Review of "ELT Playbook 1" by Sandy Millin

Review of "ELT Playbook 1" by Sandy Millin

Wake up.  

Eat breakfast.

Go to work.  

Survive 7 hours of kids.  

Go home.  

Eat dinner.  

Go to sleep.  

Wake up and do it all over again.

That’s the daily life of an ESL teacher, give or take a few hours scrolling a Facebook feed or killing some zombies online.

It’s a familiar routine.  You won’t always hear it described so rotely, but when you do, you can look that particular teacher in the eye and say “You’re not seeing the big picture.”

Just like any ol’ job, instructing students in an ESL classroom is a way to make the world a better place.  Cheesy, I know… but it’s true.

If you’re not improving the lives of your students, then why are you teaching them?  

Falling into a dull routine is certainly not the best way to help your students.  Sure, that cobweb-covered lesson plan you prepared 3 years ago might be fine to repeat year-after-year.  But shouldn’t you try to audit yourself, your classroom, and the results of your students?

“Is this really the best way to teach them countable and uncountable nouns?” or “Should I try using some pair-work instead of group work in this section?”

Reflect on your classroom.  Reflect on your lessons. Reflect on the results.


That’s what Sandy Millin’s “ELT Playbook 1” focuses on.  This book contains 30 tasks that teachers can use to self-evaluate.  

I obviously consider it extremely useful.  

Millin's book is meant for new teachers, those without professional development support, and teachers in a rut.

That's the audience this book is really going to transform.  Just like the lifeless teacher from my meandering preamble, a lot of ESL teachers often find themselves going through the motions in class.  

Technically present in the classroom. To any outside observer, they're certainly instructing a group of students.  They're not ignoring the kids.  And they certainly would never dream of abandoning the class.  You know... handing them a worksheet so that the teacher has 'time to work on the desktop *cough* scroll facebook. 

Millin knows that most teachers are THERE. But they're also not.  They're going through the motions as an ESL teacher. Like cavemen seeking shelter from a storm, their instincts take over, and these teachers can survive classes mostly unscathed.  But surely they don't feel a great rush of eustress as they strive to develop as great teachers.

That's the type of teacher who Millin will truly help with "ELT Playbook 1".  It’s basically a system of reflective teacher practices.  And there are 30 of them, which means that you can select one to do everyday.

As any new age teacher can tell you, this will slide perfectly between my hour of “Joe Rogan Experience” in the morning and “Netflix binging” in the evening.

This week, I plan to begin from Millin’s section of Teacher Health and Well-being tasks.  The first on my list is to document 3 personal strengths, select one to develop, and speak on it for 5 minutes.  Hal might be bothered by it, but it should work well enough!

For the full book, just shop here.

For more from Sandy Millin, make sure you check out her blog and follow her on twitter @sandymillin.

If you’d like to find yourself featured on our site for a book review, product review, or teacher interview, please e-mail steve@halandsteveenglish.com

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