A photo a day to ease you in: #backtocole15

La vuelta

Back to school is a rush of adrenaline for teachers and students alike. The change of pace from the easeful days of summer to packed days and weeks can often be fraught and tense instead of exhilarating and enjoyable.

How about changing the story? Diving into a private language space with other teachers, while focusing on the positive elements of being a teacher (of Spanish) over the next month?  Continue reading

La Vuelta 2015 (#backtocole15) – for teachers

La vueltaIf you’re a teacher and you’re anything like me, the new academic year has been looming in your mind these last few blissful days of August and the holidays.

As part of my plans for the new school year, I’m working on a number of free community projects for Spanish teachers and learners. I’m based in Ireland, so my vision is naturally shaped by my environment, but the projects are designed to appeal to and help the Spanish teaching and learning community further afield as well. The first of these (for teachers) is inspired by a photo prompt session led by Susannah Conway that I have been doing this year as part of my work on mindfulness (a work-in-progress, as all mindfulness is!).

It’s free, it’ll encourage you to frame the first month back in positivity, and it’ll be a safe space to share thoughts about teaching (and life and whatever else comes up) in Spanish.

It’ll be online on the morning! I look forward to connecting with you there :)

Twitter chats for Language Teachers

Connecting with other educators with Twittter in the last five years (I joined it in 2010) has provided me with many wonderful learning opportunities, and big hugs and smiles all round when I meet my twitter friends (“tweeps”!) in real life.


Yeah, I know this photo shows Facebook! ;)

If you haven’t engaged in any of the amazing #edchat opportunities on Twitter, why not make 2015/16 the year you dip your toe in? Whether you dip only your little toe in, or dive in headfirst, you won’t regret it! The great thing about Twitter is that it always gives you something back, even if you “neglect” it for months!  Continue reading

Results Day (and the night before)

Sunset over Dublin MountainsIn the house we lived in then, you had to go round a corner from the long, cold hall to get from the front door to the kitchen, and that’s where the phone was. It was a modern phone then, with push-buttons instead of a rotating finger wheel. A long coiled cord connected the mouthpiece to the phone, and was intensely comforting to fiddle with during long intense conversations like the one I had with my best friend the evening before the Leaving Cert results came out. Continue reading

Eggquilibrium de Orla De Bri en la Galeria Nacional de Dublín

Talking about Easter in your Spanish Leaving Cert Oral (when the orals are after Easter)

Eggquilibrium de Orla De Bri en la Galeria Nacional de Dublín

Eggquilibrium de Orla De Bri en la Galeria Nacional de Dublín

A question I would regard as guaranteed for your Leaving Cert Oral examination is the one about Easter. This year, with the Easter holidays falling before the orals, the question will be a great way for the examiner to test your knowledge of Easter vocabulary as well as your past tenses.

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Midterm blues

At 10.30pm the Sunday before school goes back, most of us involved in education are feeling all or some of these emotions: anticipation, excitement, dread, fear, nervousness, joy. Few of us – either students or teachers – can look into a term and feel entirely relaxed, yet how much better would each week and thus each term go if we could tap into a calmly productive mood to take us from February to the Easter holidays? Continue reading

6 Reasons why we’re going on strike


Well-worded opinion by Fintan O’Mahony on why strike action is necessary with regard to Junior Cert reform.

Originally posted on levdavidovic:

Change. It’s all about change. Let’s talk about change.

The world is changing, we are told. Thanks for the heads up! The Irish education system needs to change too. No argument from me there, but anybody who actually teaches teenagers every day will tell you that change is everywhere in schools. Take my classroom: in the twenty years I’ve been dispensing wisdom it’s change a hundred times. The desks have changed, the blackboard became a whiteboard, we got a fire door, and I got technology. When I think about my own secondary education I think chalk and talk and that was still the way when I started but something else clicked for teachers over that time, my methodology has morphed from standing at the blackboard and telling the kids the story, to listening to what they say and letting them do the storytelling. This reform will mean re-placing…

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