summer – mainly for my migraines- and decided to buy a house…as one does!

I’ve bought a house!

I got a promotion last month and am now overwhelmed with stuff that needs doing!

I’ve started studying something new (nope, not finished Delta. That’s planned for December). Challenging and different from what I’m used to.

Haven’t quite gone back to #running regularly but that’s the next thing to tick on my to-do list…along with regular blogging about ELT stuff that’s going round and round in my head.

Thought I’d start with this tonight.

Goodnight to you all!

Asylum seekers, refugees & migrants: Discuss


I teach, and have always taught, mostly adult-student-customers in private language schools. If you’re like me, you teach grammar and lexis, help students developing writing and listening skills, and focus on communication of meaning. Meaning, but not content. Not ideas. Or beliefs. Or values. Or knowledge or ignorance. Because, like me, you’re just an English teacher.

But my wise Delta tutor once made a useful distinction being just a teacher and being an educator, reminding us that we shouldn’t forget about being the latter. What she meant, I think, is obvious to anyone who sticks their head out of ELT for a moment, and pushes aside, if just for a moment, all the talk about exam performance and teacher accountability, and thinks back to the idea of a school teacher that predated our corporate model of an efficient, corporate school measuring its success in spreadsheet-ready KPIs.

Educators are more than just…

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67 today. A personal post on listening to your body and on #cancer awareness.

Be warned, this post is a little sad (and could be considered inappropriate by some)

My mum would have been 67 today. She passed away 5 years ago, a few weeks before her 62nd birthday. It was terrible for all of us, family and friends.

I miss her. Maybe now more than before. There are times I find myself thinking ‘I need to tell Mami’. When I dream of her (yelling at me in our family-owned restaurant because I’m not doing my job properly!), I know I’m under pressure and need a break.

It all sounds very sad, I know. Yet, I am happy, grateful, she was with us for almost 12 years more that we expected. My mum, Jo, had had some health issues over the years so she tried to get regular medical check-ups.

Mum knew that something wasn’t quite right so she insisted on getting herself tested. She discovered she had breast cancer when she was 50. It was bad, very bad but, because she was extremely stubborn and loved life, she fought. Mum was in the operating theatre in January and then went through both radio and chemotherapy. Over the next 11 and a half years Mum went into hospital time and time again but she was tough and fought her invisible enemy.

Had my  mother not listened to her body, she would have been lost to me long ago.

Remember to listen to your body and have regular check-ups

My sister and I have regular, annual, check-ups.

I skipped by ultrasound last year so my doc suggested I get a mammogram as I was almost 40. Skipped that too. When I went in this February, I was so worried my teeth were chattering. This is not going to happen again!


  • Listen to your body. Speak to your GP if you think something is not quite right, don’t let send you away without a proper answer.
  • Ladies: check your breasts monthly and get an ultrasound/sonogram once a year. Speak to your gynecologist and get your smear tests done.
  • Gentlemen: probably a little more embarrassed when it comes to talking about personal issues but please do get your private parts checked. If there has been a history of breast cancer in your family, you should tell your doctor.


Tell your GP if you notice anything unusual. You know your body!

Some links to websites ( a bit emotional at the moment so I’ll edit and add info on the links later on)



A blog post which leads you to… another blog post!

I’m cheating. This is a post I’ve already posted in the university’s Community of Practice.

I know it may sound like an odd title for a blog post but this is exactly what it does

Last summer I was approached by Pearson English to write an article/ blog post on using technology in the classroom. Truth be told, I thought it would take me very little time to write- that’s not exactly what happened. The more I thought about what to write and what not to, the more I realised there was actually wanted to include.

You see, I’ve never been a fan of technology and I’m quite slow at implementing new ‘techie’ stuff. The first draft was really negative, so negative that I put it aside for a couple of weeks! When I sat down to edit it, I ended up rewriting it almost completely. I’m pleased I did as the end result has had some really positive feedback.

Some of you may have read but please do let me know what your thoughts are, I am planning on using the ideas/tips mentioned as the starting point for the conference presentation I’m putting together.

…and here it is.



My first anniversary on WordPress

WordPress has just reminded me that I started this blog a year ago today. This is my 12th post, an average of one a month would be great (I suppose) but these 12 include my reblogs of others’ posts. I don’t seem to be very prolific.

At all.

Don’t take me wrong, I do have ideas but these ‘rambles’ seem to just stay in my head. They possibly move from the right to the left and back again, over and over, but just stay there. Caged in.

My new (WordPress) resolution of the year is going to be to try and write a post a month (famous last words!).

Wish me luck!




New project: ELT freefor(u)m Tokyo

Freelance Teacher Self Development

This new project is a non-internet project.ELT freefor(u)m Tokyois something I aim to be a grassroots meetup of English language teachers in Tokyo totalk about working conditions, professional developmentand be a bit more ad hoc than a conference and be a no-budget and hopefully sustainable thing.

Come along. Have fun and take the reins of your professional development.

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Nativism or… English like wot we speak!

After spending a few days in London I am now back in Italy with my two kitties!


The last time I visited my family was in summer 2014 and things have, since then, changed a great deal. The roads are dirtier, there is a lot more pollution as a whole, and people’s language has deteriorated- please don’t take this the wrong way, in my family there are many who have learnt English and/or other languages without any formal language training so I know how one cannot expect accuracy all the time.

One of my ‘hobbies’ is observing and listening to those around me so I observed and listened for six days. The samples of language I picked up on were, for me, bad and generally from native-speakers. Here are just a couple:

There was much of ’em steps

The chocolates like what mum ‘n’ nanna likes

I had to switch off teacher mode. I felt very self-conscious when I realised I was cringing from time to time.

You may be wondering why I’m writing this. It is not to be critical of the people I listened to and interacted with (that’s the way they speak in the area I was in) but because it made me even more aware of how hard all the non-native speakers I know, be they family, colleagues, students, or teachers, work on their language in order to speak well. Many shop assistants were non-natives (their accents gave them away) but I can assure you their grammar was extremely accurate!

Non-native teachers of English really have it hard in the world of ELT and yet all you have to do is go to London for a weekend and you learn to appreciate them even more.

Some state that NNSs do not provide good samples of language but… do non-teaching NSs?




One of those evenings…or not?

I’m sitting here, paying my bills online, thinking about how technology has, in some ways, complicated and, in others, made our lives so much easier. Just the thought of going to the post office tomorrow to pay my gas and electricity bills, queuing, maybe glaring at somebody trying to jump the queue- because they know the post office lady- was already stressing me out.

I have better things to do in the morning… like packing my case for my flight to Naples tomorrow night! Yes, I’m guilty of being a last minute packer- my clothes just jump, unironed, into my case. I worry about them when I get to wherever I’m going,

That reminds me… I need to check-in online.