My #TEFL365 Start – Things and People that Inspire Me

On an earlier post, Tyson Seburn (@seburnt) called us for a challenge to identify/reflect on teachers  and education related people/images/anything basically that inspired us , a development he came up with from the #365 project. I found the project fascinating, but since I was on vacation (as I still am BTW) it took me a while to get started. And since I have some ground to cover to catch up, I decided I could make a post with the first 19 things/people on my list to start on the project… I’m sure this first list will be very different from my next additions to the project, which will probably be more ongoing, spur of the moment sources of inspiration. So here they are (many of them are on twitter, so I’ll add their handles as well):


#1 – Shelly Terrell (@shellterrell)– Shelly is amazing. This woman is a fantastic teacher. Does amazing things on her classes and with her students and finds time to tweet the best resources and blogs, as well as create more resources and lecture. Good thing she’s an insomniac! I had the awesome opportunity to meet her in person recently and I can say for a fact that she is exactly what she seems to be on twitter: the sweetest, most driven, most committed to education person I have EVER met. She was an easy pick for the project.


 # 2 – My kids – Watching my kids learn and grow has been a great experience. And I believe it’s enhanced because I am a teacher, so I take even greater pleasure in watching their development. Every little victory they have is a victory for me.


 #3 – Thays Ladosky (@tdosky) – I have the enormous pleasure of working with Thays in my school. She’s one of those gifted teachers, natural-born ones. She has a heart the size of Brazil, cares for (and knows) each and every student she has, worries about teachers’ self-esteem and gives one of the best talks I’ve ever been to on motivation (I’ve watched it 3 times and it makes me cry every single time). She’s an unbelievable mother, wife, professional and especially friend as well. You can ALWAYS count on Thays – for anything!


#4 –

The ocean - Muro Alto, PE - Brazil

The sea. Living in a coastal city, having been raised on the beach (my home for the first 25 years of my life was built on the beach sand), I always catch myself looking at the sea, and it always inspires me, be it for my work and my lessons, be it for my life.


# 5 – Eduardo Bomfim – He was my teacher in the Graphic Design course in the university and the best teacher I’ve ever had. He’s the one who’s challenged me to think out of the box, to question pre-established concepts. He was my aesthetics teacher, and made us study Plato, Plotino and other philosophers… I wonder what’s happened to him.


#6 – Cynthia Maranhão – She’s my mother. She was an English teacher when younger and was a great influence on me, regarding making clear that the learner is responsible for his/her own learning, that there’s always something to be learned. Not to mention she takes my oldest and helps her with her homework (make her work for it!!!) twice a week 😉


#7 – Books – I love books. As many other teachers I know, books are always my favorite gist to receive – and usually give as well. I always find inspiration in books I’ve read, or I’ve hear about (and added to my wishlist!)



These are a few of my favorite things...



#8 – David Crystal – Ok, so, big name in ELT. But deserving. I have had the pleasure of watching one of his plenaries (in the last Braz-Tesol) and was mesmerized by him. He has an absurd amount of knowledge and an amazing rhetoric. Truly inspiring.


#9 – Jason Renshaw (@englishraven) – Jason is an English teacher from Australia, extremely gifted and an invaluable source of ideas, activities, challenges and has the most incredible and inspiring blog I’ve ever come across. He’s one of the most amazing people I’ve had the pleasure of becoming friends with (I hope I can say that Jason!) after I joined twitter and the blogosphere and has been a great supporter and source of learning and self-development for me.



#10 – Mônica Carvalho – Mônica is my/the academic coordinator at the school I teach at. She’s very supportive of the teachers, has great insights and is always finding ways to incentive and motivate the teachers who works there. Despite any preconceptions or ideas people might have of coordinators, she’s really there for us. Her door is always open to the teachers – and she really does listen. She’s been an important piece in my professional development.



#11 – Music – I am always listening to music. And I have specific playlists for specific tasks, varying from harder rock, to classical and not neglecting Brazilian Popular music (MPB) and classical – Chopin is a favorite. Each different rhythm energizes me for each different task while working – whether it’s correcting students’ work (MPB), writing (harder rock) or reading (classical). I have created so many lessons from inspiration that struck me while listening to music!


#12 – Jeremy Harmer (@harmerj) – Another well-known name in the ELT world, Jeremy is a reference in the field. Anyone who’s read his books or been to one of his talks/plenaries/workshops knows of his great knowledge and amazing charisma when presenting. More than that, Jeremy is an active member of the virtual world, both on twitter and on his blog – which has had some great discussions lately. When you see him speak – be it about teaching, poetry or music you can see how passionate he is about each of those things. And passion is always inspiring.


#13 – Freedom Writers – A must-watch movie for any teacher. The story of a passionate teacher who loved and found a way to reach and teach “difficult” students. Here’s the trailer:


#14 – Roberta Ferraz (@betaferraz) – Roberta is a teacher where I teach as well, and therefore a colleague. But more than that, she inspires me because she has an endless well of greatly creative ideas to use in class and never-ending support. She’s very sharp and on to what’s going on in the ELT world. Not to mention a fantastic friend.


#15 – The Blogosphere – Reading what other teachers around the world are thinking about, are doing in their classes, are thinking always give me inspiration for lessons, activities, taking action or posts! This challenge is evidence of it!


 #16 – David Dodgson (@davedodgson) – Dave is a British teacher who lives and teaches young learners in Turkey. I had the pleasure of meeting (and collaborating) with him through the virtual world and he’s inspired me in many ways, such as the ideas he has and uses in class, his views on teaching, his blog musings and especially regarding the use of technology in my activities, lessons and life in general. He has actually rescued me and taught me about some tools a couple of tools. One of the best blog posts I did last year was the live conversation Dave and I had on one of the Dogme Challenges – it was fun doing it and sharing our voices and views on the subject. He is also the first guest on my blog this year.


#17 – Giving the Proficiency Certificate to a former student. Watching how I was (in an inny tiny way) part of that accomplishment gives me a full blast of inspiration (and motivation, of course), not to mention pride!


She's only 14 and one of the best students I've had ever!



#18 – Recently we had an immeasurable tragedy in Rio de Janeiro with mudslides that senselessly took the lives of many people. (as you can see in )And the way people around Brazil have united to help the people who survived it is just amazing. And truly inspires me to be a better person and maybe bring some solidarity and community feeling into my classroom.


#19 – Courtney Campbell – Courtney and I became friends when she was working at the school, I teach at. She was born in Flint, Michigan; worked in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and has overcome an amazing amount of negativity and obstacles – mostly people- in her life. But she never gave up and is currently doing her doctorate with a great scholarship at Vanderbuilt. She’s one of my role models. And I’m very proud to be her friend.



So these are my first 19 inspirations for 2011. What are yours I wonder??