British Council ELTons 2014: the speech I *didn’t* make

As everybody who follows this blog (and one or two others who don’t) know, I was nominated/shortlisted for an ELTon this year. I was delighted when I made the long-list back in November – would have been quite satisfied just to have got that far – then thoroughly wowed when I made the short-list in March.

Tonight, thanks to my lovely Dos and my school director, I was able to attend the awards ceremony, along with my M.A. ELT tutor/”product team”, Heather. Prior to the ceremony, all nominees had been emailed to request that we prepare a speech for just in case we should win the award. Well, suffice to say speech-writing didn’t happen, end-of-term report writing (and a million other things) did – but that’s ok, it wasn’t like I was going to actually win or anything… Except, I did. Miraculously enough, I am now an ELTon winner in the category of Macmillan award for new talent in writing. (Thank you, Macmillan and thank you British Council!)

Apparently I won!

Apparently I won!

I was so stunned when they announced me as the winner, that I had to be shown the way to get onto the stage. And then, of course, I was presented with the award (which I can vouch is very solid glass, going by the weight – wouldn’t like to drop it on my toes by mistake…) and asked to say a few words. Rabbit in the headlights comes to mind, but nevertheless I duly made a speech of sorts. Which could be summed up in the following sentence: “I was super lucky because I went to IATEFL a couple of years ago, found a flyer in my conference pack and as a result wound up at Leeds Met, where my materials were born” I clean forgot that one is supposed to thank every man and his dog on such occasions – and it’s not like I’m without people to thank. Fortunately, I have a blog, so now I’m going to write the speech I should have said! (Though I think what I said was a good start…)

“I’m standing here (now a figurative here!) tonight because of a flyer. Two years ago, I went to the IATEFL conference in Glasgow and I found a flyer in my bag. It was the flyer for Leeds Metropolitan Uni, where I would go on to do my M.A. in ELT. It wasn’t a decision taken lightly – it was a risk. But sometimes, taking risks pays huge dividends. I didn’t know Leeds Met. I didn’t know that I would find the best tutors (thank you all!) and course-mates (thank you too!) I could ever have hoped to have there. I stepped into the unknown – and got super-lucky. I’m mostly here tonight because I’m lucky…

My biggest thanks has to go to Heather Buchanan, course leader of the M.A. ELT/Delta at Leeds Met, from whom I learnt so much during the materials development module, and who gave me so many hours of her time and so much support throughout the course and especially while I was creating these dissertation materials (and trying to decide how to answer the awkward questions she asked me about them on a regular basis!). Also, for not letting me bin them halfway through the summer when I had decided they were rubbish and I’d be better off starting again! Thank you for everything, Heather. 🙂

Secondly, I must thank Sandy Millin, who I met thanks to Twitter and #ELTchat and who has been a massive source of inspiration to me ever since. If it weren’t for her, my materials would be twice as long as they currently are, as the instructions would all be epically long, rambling nightmares. One weekend, Sandy eventually managed to just about beat the habit of using ten words where three would do out of me, as well showing me a wonderful world of computer shortcuts that made my life (well, using Indesign and MS Word) a lot easier, during a rather trying several months! Thank you so much, Sandy! 🙂

Thirdly, a big thank you is also due to Jane Templeton, one of my course mates at Leeds Met. She had the unenviable task of putting up with my regular whinging about the D-beast. (On the plus side, she got to moan about her assignments to me too, though!) Seriously, though, things are made so much easier by the support of others who know what you’re going through, so you can cuss together over a glass of wine! Thank you, Jane! 🙂

Finally, though they only came into my life after the big project was complete, I want to thank my current employers and colleagues. I work in a fantastic school, with really supportive people around me and that is invaluable. Currently, it is the busiest time of the year at IH Palermo, but my DoS let me attend the ceremony tonight nevertheless and has been so very supportive of me in every way, while my colleagues have, between them, covered the classes I will be missing as a result. Thank you Jonny, Pat and Silvio, and everybody else at IH Palermo. I’m very glad to be going back for another contract after the summer!

I’m also here because my Grandad left me some money when he died, and it was that money that I used to pay for my course at Leeds Met. He was an amazing man, who lived an amazing life and I wish he were able to see what a difference he’s made to my life. My M.A. ELT/Delta year was life-changing in so many ways. And this ELTon award is one of the wonderful outcomes of it.

I’m delighted to accept the award (yep, still delighted!) and (still pretty much as) stunned (as I was when I stumbled onto the stage this evening). Thank you everybody.”  Fortunately I hadn’t prepared a speech so the audience didn’t have to sit through this when I was unleashed on the microphone. 😉

It’s been a crazy journey getting to this point, and I look forward with interest to the next stage. Meanwhile, it was a brilliant experience being at the ELTons ceremony tonight, albeit rather surreal for a little nobody like me! 🙂 My warmest congratulations to all the other winners in all the other categories!

And now, 20hrs after I woke up in Palermo this morning, goodnight world! 🙂

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26 thoughts on “British Council ELTons 2014: the speech I *didn’t* make

  1. Congratulations! 😊 you deserve this award and much more . I made good run across your blog , as a NNEST I have been learning a wealth of things . And… Guess what? I’m really thinking to join a DELTA course either in Italy or in Ireland ….
    Thank you Lizzie Pinnard. ☺️

  2. Pingback: British Council ELTons 2014: the speech I *didn...

  3. Huge congrats Lizzie! Your journey makes for an inspiration for all of us out there and. no doubt this award will open up more doors to enrich the great teacher/learner you already are. Super chuffed for you!!

  4. Congratulations, I was there last night and the short speech was a mercy compared with some…Looking forward to seeing what happens next for you as well as this is one that is particularly interesting given the nature of the publishing industry in ELT.

  5. Congratulations on your winning the ELTons. I was given an invite to attend the event but unfortunately I couldn’t attend but it would have been great to see you win the prize.

  6. Congratulations Lizzie! And thank you so much for the kind words – it was a pleasure to be able to help you out, because you’ve helped me with so many things too. It’s this amazing support network which makes the online community so valuable. I’m very glad I met you, because you keep inspiring me to be a better teacher too.
    Please note: you are not a ‘little nobody’ at all! And you definitely can’t say that again with an ELTon to your name 😉
    Looking forward to seeing where your ELT journey takes you!
    Sandy

    • Thank you, Sandy 🙂 I agree, it *is* an amazing network and a valuable community. I think it must be very healthy to keep inspiring one another, long may it continue! …”an ELTon to your name” – still seems surreal! 🙂
      And I look forward to seeing where *your* journey takes *you* too!
      Lizzie

  7. Pingback: At the British Council ELTons, 2014! | Reflections of an English Language Teacher

  8. Belated congratulations, Lizzie. I know I posted on your FB wall but thought I would leave a comment here as I have only just got round to watching the awards ceremony. I didn’t realise until today that you actually attended, as I thought you might have to stay in Palermo. Well done again, and, all being well, I will see you in Sheffield!

    • Belated thanks, Phil! (Back on the computer this morning for the first time since 31st May…so blog has been accumulating comments since then! Having a good old clear out now…) Hope to see you in Sheffield – good luck! 🙂

  9. Pingback: ELTons 2015 | Mike Harrison

  10. Pingback: My ELTon-winning materials have gone live on Onestopenglish.com!* | Reflections of an English Language Teacher

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