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A lesson

A wood in April with a blue sky and clouds. The trees are starting to sprout leaves and the ground is covered with bluebells.
Taken by me, Berkshire.

As many of you know, I like walking – Nordic walking. I find it gets me out of the flat and helps to relax my brain. I don’t listen to any music or podcasts, just the sounds of nature. However, the last couple of days I haven’t enjoyed it at all. The walks have been increasing my anxiety.

The reason for this is that last week I was bitten by a dog on the back of my leg. I was walking past a farmhouse with my poles and I heard loud barking and a small dog came running up behind me. I didn’t take much notice as my neighbours have dogs and they’ve always been friendly. I kept on walking and felt a sting in the back of the leg. The owner came running to take the dog away – apparently, she was putting him in the car so didn’t have a lead on. She excused his behaviour by saying he didn’t like poles. She was concerned about me, but I insisted I was OK. Of course, I hadn’t looked at my leg as I thought it was a scratch mark. I kept going but then found I was limping. I managed to have a look and thought I could see a couple of puncture wounds.

I didn’t finish the walk – I got my partner to come and pick me up. I rang the doctor and was prescribed antibiotics and then also a tetanus booster. I dress it every day and it’s currently got a lovely bruise surrounding the three bite wounds. I thought it was just a small thing, but it looks worse than it feels.

But it has affected me. It’s made me anxious when I’m out on my walks. I went the day after because I didn’t want to not go out. But it’s been the same since. And I know it will be for a while, I just didn’t believe that it would be this level of anxiety. Unfortunately today was probably the worst. I tried to go to a place where there might not be dogs, but I live in the countryside and anywhere and everywhere there are dogs being walked. But today there were a lot of dogs.

But I’m going to keep walking. I can’t not. The anxiety will eventually subside. Not all dogs are going to bite me. Not all dogs are going to like my Nordic poles. But I can’t let this spoil my enjoyment of the countryside around me as well as making the cards that I do. (little plug, see here).

So, what’s The lesson?

Sometimes in ELT, we need to do something that maybe takes us out of our comfort zone or keep persisting with something. Persisting with creating more representative materials and course books, for example. Taking time when curating photo briefs to include a wider range of body sizes, for instance. Maybe giving alternative, more inclusive images to replace ones that only depict caucasian people. Or perhaps it’s remembering to write ALT text for your images on social media. Maybe it’s challenging the way that ELT publishing forgets LGBTQIA* stories.

What lessons have you learned this week?

On a different note, please do feel free to check out my blog post for Diverse Educators.

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