Vicky Loras was the photographer behind the 7,000th image uploaded to eltpics and was invited to write a post for Take a photo and… on how she might use it. But Vicky is much more than that – she is also a teacher, a blogger and one of the three founders of eltpics, along with Carol Goodey and Victoria Boobyer. So what do you know about Vicky? She’s Canadian, she lives in Switzerland, she has dark hair………. keep reading for more, and check out the four images she choose to say something about herself, to tell you her story.
What is your full name, and where did it all start?
My full name (as it is on my Canadian passport) is Vassiliki Vicky Loras – it all started from my wonderful Greek yaya (grandmother), also with the same name. I have four more cousins with the same name! If you are of Greek origin, you usually get one of your grandparents’ names. “Vassiliki” means “royal” in Greek : ) My parents shortened it because in Canada nobody would be able to pronounce Vassiliki. (I can’t say I like it that much – sorry yaya!)
What music do you listen to while driving/cooking/contemplating your navel?
My favourite kind of music is Motown and jazz when I am working on the computer at home, but I also love Coldplay and the British scene for other moments.
What’s the most satisfying – or frustrating – aspect of your job?
The most satisfying moment is when I go home at night feeling like I had a lot of fun, despite the long teaching hours. I also feel very happy when my students show progress, or tell me they liked something in the lesson and would like to do it again – or when they tell me they used English at work or holidays and felt comfortable!
Writing or teaching? Why?
Both – teaching as something that is my life, my oxygen and the reason I wake up happy on Monday mornings! Writing as something I do on the side, be it blogging or materials for my students, or articles for journals. I also love writing poetry (even though I have not done it for quite a while).
A teacher from your schooldays:
I have two – Mrs. Ebbs who was my first grade teacher in Canada, shared her love of books with us and introduced me to E.B. White. I am currently trying to track her down and I hope I can find her, to tell her she is one of the reasons I love teaching and if I am anything today, she has played a great part in it. The other teacher I love and still keep in touch with is my teacher I had when we moved to Greece, Mr. Kontos. I love him because he also showed us values and how to be great people, not only reading, writing and arithmetic. I owe him a great deal!
What was the first thing you learnt as a TEFL teacher?
That it is okay not to follow the pages of the coursebook in order! That a great lesson an be taking something from the coursebook and weaving it into other things! And that classes may not turn out so good sometimes, but we can learn from our mistakes.
What motivates/inspires you most?
Lots of people/things.
My family first of all who have always believed in me (even during a really tough time when I fell flat on my face and thought I could never get back up again). My niece and nephew who are growing in front of my eyes and help me see the world from a different angle. My students, who are amazing people and give me ideas for our lessons! I love every single one of them.
Books: especially the ones which have to do with education and teaching. If I really like them, they give me an extra boost and ideas to use in class. Blogs: I absolutely love all the beautiful things being written every day and wish I had more time to read and comment on them. Twitter: Educators with super ideas, sharing their experiences in class daily – I love this world I entered three years ago : ) Music can also inspire me!
Do you ever cry in the cinema?
Ashamed to admit it, but yes! Films like The Freedom Writers (I love movies about teaching and education), The Green Mile (oh dear, did I ever cry in that one!), Philadelphia, the list just goes on and on ; )
Beans on toast and a cuppa, or langoustine salad, steak au poivre and a 1995 Rioja?
Beans on toast and a cuppa (I love tea!) in England (where I have never been and would love to go!). Can I also have the salad and steak, but with a Coke, because I usually don’t drink? ; ) I would love to have the steak and salad at Whistler’s, my cousins’ restaurant in Toronto!
My dream is to do a Master’s in Linguistics and then a PhD!
My favourite book is Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk. He describes the city in history, art, photography, his own experiences and has made me love that city without ever having been there. I hope to visit one day!
My absolute favourite film of all time is Amelie (Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain) – I honestly do not know how many times I have seen it and every time I discover something new. Jean-Pierre Jeunet is an amazing director and I love Audrey Tautou’s acting (okay, and Matthieu Kassovitz, I admit it!).
My favourite poet is Robert Frost. I love Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening. (I also have two favourite Greek poets, Costas Kariotakis and Yiannis Ritsos. A lot of their poems have also been translated in to English, among other languages.)
Thank you so much for all these interesting questions! I really enjoyed answering them.