MA dissertation promo cringe

Maria Heron from NILE asked me to record a video about my NILE dissertation. They are promoting the course and are keen to get reflections from alumni. She sent me a bunch of questions and asked for a 5 minute video. It was meant to be unscripted and I guess they’ll be snipping it for the, ahem, ‘best bits’. At least I hope they are, as I scratch my nose and head a lot, say ‘Er’ 8000 times and barely look at the camera. It’s also far too long so not sure it’ll get used.

Why am I sharing this with you? After all, it’s 7 minutes of your life that you won’t get back. Well…

Conquering fears

If you know me (Kate Lloyd/Kris Kirby), you know my fear of public speaking. I can’t stand up in front of people and talk. I try my best to avoid anything that requires me to speak in front of people unless absolutely necessary. I mean, how I became a teacher I don’t know, although bizarrely I feel like I can be myself in the classroom?! But myself is kind of an actor?! Go figure… There’s the rare occasion when people give me the confidence to present with them (Dr Kate Lloyd, Sarah Smith), but most of the time I’m intimidated.

Online learning has changed me a bit. Of course, there’s not much room for being camera shy. My fear of speaking is a bit me, me, me. Yet I think about the things I ask my learners to do – e.g. a 7 minute Pecha Kucha video to introduce themselves at A2 level (I know, I know, but it’s going great!). How can I justify my fears, when I brush the anxiety of others aside and expect so much from them? So yeah, I have to change on that front. So, I am.

Clubhouse has helped. Rachael Roberts runs a room (that was a lot of r’s) and I’ve shared some thoughts a few times. Hugh Dellar has one too. It’s been a good way for me to just give things a go – get involved in a public chat, share some thoughts, not feel judged. They’re nice about it too. Same as the International Schools Podcast – small steps.

Being happier knowing naff all

I think I’m coming to terms with not knowing much but still knowing something. I used to think that to stand up and talk I really should be an expert. Not sure now… I think I should just have something worthwhile to say (to someone out there!). I mean, my rambles in this video don’t seem that worthwhile, but they might be to someone thinking of taking the NILE course.

The right people

I wasn’t going to turn NILE down for a promo vid. My MA through NILE was a great experience. It helped me grow as a teacher and it’s helped me branch out into other areas of ELT (skip to 5:00, probs the only interesting bit in the video). They are worth sharing thoughts with, and it’s a small opportunity to say thanks to Alan Pulverness. Great guy, very supportive tutor, and once laughed at one of my puns.

Getting better

Confidence in other areas helps! I’m picking up Spanish again. I was intermediate level a long while back, I want to re-discover that and kick on. My Spanish mate is helping loads and reminding me that everyone is crap to begin with. At the age of 36, I’m like ‘yeah, well if I’m crap at Spanish already and I don’t feel bad about it then I might as well be crap at other things and just try. I’ll get better’.

So, a work in progress. Slow progress!


After recording this, I did think… ‘Hello!’ I’ve been sharing my thoughts on teaching for quite a while now but I’ve rarely put a face to the words. So, here I am. Wonky teeth and all. If you want to know what I *really* sound like, listen to the second half of the video. I think I’m trying to sound a bit more formal at the start (I noticed there was actually a ‘th’ in there!), then once I relax, the Bognor Regis creeps out a bit.

So, after five years… nice to meet you all. Thanks so much for reading my blog. And no – there will not be a bloody YouTube channel of my ramblings coming any time soon. The world really does NOT need that!

Categories: General, reflections

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8 replies

  1. Oh man… it’s so good to finally hear and see you. I’ve only imagined for years what you might be like! Thanks for opening up and sharing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The video is absolutely fine, Pete. I’m (just about) OK giving presentations at IATEFL etc. but when attending big, important meetings, where everyone has to introduce themselves, I have been known to write out my job title on the notepad in front of me and … wait for it … my name, once or twice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha! I would do exactly the same.
      Kudos for doing IATEFL! You really know your stuff – I’d deffo like to attend one of your talks. I did a 30-minute shared slot at CamTESOL a few years back, found that very daunting.
      Cheers for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for such unique insight into the Nile MA and materials writing. Just a couple thoughts on public speaking: during my PGCE training, I gave a presentation on time management. My inner voice popped up with: ‘what authority do I have to be taking about this!? I’d be late to my own funeral etc etc’. My outer speaking voice suddenly went all wobbly! I was only a few minutes into the presentation. I felt so foolish turning to jelly (after 15 years as a teacher). Once the ordeal had ended, I began researching what was going on and found out about breathing exercises and mindfulness. Cut a long story short, I’ve a few tricks up my sleeve now. Really grateful for your sharing the video and info on the Nile course and materials writing. Really recommend Sam Leith ‘Are you Talking to Me’ on rhetoric and the 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course.


    • Sorry, just seen this. Thanks so much for sharing that anecdote. I’m sure what you said was very valuable 🙂

      I’ve been writing a few mindfulness related tasks recently and think I’d benefit from some mindful practice. Thanks for the recommendation, will deffo look into it 🙂


  4. Definitely a phrase to live by: ‘I might as well be crap at other things and just try. I’ll get better’ 🙂

    That video was fascinating Pete, especially as somebody who has the joys of the NILE MA dissertation somewhere in my near future. It was great to hear your recommendation for the book and what you got out of the course.

    Also, the video was absolutely fine from the outside – clear, informative, well presented. And if you hadn’t pointed out your teeth, nobody would have noticed 😉

    Nice to see and hear you properly, and looking forward to your future conference talks. If you ever fancy doing a joint talk about blogging or something similar, let me know 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Thanks, or should I say ‘fangs’, for the feedback. It’s not how things felt, but glad/surprised that’s how it came across. Hope the dissertation goes well! That book deffo useful.
      Conference? Talk? Me? Pfff I’d be useless! If we recorded it, maybe, not live – I’d panic.


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