Are you prepared? Are you ready? Aren’t you nervous?

During the last hectic week of international travel and professional development presentations, I’ve been heard a few simple questions over and over.

  • Are you ready?
  • Are you prepared?
  • Aren’t you nervous?
  • Do you have enough time to do that?
  • When are you going to sleep?

Friends – and close relatives – ask these questions out of concern and curiosity.  I appreciate their questions and enjoy our discussions.  My confidence can lead me to underestimate the difficulty of  projects, tasks, and chores. I should manage time better, probably reduce my commitments, and prioritize more. Yet that’s easier said than done when pursuing multiple projects and working with people on different continents. I also like my work, and appreciate new challenges.  And I can draw on a considerable amount of experience as a  world traveler and English teacher. Despite approaching deadlines, I tend to feel strangely comfortable.

For instance, this week I left Los Angeles to begin a new position creating a Practical and Academic English program in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Packing for a ten-week summer trip takes considerable time. So does writing up detailed course descriptions, planning professional development workshops, and writing a high school graduation speech. Tracking Compelling Conversations book orders, planning website and blog changes, and interviewing ESL/EFL teachers also takes time. So sleep becomes a lower priority and friends keep asking those few simple, reasonable questions.

They are good questions and fine conversation starters too. In our often-hectic world, many people make the same “good mistakes” as me. As a result, these simple questions seem about time management seem timeless. English teachers can – and I’d suggest should – introduce these practical questions to their students. Business English teachers and workplace instructors, of course, frequently include entire lessons to personal time management skills. Letting students ask these questions and interview each other will also lead to interesting classroom conversations.

By the way,  despite my last minute style, I was actually quite prepared. I quickly packed, arrived safely in Vietnam and lead an engaging workshop on creating autotelic materials for EFL students.  Experience and expertise help – even on limited sleep!

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  1. Hiya Eric,

    Glad to hear it! I’ve missed seeing you around a bit in the web2.0 but guessed you were massively busy!

    I often think that time is simply a question of priorities and habitually tell my students these LOL – everyone’s got time, just that each person’s got to decide how to spend it and not do everything 😉

    Take care,

  2. Karenne – We absolutely agree. Choosing priorities – and honoring our choices -remains critical. Yet so often we get lost in the hectic routines that we forget that we chose these priorities and challenges.

    I look forward to slowing down a bit and working more online in the near future. Meanwhile, I’m writing some new course materials, interviewing EFL teachers in Vietnam, and still re-editing different versions of Compelling Conversations. Oh, and starting a new life in Ho Chi Minh City for the summer!

  3. Hi all,

    I would like to share info to to learn English, listen to English and read English…. do not translate.

    1. Never Study A Single English Word
    That’s right, do not memorize words. Native speakers do not learn English by remembering single words. Native speakers learn phrases.

    2. Never Study Grammar
    Right now. Stop. Put away your grammar books and textbooks. Grammar rules teach you to think about English, you want to speak automatically– without thinking!

    3. Learn With Your Ears, Not Your Eyes
    Spend most of your study time listening- that is the key to great speaking.

    4. Slow, Deep Learning Is Best
    Its not enough to know a definition. Its not enough to remember for a test. You must put the word deep into your brain. To speak English easily, you must repeat each lesson many times.

    5. Use Point Of View Mini-Stories
    You must learn grammar by listening to real English. The best way is to listen to the same story… told in different times (points of view): Past, Perfect, Present, Future. How do you do this? Easy! Find a story or article in the present tense. Then ask your native speaker tutor to write it again in the Past, with Perfect tenses, and in the Future. Finally, ask him to read and record these stories for you.

    6. Only Use Real English Lessons & Materials
    How do you learn Real English? It’s easy. Stop using textbooks. Instead, listen only to real English movies, TV shows, audio books, audio articles, stories, and talk radio shows. Use real English materials.

    7. Listen and Answer Mini-Stories (not Listen and Repeat)
    Because the teacher constantly and quickly asks easy questions, you don’t have time to think about grammar. You just immediately shout a couple of words– which teaches you to respond faster, and faster, and faster.

    The 2 Big Secrets to Confident English Speaking
    Click here to view more details

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