During the last hectic week of international travel and professional development presentations, I’ve been heard a few simple questions over and over.
- Are you ready?
- Are you prepared?
- Aren’t you nervous?
- Do you have enough time to do that?
- When are you going to sleep?
Friends – and close relatives – ask these questions out of concern and curiosity. I appreciate their questions and enjoy our discussions. My confidence can lead me to underestimate the difficulty of projects, tasks, and chores. I should manage time better, probably reduce my commitments, and prioritize more. Yet that’s easier said than done when pursuing multiple projects and working with people on different continents. I also like my work, and appreciate new challenges. And I can draw on a considerable amount of experience as a world traveler and English teacher. Despite approaching deadlines, I tend to feel strangely comfortable.
For instance, this week I left Los Angeles to begin a new position creating a Practical and Academic English program in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Packing for a ten-week summer trip takes considerable time. So does writing up detailed course descriptions, planning professional development workshops, and writing a high school graduation speech. Tracking Compelling Conversations book orders, planning website and blog changes, and interviewing ESL/EFL teachers also takes time. So sleep becomes a lower priority and friends keep asking those few simple, reasonable questions.
They are good questions and fine conversation starters too. In our often-hectic world, many people make the same “good mistakes” as me. As a result, these simple questions seem about time management seem timeless. English teachers can – and I’d suggest should – introduce these practical questions to their students. Business English teachers and workplace instructors, of course, frequently include entire lessons to personal time management skills. Letting students ask these questions and interview each other will also lead to interesting classroom conversations.
By the way, despite my last minute style, I was actually quite prepared. I quickly packed, arrived safely in Vietnam and lead an engaging workshop on creating autotelic materials for EFL students. Experience and expertise help – even on limited sleep!