An Ideas Page by Omar Villarreal and Marina Kirac (c)
Year 2          Number 12       March 5th   2000
"Mimbrero, sentémonos aquí
y armemos con tus hilos blancos
y con tus hilos azules
los esenciales artefactos de uso diario :
la paz, la mesa, la poesía, la cuna,
los canastos para el pan ,
la voz para el amor"
E. Barquero "Mimbre y Poesía"
Another school year begins . We teachers  start weaving the basic artifacts
of our job again. As every single year of our long or short teaching careers, our blue threads and our students´white threads are ready for a new construction. Together we start building anew, writing new stories, creating new bonds, dreaming new dreams, generating new illusions,  
Let us make our construction as simple and as beautiful as this short poem.
Let us not forget the basics : peace, poetry, food for the body and the soul and  the miracle of life . Let us all fight hard to love and teach others to love, to be generous, to give and to SHARE.
May God help us to become better builders this year, every year...
A dear friend José Luis Morales, Macmillan Heinemann ELT Manager for Uruguay, has sent us this beautiful story. He insists on calling it just
"a nice story" but it was much more than that for Marina and me. We are sure
you are going to enjoy it too :
There is a story many years ago of an elementary teacher.  Her name was Mrs. Thompson.  And as she stood in  front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school,  she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at  her students and said that she loved them all the same.  But that was impossible, because there in the front row,  slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. 
Mrs. Thompson  had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn't play well  with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he
constantly needed a bath.  And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where  Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting  a big "F" at the top of his papers.
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was  required to review each
child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she
reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.
Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a  bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners...he is a joy to be around."
His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an  excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."
His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's  death has been hard on him.
He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."
Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show
much interest in school.  He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class."
By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself.
She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents.  Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume.  But she stifled the children's laughter when  she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.
Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs.
Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to." After the children
left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children.
Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy.  As she worked with him,
his mind seemed to come alive.  The more she encouraged him, the faster
he responded.  By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest
children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one her "teacher's pets."
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy.  He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors.  He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he  explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had.  But now his name was a little longer-the letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.
The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was going to be married. He  explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.  Of course,  Mrs.Thompson did.  And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.
They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs.Thompson's ear,
"Thank you, Mrs. Thompson, for believing in me.   Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.."
Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back.  She said, "Teddy,
you have it all wrong.  You were the one who taught me that I could make a
difference.  I didn't know how to teach until I met you."
Please remember that wherever you go, and whatever you do, you will have the opportunity to touch and/or change a person's  outlook....please try to do it in a
positive way.

Our friend and old SHARER, Ricardo Sampedro writes to us to announce the  launch in Buenos Aires and Cordoba of his Education for a Change - an independent training project promoting work with Social Values in the ELT classroom :

Buenos Aires

"Social Values in the Classroom" by Ricardo Sampedro

"Teaching for Diversity" by Susan Hillyard

Saturday 18 March, 9:00 to 13:00 -  Venue to be confirmed

Registration: (011) 4982-2409 and

Fee: $ 15.-


"Social Values in the Classroom" by Ricardo Sampedro

Saturday 25 March 9:00 to 12:30

Venue:  Blackpool Bookshop , Av Rafael Nuñez 4555

Registration:  (0351) 423-7172

Fee: $ 10.-

No doubt an initiative worth SHARING ! We´ll stay tuned for Ricardo´s coming events and wish him the very best in this project.



Gabriel Diaz Maggioli, URUTESOL President 1999-2000, writes to us to invite all SHARERS to the  2000 URUTESOL International Convention and Exposition to be held in Montevideo on July 10-12 under the unifying theme of ONE PATH, MANY DIRECTIONS. 

A special feature is the Southern Cone TESOL Academy that will be held in Montevideo on July 8 - 9, immediately before the Convention.  You can visit the this web page  for  detailed information on the Academy.

Promotional materials as well as the call for papers and enrolment information is available on request from Gabriel Díaz Maggioli , Convención 1419 – 11100 Montevideo ,



As every year teachers of English in Argentina start getting ready for the biggest ELT event of the year, our FAAPI Congress . This year the event will be organized by the Asociación Austral de Profesores de Inglés and will be held in Comodoro Rivadavia on 21, 22 and 23 September. 

The Congress appears to be as promising and highly professional as ever . It was heard through the grapevine that our "Australis" colleagues want to make this an unforgettable occasion with top-notch speakers from all over the world ...and a number of recently inaugurated five-star hotels at very convenient prices at our disposal. A web page with all the information is currently under construction and we will soon be hearing about it.

The call for papers is out and proposal forms as well as further details can be obtained from Adriana Marcos, the Austral Association President, at Adriana´s computer might blow up any minute now, so you might use the following additional electronic address : .



A SHARER from Ranelagh, in Southern Greater Buenos Aires, Norma Beatriz
Rodriguez , , sent us these incredible jokes. Just the right stuff for the beginning of a new school year with 40 something little Johnnies in each class :
Teacher: Little Johnny, go to the map and find North America.

Little Johnny: Here it is!

Teacher: Correct. Now, class, who discovered America?

Class: Little Johnny!


Teacher: Are you chewing gum?

Little Johnny: No, I'm Little Johnny.


Teacher: How can one person make so many stupid mistakes in one day?

Little Johnny: I get up early.


Teacher; Didn't you promise to behave?

Little Johnny: Yes, sir.

Teacher: And didn't I promise to punish you if you didn't?

Little Johnny: Yes, sir, but since I broke my promise, you didn't have
to keep yours.


Little Johnny: Teacher, would you punish me for something I didn't do?

Teacher: Of course not.

Little Johnny: Good, because I didn't do my homework.


Teacher: Why are you late?

Little Johnny: Because of the sign.

Teacher: What sign?

Little Johnny: The one that says, "School Ahead, Go Slow. "That's what I

Teacher: I hope I didn't see you looking at Don's paper.

Little Johnny: I hope you didn't either.


Teacher: Well, at least there's one thing I can say about your son.

Father: What's that?

Teacher: With grades like these, he couldn't be cheating.


Teacher: Johnny, give me a sentence starting with "I".

Little Johnny: I is...

Teacher: No, Little Johnny. Always say "I am."

Little Johnny: All right. "I am the ninth letter of the alphabet."



Dear Omar and Marina:
I´m Micaela Nerguizian, a third year student at the UTN and I´d like to tell
you that I love receiving your SHARES and I´d also like to share with you
and all fellow ¨sharers¨ a poem that I love and that has to do with the
beginning of a new academic year.


A millionbillionwillion miles from home
Waiting for the bell to go. (To go where?)
Why are they all so big, other children?
So noisy? So much at home they
must have been born in uniform
Lived all their lives in playgrounds
Spent the years inventing games
that don´t let me in. Games
that are rough, that swallow you up.

And the railings.
All around, the railings.
Are they to keep out wolves and monsters?
Things that carry off and eat children?
Things you don´t take sweets from?
Perhaps they´re to stop us getting out
Running away from the lessins. Lessin.
What does a lessin look like?
Sounds small and slimy.
They keep them in glassrooms.
Whole rooms made out of glass. Imagine.

I wish I could remember my name
Mummy said it would come in useful.
Like wellies. When there´s puddles.
Yellowwellies. I wish she was here.
I think my name is sewn on somewhere
Perhaps the teacher will read it for me.
Tea-cher. The one who makes the tea.


I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy the SHARES you send me.

We certainly did. THANK YOU for sharing it with all of us , Micaela !


Our dear SHARER and most reputed lecturer Susan Hillyard announces the following activities of CELL at Itesl in Olivos. They are starting the year with a 12 hour energy raising workshop on "Change" for professionals : HATS OFF TO CHANGE to be leadered by Susan Hillyard and Claudia Rey on Saturday 25th March and Saturday 1st April 9.00-17.00 (There is an option of attending just one or both sessions).

For teachers wishing to do some serious work on professional development. there are two special pre-postgrad 36 hour course ( divided into 12 sessions of 3 hours each) :

The Teaching and Learning Process by Susan Hillyard (starts Friday 7th April)Reading Processes and Strategies  by Claudia Rey (starts Saturday 8th April) 

For more information on course content and fees, please telephone 4796-2534 or 4797-2775 or e-mail

Mick Hillyard, Susan´s husband and a very artistic teacher , will be singing with Bluesberry Jam at a Rolling Stones Tribute Night at the "Buenos Aires News",  Libertador 3883, Paseo de la Infanta, Arco 17 on Friday 10th after midnight. What a great opportunity for the many SHARERS living in Buenos Aires to get together and celebrate the beginning of a new school year... away from the children !
Our friend and colleague Alicia Gil invites all SHARERS and their friends to an
exhibition of her paintings entitled "PATCHWORK". The exhibition can be visited until 16th March at Sede Central Asociación Critistiana de Jóvenes, Reconquista 439, Capital Federal. There is more than one reason to make Alicia a very "special" colleague : she is a Sworn Translator from Universidad del Salvador, a graduate teacher from IESLV "J.R. Fernández" and a graduate teacher of painting from Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes "Prilidiano Pueyrredón". She is currently working towards her Master of Arts in the Humanities at California State University and teaches " 20th Century Culture" and "Discourse Analysis" at Instituto Nacional Superior del Profesorado Técnico de la UTN . Does she ever rest ?
Our dear SHARERS Jamie Duncan and Laura Szmuch write to us :
We will be having our other free introductory talk on NLP in Versalles, Capital Federal on Saturday 18 March at 10.00am.
There are still a few places available at the San Isidro talk - Friday 10 March 2.30pm.
Phone:  4641-9068/4431-7582 to reserve your place or contact us at or
Keep up the brilliant work !
You too, keep up your brilliant work and keep us posted on your coming activities !
We are very proud. We are very happy. This issue of SHARE will be received 
by more than 1,000 teachers from our country and neighbouring countries . Today we are exactly 1.012 SHARES and the list keeps on growing. And we should be happy when we can count colleagues like Elida Messina among our 
dearest friends. She writes to us ;

Dear Omar and Marina, Marina and Omar (does this opening prove I love you BOTH?):

Virgil said "They can because they think they can." Your SHARE 11 has just proved once again - to me , at least - that that principle written hundreds of generations ago is well and alive. Your SHARE messages do mean a lot to me and I am sure everyone of the recipients enjoy them,  and find them inspiring and helpful. 

SHARE 11 happens to be one of the best so far. I'm sure you'll keep up in quality of content and not only thank you for it, but congratulate you on this initiative and wish you continued success in this and all other endeavors. For

 "To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded,"

 as Ralph Waldo Emerson defined success is what your SHARE 11 has made me feel tonight. THANKS A LOT!



It is messages like this that make us realize we are on the right track and  make us increase our commitment to our dear SHARERS. We have a long year ahead . We can make this year different, special, brilliant if only we learn how " hold hands and stick together "


Omar and Marina

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