The First Batch of Burning Questions: Jeremy Harmer

A close look at Jeremy Harmer...

                                      A close look at Jeremy Harmer…

For many of us in the English Language Teaching sector, the first name ‘ELT name’ we ever encountered (ok, after our initial teacher trainer had introduced themself….. or maybe not…did you have a reading list?) was Jeremy Harmer, so it seems appropriate that his should be the first name in this blog.

Jeremy recently contributed a post to Take a photo and… , and was kind enough to be the first recipient of The Burning Questionnaire.

Before I open those windows onto Jeremy’s secrets, as Take a photo and.. is actually 6 months old (nearly to the day), there will be some back-dated Burning Questionnaires from earlier guest bloggers… so watch this space.

Image by Antonia Clare at eltpics  The sea is so scary and beautiful and vast and immense. we can kind ourselves, up there in our aeroplanes, that it's not much, but it can charm and kill, refresh and flood. But at night, lying in the comfortable dark, hearing the breakers pound into the beach and knowing we are safe. Is there any better feeling?

Image by Antonia Clare at eltpics                          The sea is so scary and beautiful and vast and immense. we can kind ourselves, up there in our aeroplanes, that it’s not much, but it can charm and kill, refresh and flood. But at night, lying in the comfortable dark, hearing the breakers pound into the beach and knowing we are safe. Is there any better feeling?

Jeremy Harmer

What is your full name, and where did it all start?

Jeremy Peter Hedley Harmer if you want to know!

What music do you listen to while driving/cooking/contemplating your navel?

 

I listen to BBC Radio 3 while working. Classical music. I listen to Radio 4 (talk radio – ideas, drama, news, humour, science etc) while cooking or drinking breakfast coffee. Any kind of music (a lot of folk, jazz etc) while hanging around. Latin American music. Mexican music anywhere – from mariachi to música folklórica. Anything in clubs and concert halls. Just watching people make music. Music is everything. Without it there is nothing.

Image by Sandy Millin at eltpics. The moment, the best moment....anticipation before the music starts. The incredible sound of a western classical orchestra when the music and the playing are good! The last 3 concerts I have been too broke my heart. Or it might be a stage I am about to go onto to join the viola section (I know where I'll be sitting) in some amateur orchestra or other....nerves...

Image by Sandy Millin at eltpics. The moment, the best moment….anticipation before the music starts. The incredible sound of a western classical orchestra when the music and the playing are good! The last 3 concerts I have been too broke my heart. Or it might be a stage I am about to go onto to join the viola section (I know where I’ll be sitting) in some amateur orchestra or other….nerves…

 

What’s the most satisfying – or frustrating – aspect of your job?

Satisfying: when you suddenly realise a way of ‘saying’ something (I’m talking as a writer here); when the bits suddenly click/fall into place and you find yourself writing your heart out.

Frustrating: when you slave away all day and nothing emerges at the other end. A sense of things not done, not completed.

Writing or teaching? Why?

Please can I have a combination? I miss the classroom (because I do mostly writing and travelling to talk/work with teachers). I miss – oh how I miss – the staffroom. A good staffroom is the best place in the world.

Image by Victoria Boobyer at eltpics   that the world has so many different ways of making music fills me with awe and joy. The different sounds we can get used to listening to; the ways we express joy an grief; what we learn to dance to. I've only heard this instrument played once, in Da Nang, and I loved it and felt I had been shown a little bit of Vietnam's heart.

Image by Victoria Boobyer at eltpics That the world has so many different ways of making music fills me with awe and joy. The different sounds we can get used to listening to; the ways we express joy an grief; what we learn to dance to. I’ve only heard this instrument played once, in Da Nang, and I loved it and felt I had been shown a little bit of Vietnam’s heart.

A teacher from your schooldays:

A rather improbable music teacher called Anthony Smith-Masters. And he had a lisp. But he seemed to believe in me – or rather he seemed to think someone like me who expressed enthusiasm should be ‘given their head’, challenged. I never became a good musician (I don’t have the talent and I certainly didn’t practise enough), but I am a passionate musician because of him, and any performance abilities I have sprung directly from his approach, I think.

What was the first thing you learnt as a TEFL teacher?

That it could be fun, challenging, scary, deeply satisfying. We suited each other almost immediately.

What motivates/inspires you most?

Enthusiasm. Fresh ideas. The whole world of ELT has been changed for me in the last few years by the emergence of a whole new tribe of energetic, excited, clever educators – at conferences, on social media etc. Wonderful.

Do you ever cry in the cinema?

Oh yes! And feel silly. But sometimes you can hardly speak – and when it’s a quiet scene you really don’t want to snuffle all the time. Films on aeroplanes are the worst. Something about the cabin pressure, perhaps. But I have cried at the stupidest rubbish up at 37,000 feet!

Beans on toast and a cuppa, or haute cuisine and a 1995 Rioja?

Image by @YTatLE at eltpics  I like wine. I do. It's an important part of my life. I try to look on the bright side too. But we all have moods. I think I'm an optimist - except when I am not. I think there is still wine to drink, except when i look at the glass and already regret the fact that I am going to finish it any second now.

Image by @YTatLE at eltpics                I like wine. I do. It’s an important part of my life. I try to look on the bright side too. But we all have moods. I think I’m an optimist – except when I am not. I think there is still wine to drink, except when i look at the glass and already regret the fact that I am going to finish it any second now.

Where?

Beans on toast and Rioja. Allowed?

Favourite film?

To Kill a Mockingbird

Beach, mountains or city?

City (with some mountains nearby). So why do I live in Cambridge?

Tablet or pen & notebook?

Tablet

Cinema or DVD at home?

Cinema – shared experience

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2 thoughts on “The First Batch of Burning Questions: Jeremy Harmer

  1. Pingback: New Year’s Puddin’: first helping | take a photo and….

  2. Pingback: The First Batch of Burning Questions: Jeremy Harmer | TeachingEnglish | Scoop.it

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