The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
My recent life adventures
“Do not complain, make a change” – I’m sure that many of you recall this really good tip for teachers given by Scott Thornbury at the K0TESOL International Conference in South Korea this year. I’m also very sure (although I didn’t attend the conference) that he did not mean such a change I wrote about here describing my life adventure, but, I somehow found these Thornbury’s words very apt for starting my post.. 🙂
After eighteen years of teaching English to secondary school students at the Aviation technical school in Belgrade, I decided that it would be very cool to try something different.
Aviation academy, Belgrade
And so a few months ago I started to work at the school library. The change was not very easy at first, and I have to admit that I was feeling dizzy because of a lot more work than I had expected and many new things I had to learn about the job, but I’m really very happy now about my decision.
Aviation academy library is one of the most beautiful school libraries in Belgrade. As the school is situated near the Kalemegdan Park and the zoo (the old and most picturesque part of the town), I enjoy a nice view from the library window of the greenery, and an elephant walking and greeting the visitors with his trunk every day.
I think that library is a paradise for an English teacher (like me 🙂 ). I have more time now for writing coursebooks/workbooks on Aviation English (only for the students of our school, though, because our school is unique in Serbia and only our students learn aviation English). Then, I can devote much more time to my writing and editing work for the school magazine “Vazduhoplovac” (or “Aviator”, in English), since I am a member of the school magazine editorial team. I also enjoy working with the students who love English (through some extracurricular activities), sometimes I work as an interpreter when foreign guests come to our school, and, all in all, I have a lot more time for reading blogs, Twitter and books, for pleasure.
The job in a school library demands such a wide range of skills: a very good knowledge and love of literature, interpersonal and organizational skills, good knowledge of educational psychology because you should know when/how to give students advice, or when/how/which book(s) to recommend to students/teachers. Knowledge of languages is a real asset in this sort of work, especially in our school during the visits of foreign guests (EASA / ETIHAD Airways, etc. representatives with whom our school cooperates).
Working in the school library is really one of the most exciting jobs for an English teacher. A lot of students and teachers coming to borrow books or asking for information, help, or advice,… there is never dull moment…something is always going on, no two days are the same. I feel every day as if I were on a mysterious journey, exploring and finding some new fascinating books and things (I’m surrounded with more than 12,000 books, so many great minds and so much wisdom at one place!!).
I love that specific smell of old books, and I was amazed the other day when I found “Shakespeare’s Works”, a stunning book from the beginning of the 20th century, with the pictures of the actors playing in London theatres of that time). And there are so many other great books waiting to be read!
A lot of friendly talk with students, and their happy faces while talking about the books they love reading, about their experiences… (because, wow, there’s no grading!!) The relationships you can form with the students as you try to make them love reading for pleasure and strive together to maximise their learning through are quite amazing.
You can read more about the library on my library blog
My Twitter adventure
My Twitter adventure is a mesmerizing journey through WonderKnowledgeLand. 🙂 I really enjoy exploring Twitter and discovering some great people and things and learning something new every day.
I was very glad a few months ago to read that Professor John Wells, a renowned British phonetician, had joined Twitter. I was lucky to meet Professor Wells at the BIMEP 2010 (Belgrade International Meeting of English Phoneticians) which took place at the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade. Since I had been teaching Aviation English (i.e. English for Specific Purposes) to secondary school pupils for more than ten years then, I had chosen to write about Language-Related Miscommunications and Misunderstanding in Pilot/Controller Communications for my MA thesis (language/mostly phonetic analysis of ATC phraseology and language-based misunderstandings that lead to air crashes). The meeting took place in March 2010 just when I had finished my Master thesis and my mentor Dr Biljana Čubrović, who organized the meeting and knew Professor Wells very well, invited me to attend the meeting as a guest, which was a great honour, and a really wonderful experience for me.
I enjoyed Professor Wells’ plenary and was very fond of John Wells phonetic blog where I found among many other very interesting things related to phonetics, a joke about the confusion between the Cyrillic and the Latin alphabet. (Both alphabets are used in Serbia, and, the confusion is the basis of numerous jokes).
“Foreign visitors in Serbia, when they want to eat, tend to ask for a [ˈpektəpɑː], because they see the inscription РЕСТОРАН written above restaurants. But native speakers of Serbian have no idea what the visitors are talking about, because this is actually Cyrillic and reads simply RESTORAN (restaurant), pronounced [restoran].”
My Poetry adventure
I love reading Oxford Dictionaries where I found lately:
Literary words and quiz (I particularly loved the metaphor: “Ship of the desert” – Camel)
Weird and wonderful words (I have never heard about the “mouse potato” before :)))
This gorgeous autumn sky (I took the photo through my window a few days ago) inspired me to write a short poem (“tanka”) myself.
Clouds dazzling butterflies
in the rhythm of October sky
sound of your voice
restless ocean of thoughts
Reading or writing short poems or fiction is so exciting and you can enjoy reading about “tanka” on the fantastic Kevin Stein’s blog. I also recommend reading his wonderful short stories: short fiction for ells. Enjoy!!
Thanks for reading my post, I hope it was interesting 🙂