A Year of Firsts


December 27, 2012 by gemmalunn

2012 has been a year of firsts, and during the typical reflection that occurs at this time of year I’ve realized how much my professional and personal life has changed as a result of all these firsts. I thought I’d write a little summary of the year, this has helped me reflect on what I’ve achieved and hopefully it’ll be a good motivator during 2013.

January – I decided to improve my knowledge and experience of blended learning so I incorporated some technology into my winter camp. I learnt how to set up a blog so I could keep in contact with my students outside of classes and post useful websites and information to help them learn English. I also helped them set up their own blogs where they wrote about topics of their choice. My students weren’t too keen on this idea at first (too much like hard work maybe!) but they soon got into it used their blogs a lot both during and after the camp. Students also made video documentaries and a radio show; during these projects I learnt how to use some basic video and audio editing software. Apart from a few technical glitches I was pleased with the results and continued to use these new skills throughout the year.

April – A wet, miserable day turned out to be a pivotal point of the year – the Busan KOTESOL Reflective Practice Symposium. I’m so glad I made the effort to put on my wellies and rain coat and brave the weather as this is when I was inspired to enter the world of Reflective Practice. It was the first time I met the lovely Josette LeBlanc and Michael Griffin and saw their inspirational presentations. It was also where I met the ever enthusiastic John Pfordresher and shortly after we set up the Busan Reflective Practice Special Interest Group (RP SIG).


May – I had my first article published in the Summer Edition of The English Connection (KOTESOL) magazine. The article was on the subject of Station Teaching and how this can be an effective format for teaching large classes especially when co-teaching.

June – We had our first RP SIG meeting in Busan which John Pfordresser very successfully facilitated. I think it’s fair to say (John-tell me if you disagree?!) that it has been a big learning curve for both of us and we are really pleased with the group that has formed in the last 6 months.

August – After many hours locked away studying I took the Diploma written exam and much to my surprise and delight got a distinction! My first and last exam of the year!

September – Something amazing happened in September. It kind of reminds me of Narnia, but instead of a snowy, magical world full of mystical, hairy creatures I discovered a staffroom full of creative, supportive, and amazing hairy teachers all ready to inspire, motivate and help me and all sat right in front of me! That’s right I opened the wardrobe door and discovered the world of Twitter!


I sent my first tweet and I haven’t looked back, almost 600 tweets later I follow 147 educators who, on a daily basis, share with me interesting and useful links to wonderful blogs and informative articles, provide me with stimulating conversation (#KELTchat & #eltchat) and many laughs! Twitter was the springboard to whole new world of Professional Development. It has enabled me to build an international PLN and it has transformed my daily routine. The benefits of twitter are endless, I’m sure most of you reading this know this and are active on twitter, if not make it a New Years Resolution to get tweeting!

October – My first KOTESOL International Conference. Not only did I attend many inspiring presentations and come away with lots of great ideas, I also got to catch up with and even meet twitter friends for the first time and have chats that were more than 140 characters long! It was also the first (and possibly last) time I tried the maekolli/red wine cocktail!


The #KELTchat crew.

November – I entered the blogosphere and started this blog as a way of sharing my experience of reflective practice. I also participated in my first online course which involved live webinars – John Faneslow’s Breaking Rules course through iTDi.pro. This course really opened my mind and got me questioning my teaching principles, my classroom rules and almost everything I do in the classroom! It also gave me lots of ideas re: recording and transcribing classes.

December – I recorded 2 of my classes (see previous post on self observations) I then used these to analyse different aspects of my teaching. This is definitely on my list of things to do more of in 2013 as I really learnt a lot from seeing myself teach and seeing my class from a different angle.

Looking forward I’m sure 2013 will only bring more connections, opportunities and learning experiences. I made a big decision (after months of fruitless job applications) to go back to England next year and do an MA in ELT through The University of Reading so this in itself will bring many development opportunities and challenges. I’d just like to say a massive thanks to everyone I’ve met, on the web and in person, this year that’s contributed to all the above firsts (you know who you are!)! Here’s to 2013 – cheers!


Cheers and best wishes for 2013.


7 thoughts on “A Year of Firsts

  1. Chiew says:

    Wow, what a year you’ve had, it’d seem! Congrats Gemma!

  2. gemmalunn says:

    Thanks Chiew. I didn’t realise quite how much had happened until I started writing it all down!

  3. Rose Bard says:

    Nice going back in time Gemma.

    I loved the picture of you guys and I can relate to much of what you said. 🙂

  4. oh wow:)))
    that’s quite a read, Gemma. Loved reading your post, I feel like I can relate to many of the things you’ve said, especially about PLN in the world of twitter…:)

    wish u all the best for 2013! happy new year…

  5. gemmalunn says:

    Thanks Ratna, glad you liked it. Best wishes to you too for 2013.

  6. Josette says:

    I wish you all the best in your studies Gemma. They are lucky to have you. 🙂 We’ll miss you here though! I’m so grateful to have gotten to know you.

    Looking forward to reading your tweets from another timezone. Rock 2013 like you rocked 2012 my dear!

    • gemmalunn says:

      Thanks Josette and thanks for all your support and inspiration this year. I’m here until May so will definitely see you before I leave. Best wishes for 2013 and have a great time in CR!

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