When I read Brad Patterson’s blog challenge PLN interviews… who’s next ?, I thought it would be difficult for me to choose a member from my PLN as all of them were so important for me and after meeting most of them they’ve become real life friends whom I can rely on as much as my friends in my circle.
Instead of taking the challenge immediately I waited for a while not only because it was too difficult to choose who to interview but it also meant many things about your personality would be revealed and I know that most of us are very careful about our private lives so eventually I realised I really wanted to be part of this challenge. I asked Berni Wall because she is a very important member of my PLN and I’m so glad that I had the chance to meet her and her wonderful family.
Berni is a very experienced educator. I’m sure you know her via twitter, #edchat and #eltchat and she is the person who runs teacher workshops at her home in the beautiful countryside of Britain.
I’m so happy that Berni accepted to be interviewed. I added two more questions and one is a yummy bonus for you as I personally tasted it while watching ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ 🙂
Brad’s 5 standard questions:
1) If your students were to label you with 3 adjectives, what might they be?
(I hope) supportive, empathetic and creative
2) What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Not much actually! I need to go shopping but there is a little cheese, some humus, salsa, various types of sambal (chilli sauces – I love these!), pesto, some jam/jelly, beer, cassis, Pimms, (important stuff) and some salad ingredients (tomatoes, lettuce cucumber), yogurts, olives, mustard, (I have a larder so don’t keep everything in the fridge)
3) If you weren’t a teacher, what might your profession be?
My two great loves were languages and music and it was a tough choice – I always wanted to be a classical singer so maybe this.
4) What do you find most difficult about the teaching profession, or What has been your most difficult class as a teacher?
I can’t think of a particularly difficult class some have been a challenge but I quite relish that as it keeps me learning and honing my skills. I think the most difficult thing about our profession is the relative lack of status vis-à-vis other professions with a similar length of training. I don’t mean money (although that might also be connected) I mean standing. I think we sometimes attract this ourselves as we are a profession with a tendency to moan and complain rather than do something about it. I think we need to believe more in ourselves and embrace the importance of the job we do and then shout this loud and clear. There are some gender issues also which irritate me (as in all aspects of teaching) again we need to address this as a profession (especially we women) and become more equitable.
5) What was the last book/movie you read/saw, and what have you seen/read way too many times?
I’ve been reading Seth Godin and some other similar books recently – I usually have 2 or 3 on the go at once. I am currently reading Puck of Pook’s Hill by Rudyard Kipling which is a short book but a very interesting look at English history and have just started The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson not sure what to make of this yet. I read quite slowly as I’m always flicking back to check things and compare things. I’ve re-read, as you know, the Brontes novels recently as these have formed a part of my teacher workshops – I find these books quite amazing for their modern themes and vivid depiction of cruelty and evil. Heathcliffe was voted the best romantic hero in a radio poll a couple of years ago. I can only think that those who voted had not read the book. There is nothing romantic or heroic about him whatsoever! If you want a picture of what sheer self-possession and egotism can do to those around you read Wuthering Heights.
6. I know that you are training teachers. What will your first advice be to a newby who thinks to make TEFL his/her career?
I did just this in my first ELTMentor session today. Don’t worry about feeling afraid and apprehensive about your lessons because that way you know that you are learning and good learners make better teachers. You can handle everything if you’re well prepared, flexible and have the learners at your centre and if you think you might lose it – simply hand over to them and take a breath!
7. I really enjoyed the meals at Kirkby Fleetham and I know you enjoy spending time in the kitchen. Can you share one of your favourite recipes?
Here’s a classic – Apple and blackberry crumble.
Peel & chop the apples mix with the blackberries, add sugar to taste and a little water and cook until soft but still whole
Take 8 ozs flour, add a pinch of salt and 4 ozs butter. Rub the butter into the flour to make fine breadcrumbs, add 4 ozs of dark brown or muscovado sugar to this and mix in. (any amounts will do depending on the amount of fruit, size of bowl etc.. so long as it’s half butter and sugar to flour)
Place the softened fruit into an oven-proof dish put the flour mixture on top so it covers everything. Run a fork over the surface so it isn’t too smooth, sprinkle with cinnamon and then bake in the oven ( medium heat) for about 30 minutes. It should be light brown on top.
Serve with cream, ice-cream or custard. Scrummy 🙂
(sorry for the imperial measurements – in my blood!)
Thank you Berni for accepting to be interviewed 🙂
You can reach all the interviews from Brad’s blog.
apple blackberry image is from flickr
Thanks for taking up the “challenge”, Eva. If anything it’s only a challenge to find time, and then it’s a pleasure, isn’t it ! I just got off a skype call with Ozge for another PLN interview and what a fun time getting to know her better.
Not surprised to find a few gems in here like “You can handle everything if you’re well prepared, flexible and have the learners at your centre and if you think you might lose it – simply hand over to them and take a breath!”
an apple and blueberry crumble recipe ! BTW, I’d love to make it to one of your workshop/weekends, Berni. Have heard great things, and just seems like one of those things worth doing 🙂
Hooray for another great interview with one of most inspiring PLN members! Thanks for the wonderful read.
Hi Eva and Berni
A great interview, Eva, and really interesting to find out more about you, Berni. Like Brad, one day I’d love to attend one of your famous and fabulous workshops!
I have to admit that Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite books ever and I’ve read it so many times. It’s a mesmerising and absorbing read.
Heathcliffe is certainly one enigmatic and deeply troubled anti-hero.
Hi Eva and Berni,
Just like Janet and Brad have said above, I too would love to take part in your famous teacher workshops at Fleetham Lodge:-)
Thank you so much for the crumble treat! I love it and I’m certainly going to give it a try very soon.
All the best
Wonderful stuff – that was a treat reading this, almost as yummy as that crumble!
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