Japan’s Festival of Good Fortune

Kumade (lucky charms) at Shinjuku’s Tori no Ichi festival in 2018. Photo by Laura Cooper.

On certain November nights in Tokyo you may find yourself in a crowd drawn to Hanazono Shrine in Shinjuku’s San-chome district.Walking by the tourist hotspot of Golden Gai you’ll spy a line a yatai food stalls stretching down the street ahead, nearby shop doorways full…


Language teachers report back from the digital classroom

Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash

It’s been just over two months since myself and my coworkers moved to an online classroom and although the quarantine restrictions are slowing easing off, it looks as though we won’t be returning to face-to-face teaching before the summer vacation.

I took a quick survey of colleagues in Japan and…


What’s wearing you down in your online classroom?

What my eye feel like after 6 hours on Zoom. Photo by Slim Emcee on Unsplash

I was full of enthusiasm for the massive change that online teaching made to my life when my school closed and went digital two months ago. …


Some teachers don’t

Photo by Luca Upper on Unsplash

A few weeks into our online lockdown classes, I asked my English language students what they had come to appreciate over the previous weeks.

“School,” they answered. “I miss school.”

“You mean, you miss your friends?”

“No, everything,” they replied.

Colour me surprised. Before coronavirus shut our private academy, most…


Reading Carmen Maria Machado’s “Inventory” During A Pandemic

Photo by Holger Link on Unsplash

The choice to take a closer reading of Carmen Maria Machado’s short story “Inventory” was made before I found myself in lockdown. Having read it back in 2018 in Machado’s collection “Her Body and Other Parties”, the story stuck with me, and…


Building connection and interest in online learners

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Since moving classes online, have you noticed any differences in your student’s behaviour? On the plus side, you may find that rather than being ignored, you have a much fairer chance of being able to give instructions to receptive ears, rather than talking to a wall of chatter (hello, mute…


Health and safety hacks for your makeshift office

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that your “office” doesn’t look like the image above. …


6 Tips to Managing Your Online Classroom Without Tears

Photo by Fabrizio Chiagano on Unsplash

My introduction to Zoom was in a stuffy classroom on the Friday morning before lockdown began: 30-plus teachers sardined in front of an interactive whiteboard with their laptops and tablets balanced on tiny desktops, all vying for temporary connection to the…


Get started moving from desk to desktop

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Moving from a bricks and mortar classroom to the virtual world was a steep learning curve for me, but now the initial teething troubles are over, I’ve come to like my virtual classroom so much that I am dreading returning to a real…


Ever get that weird urge to jump? Here’s why.

Man standing on edge of building in Hong Kong.
Photo by Anthony Intraversato on Unsplash

The first time I recall experiencing the “call of the void” was when I was traversing the footbridge across the lake on my university campus. On my daily walk, I often experienced an urge to throw either myself, or my mobile…

Laura Cooper

UEA MA Creative Writing student. Former teacher writing about career change, literature, and random bits of research I’ve done.

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