The first question I ask all the interviewees on this blog is What is your full name, and where did it start? Whilst the second question is deliberately ambiguous, there is no ambiguity about ELTpics’ own answer to it. ELTpics started with three friends, one of them Victoria Boobyer, at that time known as @VictoriaB52. Hers was the first ever ELTpic in the first ever set, so it seemed appropriate to invite her to be the guest blogger (at that point, she was taking a sabbatical from ELTpics activity) for the first Take a photo and…. Christmas post. As ever, she did us proud, she did 😉 and ELTpics also got its first ever calendar.
As this blog, The Burning Questionnaire, approaches its first birthday, and has recently been shortlisted for an international award as part of the ELTpics suite of resources, it seems appropriate that it also just happens to be Victoria’s ‘turn to Burn’ – and I must admit, I had more than the average giggle when I read her answers. Hope you do too. So without further ado, I give you……… Ms B52.
What is your full name, and where did it all start?
For Victoria Laura Boobyer it started with a name change by deed poll in 2011. For Laura Victoria Boobyer it started in small town England way back in the year that Black Sabbath’s Paranoid was released. As a little girl I loved the countryside around Wiltshire but by the time I hit my teenage years, I truly hated the small-mindedness of the army-barracked market town I was born in. The Boobyers moved to Maes-y-Gwartha in South Wales where I went to Brynmawr Comprehensive in the mid-1980s. It was a great move and I’ve felt more Welsh than English ever since.
What music do you listen to while driving/cooking/contemplating your navel?
Music is a huge passion for me. We like to go to two or three concerts a month. I like to ‘sing’ loudly in the car so The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Blondie, Arcade Fire, I am Kloot rule there. On the commute to work, I don’t tend to ‘sing’ on the train and so that is where I listen to softer music and experiment with new music on Spotify. At the moment, you’ll find me listening to Dry the River, Daughter, Hannah Peel and An Escape Plan.
What’s the most satisfying – or frustrating – aspect of your job?
The most satisfying is definitely when teachers come into my office beaming with deserved pride about something that has gone spectacularly right in class. We have so many ideas in our school and a desire across the board to innovate and improve. The most frustrating is simply not having enough hours in the day and days in the week.
Writing or teaching? Why?
I haven’t taught for a little while now. I enjoy writing courses to fit the specific needs of groups of students and integrating little tech bits here and there. I’d love to be a professional writer of comedy sketches in a future life.
A teacher from your schooldays:
Mr. Owen from my primary school was fabulous. He used to bring in owl pellets for us to take to pieces and we used to plant trees and learn all about nature with him. Once, though, he told us all that the king of Siam (I know, I know) was coming to visit and we had to practise the national anthem of Siam. He recorded all 106 of us innocent little Church of England students singing, “Oh! Wa tan ars, Siam! Oh! Wa tan ars, Siam! Oh! Wa tan ars!”
What was the first thing you learnt as a ELT teacher?
Not to use permanent marker on a whiteboard.
What motivates/inspires you most?
Just to do my very best at everything and to be a good person. My dad died a few years ago and he was such a great, simple person: a huge inspiration to anyone who knew him.
Do you ever cry in the cinema?
Cinema? I cry at everything. I cry at ‘Undercover Boss’ and can’t listen to The Archers if it gets too upsetting. In the cinema, I have to wait for the credits to finish and everyone to leave to compose myself. The Welsh national anthem makes me cry and when long-term students leave I cry. The teachers and students have a competition to write the most heartfelt ‘thank you and goodbye’ to get me in tears.
Your favourite meal? Where? And perhaps with whom?
An Indian meal with Kingfisher beer and stacks and stacks of popadoms plus a classy variety of accompaniments.
A retirement with warm summers.
Please also choose three or four of these Burning Questions and add the ‘why?’:
Many many hours and nights spent being serious and geeky reading The Wasteland over and over and all the background references have left me uncomfortably scarred with a love for T.S.Eliot’s poetry.
Beach, mountains or city?
“Kalamata is a perfect blend of mountains and sea.” (As all the FCE students there had been coached to tell me time after time.) Actually it was. And lovely too. Climb up the mountains in the morning and reward yourself with a dip in the afternoon.
Day or night?
Day with a clear blue sky and white light. Gardening or on a romping walk with the right music in headphones makes you have a beaming smile and want to say “Cracking day” to everyone.