It takes a village to make a book

Teachers are creative beings and Walton Burns is a perfect example.  I met Walton at a TESOL conference about 4 years ago and he became my publisher!  Walton was an EFL teacher and has taught abroad and in the United States.  He is the owner of Alphabet Publishing, a small independent publishing company that specializes in English language learning resources and textbooks for teachers. 

I wanted to learn more about another creative venture that Walton is behind using Kickstarter.  Have a read of my short interview below:

P:  Walton – thanks for taking the time out of your busy day. You wear a lot of hats including teacher, writer, editor and publisher. Can you tell us about your latest publishing project using Kickstarter?

W:  The book is called Outside the Box by Taylor Sapp, and it’s a collection of unfinished science-fiction/fantasy stories. Because they are unfinished, students have to provide their own endings. So it’s a...

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Is email your biggest distraction?

If you answered yes, then you are part of a growing group of people that feel email is their single BIGGEST distraction. 

Not only does email impede our productivity, according to Jocelyn K. Glei, author of Unsubscribe – How to kill email anxiety, avoid distractions and get real work done, it also impacts our creativity. 

Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky are Google employees and the authors of Make Time - How to Focus on What Matters Every Day. They describe the downside of hopping on the “busy bandwagon” and offer ways to optimize our habits and routines to have more time each day including how to manage email.

Glei believes that we have a love-hate relationship with email because we treat it like a task and not a tool.  For example, if your goal for the day is to get to “inbox zero”, then you are just adding stress to your already busy day. Glei, Knapp & Zeratsky agree that having an empty inbox is unrealistic.

People check...

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Camelia Martincu, Business English Trainer, Language School Owner

Camelia Martincu started her own language centre after she realized that teaching children was not her "cup of tea".  Camelia has great advice for teacherpreneurs including the importance of investing in yourself by continuously learning and surrounding yourself with inspiring people who help you grow.

Can you start off by telling us where you teach?

I teach general and business English, IELTS and Cambridge exams to adults and teenagers at my own language center, BETTER ENGLISH, in Lasi, Romania. I also deliver in-company training (mostly to IT companies, but not only) and assist HR departments with linguistic auditing.

How long have you been teaching?

I’ve been teaching for almost 13 years now. I started teaching at a local private school in 2004, straight after graduating from university, but I realized that teaching young children wasn’t my cup of tea. Then, for two years I taught Business English courses in-company with International House...

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An unexpected gift: First Nations, All Nations, One Nation

The standard protocol for presenting at TESL conferences in Canada is that the presenter receives an honorarium and a card expressing thanks from the organizing committee.  It's a nice gesture and I always appreciate it.   

So when I received the most beautiful bag last week for presenting at the TEAM conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba I was moved when I learned about the organization, the bags, and Angela.


First of all, let me start with information about One Nation Exchange (O.N.E.)   It's a not-for-profit organization that promotes unity by creating opportunities for intercultural experiences, training, and employment for women who represent Canada's diverse cultures.

It all started in 2014 in Winnipeg, a city with the largest Indigenous population in Canada.  That year, the province welcomed the highest recorded number of refugees per capita in the country.

The idea to bring First Nations women and newcomers to Canada together...

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Carolyn Flores - ESL Teacher, Writer, Business Owner

Carolyn Flores feels that becoming a teacherpreneur was a natural evolution for her. Read her personal advice on juggling everything and transitioning from teacher to teacherpreneur.

How long have you been teaching?  

Combined, teaching in the classroom and privately one to one, I’ve been teaching for over twenty years. 

Where do you teach now?  

I teach at the Centre for Skills Development and Training which is located in Burlington, Ontario, Canada.  

Can you describe a typical teaching day?  

I teach about 15-20 higher level students in the morning. The group is a mix of students with various backgrounds and experiences. In the afternoons. I have a lower level class of about 15 students. I am also a lead PBLA (Portfolio-Based Language Assessment) teacher so I also help other teachers with this methodology and with implementation in their classrooms. 

You successfully transitioned from teacher to teacherpreneur. Can you talk about...

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Myles Klynhout - Online EFL Teacher & Community & Product Specialist at Freeed

edtech freeed Sep 08, 2019

Myles Klynhout is a versatile EFL teacher and Community and Product Specialist at Freeed.  Find out how EdTech is changing the EFL world and how Freeed can help you as a busy teacher.  

1. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview.  Can you start off by telling us where you teach and how long have you been teaching?

I’ve been an English Language Teacher for over 10 years. I started teaching teens and adults in Barcelona, Spain and later worked as an Assistant Director of Studies. I joined Serveis Lingüístics de Barcelona (SLB) and started teaching Freelance in 2015. I now live in Helsinki, Finland and teach online. 

2. Can you describe a typical day?

Every day varies quite a bit.  I’m currently studying international business part-time a couple of mornings a week. This means I’ve been able to dedicate 3-4 days a week to Freeed. I still teach 10 hours per week online mainly in the evenings....

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What teachers need to know about introverts

What was on your summer reading list? Did you find the time to read everything you wanted to read? 

Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain ( has been on my bookshelf for years. I finally read it this summer and I loved it! Even though it was written in 2012, the content is still relevant and can be applied to teaching.  

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As a self-proclaimed introvert, I could see myself over and over again in the many examples provided throughout the book. According to Cain, at least 1/3 of people are introverts. (If you aren't sure where you fall on the scale, take the survey in the book).

Cain defines introverts as

“people who prefer quieter, more minimally stimulating environments".

She further explains that

"extroverts feel at their best and crave a high degree of stimulation but for introverts, the optimal zone is much lower".

In Western society, extroverted...

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Conrad Wilkinson Schwarz - Founder of Instanteach

instanteach mexico website Jun 12, 2019

Conrad Wilkinson Schwarz was inspired by one of his students to learn how to use AI to develop a website to help busy teachers.  Read more about how he kept learning and going back to the drawing board to get Instanteach right.

1. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview. Can you start off by telling us where you teach and how long have you been teaching?

I teach English in Mexico City and have been doing so since 2016. At first, I was teaching through agencies and language schools but eventually moved towards getting my own students and working independently. I really enjoyed the freedom it gave me and the fact that the demand for English classes is so high in Mexico was of course really handy.

2. Can you describe a typical day?

Right now I work in an office as a translator. The work is pretty on and off so I spend half the time to running the website, publishing on social media, sending teachers their material and slowly but surely improving the...

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Women of Color in ELT: For Unity and Liberation

elt women of color May 28, 2019

I have met and continue to meet the most interesting and inspiring ELT educators from around the world.  Parisa Mehran is no exception.  I think that Parisa is one of the most active ELTers out there and she constantly strives to find ways to informally and formally teach others about a variety of important issues from stereotyping in our profession to her latest work - Women of Color in ELT.

Please have a read of my short interview with Parisa:

1. Hello again Parisa.  Nice to see you here.  Can you please introduce yourself to the readers?

My name is Parisa and I am an Iranian English teacher based in Japan. Despite the continued prevalence of the “native speaker” model, I have been teaching English part-time for two years at several Japanese universities and at an English conversation school.

2. What inspired you to start Women of Color in ELT?

I was inspired by Scholars of Color in Language Studies and KOTESOL People of Color Teachers SIG so...

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Adam Chambers - Online Teacher & Language Schools Marketing Specialist

Adam Chambers is an online teacher and the creative brain behind chatbots to help education institutions grow and automate processes like recruitment and engagement.  His patience and understanding of Chinese culture have helped him excel as a teacherpreneur.

1. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview. Can you start off by telling us where you teach and how long have you been teaching?

I have taught English online for 6 months. My students are all Chinese kids. It's a fun way to keep connected with the culture because I lived in Shandong for two months interning at a company.  Teaching online for a Chinese company is a decent deal. My hours are flexible, and most classes are enjoyable. I’d recommend it to anyone seeking to earn income part-time.

2. Can you describe a typical day?

I wake up at 6 a.m. and dive into a shower of ice-cold water. Then I read some Spanish texts while guzzling oats and milk. Informed, I mount my bicycle and...

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