The Perils of Hearing Less in the Classroom [en]

As the founding editor of Phonak’s community blog “Open Ears” (now part of “Hearing Like Me“) I contributed a series of articles on hearing loss between 2014 and 2015. Here they are.

In another lifetime I was a middle-school teacher. It only lasted for two years, but at that time I thought it might be my career.

I didn’t wear hearing aids then. Of the many difficulties I faced teaching classes of teenagers, I think some of them did have their root in my hearing loss.

First of all, I couldn’t understand soft-spoken students, and often had to make them repeat themselves. Uncomfortable for me, and also for them, especially if they were shy. The accompanying snickers from the rest of the class were certainly not a positive thing for the class atmosphere or my relationship with them.

I also had trouble when students made low-voiced comments or “talked back” in such a way that everybody could hear but me. It does make it difficult to ensure classroom rules are followed when so much can go on under your threshold of perception.

At the time, I didn’t realise how “bad” my hearing was (I knew I had some hearing loss). I didn’t realise that my colleagues heard that much more, and therefore had more information at hand to help them manage the class. Not hearing well clearly was not my only shortcoming in teaching teenagers, but I probably blamed myself more than I should have for the difficulties rooted in “not hearing things”.


You know how colds can block your ears a bit? In my case, as my hearing loss falls pretty much smack in the middle of the “speech banana”, temporary cold-related hearing loss often made me incapable of understanding anything that was said in the classroom.

We know how hard it is for adults to change the way they express themselves to compensate for somebody’s hearing loss, so imagine teenagers!

I now don’t teach teenagers anymore, and not so regularly. The social media classes I give today are either for undergraduate students (technically past their teens) or actively working adults. I wear hearing aids, but that doesn’t solve everything.

These last two years, I gave a course which took place in what I can only term an acoustically disastrous room. Echoey, of course, big, and to top it all, uncomfortably hot on a sunny day, with windows that opened on the noise of the city.

Students sitting in the front row are rarely a problem. I usually move around in the classroom when I’m talking to somebody, avoiding “across-the-room” conversations. So when the classroom is organised in solid rows of tables you cannot walk through, communicating with the students sitting in the back row can be a bit of a problem.

And, ever the same problem: the third time you ask somebody to repeat something in front of everybody because you haven’t understood what they’re saying, things start getting tense.

Of course, I always tell my students about my hearing loss. I explain that if I ask them to repeat something, it’s because I couldn’t hear them well enough to understand. I remind them to make a particular effort to speak loud enough, particularly if they are sitting in the back rows. I ask them to raise their hand or get my attention before speaking.

But it’s not enough. And these difficulties become a real problem when a student is being rude or challenging an idea I’ve brought to the classroom. I’ve been accused at times of shutting down conversations and not accepting debate, but how can you debate or have a conversation when you can’t understand what the other person is saying?

I also realise that depending on the teaching context, my hearing loss pushes me towards “teacher-speaking” and “work in groups” types of teaching, to the detriment of more “class interactive” formats, which I actually appreciate. I had the opportunity over the last year to give a series of short workshops to small groups of people (around 10), and all though I did end up speaking a lot of the time (hah!) I really did appreciate the group discussions we were able to have.

I had a chat with my audiologist about this particular acoustically disastrous classroom, and she told me that if this was somewhere I was often, we could create a programme especially for it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really worth it, as I would only end up teaching 2-4 days a year in that particular room.

Although I’m not a full-time teacher anymore, I would be really interested in hearing about the experiences other teachers with hearing loss. Does your hearing loss limit you in the “teaching formats” you are able to use with your class? Do you find it puts you at a disadvantage to “manage” the class, particularly with young students? Do you have any compensating tips and tricks to share?

Let us know.

No Blog Post Is an Island [en]

[fr] Une des grandes difficultés dans l'art de bloguer: intégrer des liens à son texte. D'une part parce que les liens rajoutent une dimension au texte, perçant en quelque sorte des trous dans celui-ci par lesquels le lecteur est libre de s'échapper, à la façon des "livres dont vous êtes le héros" de notre adolescence, et d'autre part parce que la nature hypertexte du web donne à l'intertextualité une place capitale. Un article de blog n'est pas une île isolée, mais un fragment textuel nageant au milieu d'un océan d'autres fragments similaires, avec lequel il a des liens plus ou moins proches, que la bonne maîtrise de l'hyperlien permet d'expliciter. Ceci nécessite, outre une habileté avec les mots (pour pouvoir retourner sa phrase dans le sens qui permet un bon ancrage du lien), une certaine culture des autres textes entourant le sien. Sinon, comment faire des liens qui feront sens?

Fellow blogger Adam Tinworth points to a leaked memo from The Guardian encouraging internal linking. He shares his astonishment on Facebook “that this still isn’t standard practice at most places”. I am not that astonished, I have to say.

During my many years as blog editor-in-chief and teaching blogging to students, I have seen again and again that from a technical point of view, aside from managing to write in your own personal voice, the most difficult aspect of blogging to master is integrating hyperlinks into your writing.

Autour du chalet, colliers de perles

I think this is because writing well with hyperlinks requires one to write differently. It is not just about “writing and then adding links”.

Adding meaningful hyperlinks to your sentences is going to have an impact on the way you construct them. You need to be comfortable shuffling the words around, or looking for others, so that you end up with a phrase that provides you with adequate anchor text for the link you want to insert.

Most people’s training in writing is probably in standalone texts. Offline writing, the type that worked well on paper. Your reader starts at the top, and finishes at the bottom. You may have footnotes and references, but nothing as dramatic as a hyperlink, which literally pokes a hole in your text.

I like to think of hyperlinks as adding an extra dimension to a text. Normal text is 1D. Just follow it through. Hypertext is 2D at least — remember those books we must all have read as teenagers? If you go right, head to page 16, but if turn left, run off to page 67?

So, the first challenge in writing with links is finding a gracious way to anchor all those links into your words.

The second challenge is less obvious, but even more important: intertextuality.

Intertextuality” is a rather vast topic, but it generally has to do with the fact that how you understand or read one text can be shaped by your knowledge of another. References or allusions, explicit or not, that connect different texts.

On the web, everything we write is swimming in a sea of other interconnected texts. It’s not called the World Wide Web for nothing, dammit. Everything that is published on the web is stitched together. The blog post you are writing now is not an island, it is swimming alongside all sorts of other pieces of writing. How you position your piece of writing amongst the others may be just as important as the writing itself.

Intertextuality in the world of hypertext is a crucial thing to be aware of.

What are you going to link to? What is there out there that complements your writing, or takes your reader further, or down a parallel path? What are the associations between parts of your writing and preexisting writing?

This requires, in addition to the will to connect one’s writing into this existing web, some degree of knowledge of what is out there. Culture. Or dexterity in the use of the search engine. Or both.

I agree with Adam: internal linking should be a no-brainer. I do it a lot on Climb to the Stars: whenever I’m writing a blog post, I’m wondering what else I have written in the past which is related to it. Am I building upon a previous post? Am I writing on a topic I’ve already touched upon? How can I work a link to this or that post into what I’m writing now?

I do it on Open Ears too. As editor-in-chief, I have read all the articles we publish. The difficulty is I often receive articles which are written as standalone pieces, so I have to either work with the blogger to incorporate a reference to another article, or do it myself as part of the editing process. But as I mentioned above, adding links changes the way you write and construct your text, so “adding a link” is rarely as straightforward as “just adding a link” — and in some cases can only difficultly be done if it wasn’t planned for from the start.

When I was discovering the web, one of the first sites I spent a lot of time reading was The Psychology of Cyberspace. It’s still online, and I encourage you to visit it: as the author explains, it is an online book, that is, written with hypertext in mind.

There is a table of contents, but in addition to that, inside the chapters, there are links to other chapters whenever there is a mention or a passing reference to something covered elsewhere. This frees the reader to wander around in the order they wish, and avoids redundancy — if you need to explain X again, just link to it. I think this was a very good learning example for me of how to build text online.

So now. How would you teach people the skills to do this, when it doesn’t seem to come naturally to them?

How I “Get” People to Talk to me so I Can Understand Them [en]

As the founding editor of Phonak’s community blog “Open Ears” (now part of “Hearing Like Me“) I contributed a series of articles on hearing loss between 2014 and 2015. Here they are.

A complaint I’ve heard a few times lately in the hearing loss support groups I hang out in is that “full-hearing” people resist making the effort to talk to us in such a way that we can understand them. Or they do sometimes, but then forget. I feel a lot of frustration around this for some people, sometimes translated into judgements about the other “not caring” or “not paying attention” or “being offended”.


This reminds me a little, in a “through the looking-glass” way, of how we “less-hearing” people are sometimes accused of “not paying attention”, “not making an effort”, or “being distracted”.

I try to always look at situations like this from the various points of view of the players involved. My work with people and technology, as well as teaching, have led me to adopt a kind of “user-experience-centric” attitude. Now, UX is definitely not my primary field of expertise (so forgive me in advance if it’s yours), but one thing I do quite consistently is try and put myself in other people’s shoes and see the logic in their way of thinking or doing things.

How does this apply here? What does it look like for people with full hearing who are trying to communicate with me?

People have communication habits. Volume of speech, but also, they know from experience when they can be heard or not, at what distance conversation becomes impossible. Most people being “well-hearing” (I kind of like that expression), their communication habits are adapted to people without hearing loss. Years ago, a friend of mine commented (when I said that I didn’t seem to have too much trouble understanding people) that everyone around me made efforts when speaking with me, but that I didn’t see it. They subconsciously spoke louder, learned to get my attention before saying something, etc. It was a bit of a shock for me. But it made sense. (This was before I got fitted.)

So, basically, when we have hearing loss, we’re requiring of people around us that they communicate differently with us, and break their deeply ingrained habits of speech for us. They need to learn and remember that they need to speak to us from distance x < “standard intelligible conversation distance”, for example. Or they need to remember not to speak to us when we’re not looking. Or when we’re in another room. Or too softly. All these things that “work” with almost everyone they know do not work as well with us. They’re used to talking to other neighbours from their balcony or across the street, but that’s too far for us.

I try to keep this in mind. I approach it like training. It’s my responsibility to teach them what works and doesn’t work with me, communication-wise. And sometimes spelling things out is really useful.

I usually take a moment at some point to tell “new people” that I don’t hear well, and that even with my hearing aids I might ask them to repeat stuff if they are looking away from me or in another room. If I’m without my hearing aids, I tell people.

I know they are going to forget even if they don’t intend to, and it’s never pleasant to be reminded that you forgot to do something that is necessary for somebody else. So even though it’s not my fault I have hearing loss and I don’t have to apologise for it, it’s not their fault either and I am asking them to do something out-of-their-ordinary to accommodate my particular circumstances. That’s why I often apologise when I ask people to repeat things (not systematically, but at least a few times in the beginning). I’ve never seen anybody be offended that I’m asking them to repeat. I’ve seen confusion when they repeat and I still can’t hear, irritation maybe at being asked again and again to repeat, or at failing to communicate.

When that happens, I try to give people clearer instructions: for example, I say “for me to understand you easily, get my attention first so that I can look at you” or “if you’re this far from me I probably won’t understand” or “if you’re in another room I probably won’t either”. Or “I’m sorry, even with my hearing aids in my hearing isn’t as good as yours, you need to speak louder for me to be able to understand you.”

I need them to do things differently for me, but if I don’t tell them clearly what it is they need to do, and if I don’t patiently give them feedback, they can’t guess.

How do you deal with this? I think strategies are going to vary a lot depending on the degree of hearing loss we have.

Invest in Social Media Training [en]

For all of you in companies around the world who are wondering what place to give social media — you’ve heard about it, you know there’s quite a bit of hype, but that you should be “doing it” — here’s a piece of free advice: invest in training your staff and providing them with the “social media” skillset.

The trend I see these days is companies and organizations hiring social media consultants, strategists, and community managers. They want somebody to “do their social media stuff”, and often this person is external to the company.

Take a few steps back and think about computing. Nobody today would even dream of hiring somebody into the company to deal with the “computer stuff”. Instead, employees simply know how to do things on a computer. Some more than others, I’ll grant you that, but “working on the computer” is usually so much part of the job description for any office position that it’s not even specified in the job description anymore.

A few years from now, it’ll be the same thing with social media. Knowledge workers will know how to write a blog post (or even open a blog and manage it to some extent), use a wiki, create an event on Facebook and use their network to promote it, set up a Twitter account and put a video on YouTube — just as your average knowledge worker today knows how to create a Word document, send an e-mail, search for something on the web.

You can wait until people naturally learn how to do these things, or the younger, more social-media-literate generation invades the workplace — but you can also speed things up by actively providing your employees with opportunities to acquire these skills.

And yes, shameless plug: if you’re looking for somebody to train your staff, this is clearly something I do (I’m working on preparing proper marketing material for my services these days, so in a few weeks I’ll hopefully have shiny handouts/PDFs describing all the things I do).

Adapting to Budget: "on peut tout faire avec tout" [en]

[fr] "On peut tout faire avec tout", me dit une copine designer avec qui je parle d'un mandat pour ma conférence, Going Solo. Ce qu'elle veut dire, c'est qu'il y a généralement moyen de s'adapter au budget du client.

C'est vrai pour moi aussi -- du moins dans certaines choses que je fais, comme apprendre aux gens à bloguer. On peut mettre en place un blog pour une entreprise pour 2'000CHF, mais aussi pour 50'000. Dans les deux cas le client aura un blog, mais les choses seront tout de même assez différentes:

  • Dans le premier cas, le client sera livré à lui-même pour découvrir la culture de la blogosphère et la stratégie de communication qui lui est propre. Je lui en aurai parlé, bien entendu, mais cela restera inévitablement abstrait. Il va devoir apprendre en public, perdre la face peut-être. Il fera des erreurs. Si tout va bien, il s'en sortira, à long terme. Au bout d'un an, de deux ans, il finira par réellement comprendre ce que ce nouveau média a à offrir -- s'il n'a pas abandonné, découragé.
  • Dans l'autre cas, le client sera accompagné, suivi de près, conseillé, coaché pendant six mois. Il apprendra "juste". Il fera moins d'erreurs grossières. On ménagera sa susceptibilité en ne l'obligeant pas à apprendre sans filet sous les yeux du public. Il y aura des crises également, c'est sûr -- mais il ne sera pas seul pour y faire face.

Il n'y a pas une méthode plus juste que l'autre, c'est ce que je suis en train de comprendre. Ça dépend du client. Est-il prêt à être livré à lui-même, quitte à échouer misérablement ou à se décourager? A quel point tient-il à apprendre à maîtriser ce média? Son budget est-il limité? Je m'adapte.

Last week, I recontacted a girl I used to do judo with, who is now a designer (not a “graphic designer” per se — an object designer). We talked about her work and what she did, and ended up trying to see if there was anything we could do together for Going Solo.

I met her to discuss this — it was a very strange experience for me to be “the client” and to feel totally lost about what she was going to do for me. And also, to be wondering how much this kind of thing would cost me. I had more than a few thoughts for my clients, who sometimes turn green when I tell them the price tag for what we’ve discussed.

What I’d like to talk about here is something she said: “on peut tout faire avec tout”, meaning “you can get anything for anything”. Not very clear out of context, I’ll admit. We were talking about budget. Basically, what she meant is “tell me how much you have for this, and I’ll figure out a way to give you something for that price”.

As the client in this story, I personally found that much more comfortable than to have to wait for her to come up with a quote (which would probably make my heart sink) and then get into painful discussions to see how we could reduce the cost.

My needs here aren’t very specific. I want a logo, a “look”, banners, some printed material, etc. And it makes sense: I can probably get that for 2000 CHF, and I could also get it for 8000. What I’d get would be different, of course — but basically, it would fulfill the basic need.

I liked what she said, because it resonated with some background thought process of mine which never quite made it to the surface. In my “industry” (let’s think of social media here, like corporate blogging), you can also “get anything for anything”. Want a corporate blog? Well, we can do it for 2000, but also for 20’000 — or even more.

Let me explain a little. This is something that’s been bothering me for a few months, and I’m glad I’ve finally figured it out.

When I quit my day job (or was about to do so), I set up blogs for some clients. It was very lightweight: evangelize, install WordPress, show somebody how it worked, adapt a design to a WordPress theme, give some strategic advice (not always received) — and there we go. Sometimes, I didn’t even go through all that. It was “talk a couple of hours, open a account, done”.

But I wasn’t that happy with the results. People often didn’t really “get” it. I felt they were under-using their blogs, that they could be doing so much more with them. Sometimes, people “didn’t get it” to the point that they actually didn’t really use the blog we’d set up.

So, I changed my way of working. Over the weeks and months, I came to understand just how vital training was when it came to understanding social media. Not just the technical aspects, but as I’ve written again and again (and probably elsewhere), the cultural and strategic aspects of it. So, I started to include that in my discussions with clients.

“Setting up a blog and learning how to publish a post is just the beginning. The big job is understanding the blogging culture, and figuring out how blogging fits into or changes (in most cases!) your communication strategy.”

I didn’t want my clients to be disappointed in their blogs, or to “fail”, or to mess up too much. It brought me to quoting healthy 5-figure prices for “we’d like a corporate blog” type of requests.

Not surprisingly, they thought it was a tad expensive. “Isn’t the whole point of this social media stuff the fact that it’s supposed to be cheap?” So, I didn’t get the gigs in question, and I wasn’t very happy either. The corporations I’ve been in touch with seem quite ready to be evangelized about social media, but not really ready to bet money on it.

(I know a lot of what I’m saying is old news, so forgive me if I seem to be stating the obvious to some of you.)

About a week ago I had a chat with one of my old clients, who told me that after about a year of having a rather non-bloggy blog things were slowly starting to change. Nothing very notable, but they were loosening up. They brought in somebody to help for the website who was more of a “web” person, and that had a positive influence on how lively the publication was becoming.

This seemed to bring me an answer to something I’d been uneasy about: lately, I’d caught myself explaining how blogging, as a tool, creates a certain kind of culture and communication strategy — but in the same breath, kind of negating that by insisting that throwing blogs at people doesn’t make bloggers out of them. I still think I’m correct about this, but it’s more complex than I make it sound. If you give somebody a blog, and they use it long enough, sooner or later they’ll start to “get it”. The catch is that there are high chances they will give up before they get there. And also, there is no knowing how long they’ll take to “get it”.

So, what do I do with this? On the one hand, it is possible to keep blogging “cheap”. On the other hand, I do believe it makes sense (particularly for corporations) to invest a hefty chunk of time and money in learning to get it right. (Corporations don’t hesitate much about spending lots of $$ — or even €€ or ££! — on software solutions… put that money you’ll save on the software in training and strategic consulting when it comes to social media.)

I realised that the key was compromise.

Say your budget for opening a corporate blog is 2K. We’ll open a account or install WordPress on a server somewhere, get you a domain name, maybe a cheaply customised theme with your logo in it. I’ll show you how to use the tool’s basic functions. I’ll give you some advice (blogger’s survival kit), recommend some other tools to try, and that’s about it. You’re on your own.

You’ll scrape your knees. It might take you a year or more to figure out for yourself that blogging isn’t about reproducing your “print” or “old marketing” content in a light CMS called a blogging tool. You might give up, or decide that this blogging thing is not all it’s hyped to be — it’s too hard, it doesn’t work, it’s just a fad. On the other hand, if you do hang on in there, feel your way through the crises, engage with your readers, learn to be part of the community, mess up and apologize… There is a lot of value in there for you.

If your budget is 50K, we’ll do things differently. I’ll follow and train your team over 6 months. I’ll walk you through the crises. I’ll help you prevent some. I’ll hold your hand while you learn. Talk with you when your communication strategy feels rattled by this alien blogging thing you’re doing. Help you see clearly so you understand what’s at stake more clearly when you have decisions to make. Spend time convincing the sceptics that what you’re doing really has value. Teach you to write better, as a blogger. Show you how blogging is part of this Bigger Thing that’s been happening online over the last years. When we’re done, I’ll have taught you almost as much as I know, and you’ll be autonomous.

In both cases, I’m compromising. The client is compromising. Blogging is about learning in the open, messing up in public, and getting scalded by the heat of real relationships and real people and real conversations. It’s about being human.

Where exactly is the compromise?

In the first scenario (the “cheap” one), the client isn’t really ready to invest much time and money in understanding blogging, or doesn’t have the means to do so. If he’s not committed or not passionate enough, the whole thing will fail. Remember that many people start blogging, and then stop. They’re just not around to tell us about it. All we see are the natural bloggers, those who have it in their blood, so to speak. Those who have a personality that fits well with the medium. On the flip side, the client gets the “real deal” right away. No training wheels.

In the second scenario (the “expensive” one), the compromise is in saving the client’s face. It spares the client the indignity of learning through making lots of mistakes, and in public. By investing time and money, and hiring competent people, you can avoid making gross mistakes, and appear to “get it” faster than if you jump in and half drown before you figure out how to float. We’re compromising here by preventing the client from looking too bad while he gets to grip with the new medium. Ultimately, the client will have to learn to lose face every now and again — nobody can prevent the business from messing up now and again. But it won’t be due to being uncomfortable with an unfamiliar medium.

I don’t think there is one right way to get into blogging. Just like there is not a “best” way to learn, between taking classes and learning all by yourself. Both of these scenarios are good — and all those in between. It will depend on the client:

  • is the client ready to scrape his knees in public, a lot — or is he still happy with a rather controlled communication strategy, which he wants to ease out of gently?
  • is the client willing to see his attempt to get into blogging fail (for a variety of reasons) — or does he want to put all the chances on his side to make sure he sticks with it?
  • is the client on a budget — or is money not an issue?

Which brings me back to where I started. Translating what my friend says to my own business: if you want to get into blogging and your budget is set, it’s possible (within reason, of course). In all cases, you’ll get “blogging”, but you’ll get different flavours and intensities of it.

You just have to trust the professional you hire for this to be giving you your money’s worth.

"Learning Blogs": GWNG Meeting Presentation [en]

[fr] Présentation donnée vendredi passé au GWNG à UNAIDS.

Here are the slides I used as a backbone to my presentation of blogs as educational tools during the Global Net Manager Networking Group last Friday at UNAIDS. You can download them in three formats. As specified on the presentation, they are licensed CC by-nc-nd.

Group or Author Blogs? [en]

[fr] Conversation hier avec Suw au sujet de la meilleure approche pour initier les gens au blog dans un cadre professionnel. Contrairement à mon intuition, elle recommande d'éviter les blogs "communautaires" à moins que le thème en soit très clairement défini. Il vaudrait mieux donner à chacun son blog, si possible avec une période d'essai sur l'intranet pour repérer qui "capte" et qui ne "capte pas", afin d'encourager les futurs blogueurs à se sentir responsables du blog. A plusieurs, on tend à rencontrer le syndrome "les autres blogueront". Et vous? Qu'en pensez-vous? Des expériences à partager dans le domaine?

Interesting and thought-provoking conversation yesterday with Suw, about group blogs vs. author blogs to get people to start blogging. Group blog can work with newbie bloggers if they have clear focus (ie, we are going to get together to blog about things we’ve come upon in Lausanne).

If there is no clearly-defined topic, then it is better to get people started on their own blogs, so that they take responsability for it. Otherwise you get the “somebody else will post” syndrome that I’ve noticed on a couple of multi-author blogs I participate in (or try to direct). If necessary, make them start blogging on the intranet before going “public”.

Your experiences with newbie bloggers in more-or-less corporate environments? Tried group blogs? Prefer author blogs? Got theories?

Harvard Law in Second Life [en]

[fr] Un cours de la prestigieuse Harvard Law School est en train d'avoir lieu en partie à l'intérieur de Second Life. Quand je parle de Second Life comme outil/média éducatif, c'est à des choses comme ça que je pensais. Je suis allé y faire un tour, j'ai parlé avec une des instigatrices du projet, et je compte bien essayer de suivre en tous cas une partie de ce cours, qui a lieu les lundis et mardis.

By chance, I picked up a link to today’s RocketBoom in the #wordpress IRC channel (thanks, twidget). I don’t often watch RocketBoom, but the new presentator (en?) had a nice British accent, so I watched the whole thing.

A Harvard Law course in Second Life caught my attention. I watched the trailer, and decided to hop in and see for myself. I’ve been telling people around me that Second Life provides opportunities for education that we can barely yet imagine. I’m glad to see that it’s starting to happen. Watch the trailer for yourself [10.5Mb].

Inside the Second Life lecture hall (a replica of the real Harvard one, from what I understood) I chatted a while with Rebecca (one of the instigators!) and a student, LZ.

I learnt that the class was open to “public” (“at large”, they call it), and I’m very tempted to participate. I missed the first classes though, yesterday and today, but the wiki contains a lot of information and is supposed to give links to the lecture videos (haven’t found those, I’d be glad if somebody can point me to them). A lot of reading material is online. They also have a 20-minute introduction to Second Life but Flock can’t find the missing plugins I need to view it. Damn!

So, anyway, had to let you know about this. I think it’s exciting!

Etre malade quand on enseigne [fr]

Avant d’être enseignante, j’ai travaillé dans le secteur privé. J’avais un joli salaire, je bossais 4 jours par semaine (80%), je sortais régulièrement en semaine. Arriver au boulot un peu fatigué quand on travaille dans un bureau, c’est pas top, mais au pire on n’est pas très productif. Idem lorsqu’on est malade: soit on reste à  la maison et le travail n’avance pas, soit on va quand même travailler et on fait de son mieux.

Quand on enseigne, tout ça devient très différent. Pour commencer, on travaille plus et on est payé moins (eh oui!) Je sais, on a plein de vacances, mais on en a besoin (j’vous jure!) et on choisit pas quand on les prend. Manque de pot, elles tombent toujours durant les vacances scolaires…

Ensuite, je crois qu’on n’imagine pas, si on ne l’a jamais fait, à  quel point il faut être en forme pour enseigner valablement. On peut plus ou moins faire le zombie au bureau si on n’est pas dans son assiette, mais essayez seulement de faire le zombie devant une classe d’ados! Donc, si on est en train de couver quelque chose, pas question de se laisser aller. Il faut faire tourner le moteur à  plein régime et assurer.

On n’est vraiment pas bien? On songe à  se faire porter pâle? On hésite… Oui, on hésite, parce que d’une part il faut préparer le travail que feront les élèves pendant qu’on se bourre de PrétuvalC ou de NéoCitran, et d’autre part, on sait que les choses seront toujours plus mal faites par le remplaçant que soi-même (malgré toute la bonne volonté de ce premier). Il faut souvent reprendre une bonne partie de la matière quand on revient. L’équation commence à  prendre forme? Arrêt maladie = plus de travail. Ce n’est pas parce qu’on est malade que l’école s’arrête de tourner et que les élèves rentrent chez eux (quoique parfois, devant la pénurie de remplaçants…)

On attend donc en général que notre état soit bien avancé pour en arriver à  cette solution de dernier recours: se faire remplacer. (En plus, parfois c’est un collègue avec des heures de blanc qui s’y colle, et on sait tous à  quel point c’est désagréable…) Mais une fois qu’on est vraiment bien assez malade pour se faire remplacer — c’est-à -dire qu’on n’est plus capable de grand-chose — il faut encore préparer le remplacement! Eh oui!

C’est trop cool, prof, comme métier. Tant qu’on ne tombe pas malade.

Idée de nouveau blog [fr]

J’envisage d’ouvrir un second blog qui serait mon “blog de prof”.

[en] I'm thinking about setting up a second blog for teaching-related stuff (for students and collegues).

Plusieurs personnes m’ont fait remarquer que mes billets s’étaient faits rares ces derniers mois. C’est vrai, et je ne sais pas exactement pourquoi. Moins de choses à  écrire, moins besoin d’écrire, une petite rechute de TMS, la vie qui va bien… Ce blog n’est pas abandonné pour autant. Disons simplement que c’est une période creuse.

Depuis quelques jours, je cogite l’ouverture d’un second blog, en parallèle de celui-ci, centré sur mon travail d’enseignante. L’autre jour, je donnais à  mes élèves une adresse internet que j’utilise pour préparer des exercices d’entraînement de vocabulaire. Ce serait tellement plus simple de mettre ça sur mon “blog de prof” dont ils auraient l’adresse! Je pourrais également l’utiliser pour d’autres communications officieuses. Le site pour les exercices de vocabulaire, ça intéresse également mes collègues. Ce serait sympa d’avoir un endroit où centraliser tout ça! Si des collègues me lisent… qu’en pensez-vous?