Ceri was first guest blogger on the eltpics blog Take a photo and… , with a wonderful post called An open door…? As well as sending her The Burning Questionnaire, I have also asked her to choose four eltpics taken by others that she feels say something about her – I leave it to you to ‘read’ her choice of images, as well as her answers. Enjoy…
What is your full name, and where did it all start?
My full name is Ceri Rhiannon Jones. The Ceri confuses a lot of people, they either don’t know how to pronounce it or can’t work out if I’m a man or a woman. Fair enough really, Ceri works both ways. In my Welsh medium secondary school in Aberystwyth there were three of Ceri Joneses in the same class – two girls and a boy. The teachers called me Ceri Rhiannon so they could tell the difference. I hated Rhiannon for years, but now it comes in very handy for twitter handles, gmail addresses and the like. Mind you does bring us back full circle to that pronunciation/spelling problem again …
What music do you listen to while driving/cooking/contemplating your navel?
I actually prefer listening to voices … on the radio, on the internet (am addicted to TED talks) … and in my head
What’s the most satisfying – or frustrating – aspect of your job?
Mm .. which job? Teaching, I think the most satisfying is establishing positive learning relationships person to person. And the most frustrating is limitations set by outside authorities. Writing, I love finishing something, or being in full flow when inspiration strikes (though we are talking materials writing here – wish it were novels or short stories! Guess blog writing is closer to free personal expression), I also love working with other people, bouncing ideas around, developing ideas and material together. Again the frustrations are the limitations – the taboos, the ever growing PARSNIPS
Writing or teaching? Why?
Both –they complement each other. I love writing – but I also love contact and communication and learning. I used to think it had to be face to face. Twitter and blogging and online courses and tutoring have changed all that – but embarking on a learning project with other people is always great. Mmm… another full circle, ‘cos writing projects, at least in ELT materials, are always a joint effort and a learning experience as well as a job of work.
A teacher from your schooldays:
Aagh … mind goes blank! I hate having to choose just one 😉 there are a couple who come to mind – our physics teacher in fifth form, he wore jackets with corduroy elbow pads, was totally, totally into the knowledge he was conveying. I loved the laws of physics. So clear, so simple – but I could never get my circuits to work – gave it up half way through the lower sixth! Our English lit teacher in the sixth form.
He used to lecture at Cambridge. He decided to move to Wales, go back to the roots of teaching, learn Welsh, learn to teach in Welsh. He was totally passionate as well. I remember he taught us about the six basic stories that run through all literature. Drew this amazing illustration on the board, made perfect sense at the time. Five minutes after the lesson had finished just looked like a load of scribbles
What was the first thing you learnt as a TEFL teacher?
How to ask shopkeepers in very formal Italian if we could put posters of the school up in their windows – stood me in good stead for learning the basics of polite register in Italian from day one.
What motivates/inspires you most?
Other people’s energy. A good idea. A great story. A beautiful sight.
Do you ever cry in the cinema?
Yes, and on the sofa, and in front of the computer … news stories or images are the worst … and some very powerful TED talks have even made me cry on the street behind my sunglasses as I listen to them on my ipod. It’s good to cry sometimes.
Beans on toast and a cuppa, or haute cuisine and a 1995 Rioja? Where?
Probably the former – anywhere peaceful and quiet and relaxing – preferably on holiday, preferably on a veranda – could be in the countryside, with trees all around, but best of all looking out over a moody beach – and in company or close friends and/or family.
Buy a camper van. Be able to keep a dog (we live in a flat in a not very dog-friendly town).
Old VW camper van with all the hippy trimmings – if not then I’d be quite happy with the modern California TDi with all mod cons 😉
Beach, mountains or city?
Beach always comes first – and needs to face west. The beach just isn’t the same without a sunset.
Day or night?
Night – I’ve always hated getting up in the morning. I love working at night. I love the sounds – or absence of sounds – deep in the night.