Tuesday, February 1, 2011

About Me

My name is Nina Liakos. I am originally from New Jersey, but now I live in Gaithersburg, Maryland, not far from Washington, D.C. I am married to Christoforos Liakos, and we have one daughter, Vasiliki (Vicki), 18 years old.

I began teaching English as a Foreign Language in Paris in 1971. I had gone to Paris in 1970 as a college student doing my senior year abroad, studying Russian at the University of Paris VII (most people do a junior year abroad, but I wasn't organized enough to apply in time for my junior year!). When my year of study was over, I wasn't ready to go home; I loved living in Paris and wanted to remain for a while. My mother said, "Fine, but don't expect me to support you! You will have to get a job." I had no particular skills, but I took a three-week course on teaching English at International House in Paris, and I somehow managed to get a job teaching elementary and middle-school students at a private bilingual school on the Avenue Victor Hugo. I finished out the academic year there, but the following year I began working with adults at a private language school. I never taught children again.

I returned to the United States in 1973 and temped at the World Bank for a while. Then I spent a very interesting eight months working on the Impeachment Inquiry for Congressman Peter Rodino, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee (remember, this was the era of Watergate). But I missed teaching. In the fall of 1974, I found a job teaching international students at ELS and then at the American Language Academy (ALA), where I worked until I was hired by the Maryland English Institute at the University of Maryland in 1981; I have been there ever since. MEI has both an intensive English program and a semi-intensive program for matriculated UM students; I teach in both programs.

In 2006, I discovered the Electronic Village Online and enrolled in Becoming a Webhead under the tutelage of Dafne Gonzalez and Teresa Almeida d'Eça. It was a life-changing experience! When I started, I used only email and word-processing. In the five years since, I have played with blogs, wikis, VoIP, voiceboards, voice email, Tapped In, Second Life and more; have participated in and presented at online conferences and even co-moderated two EVO sessions. However, I still consider myself a novice. As a participant in EVO2011's Podcasting for the EFL/ESL Classroom, I have explored many new tools (plus some I had already signed up for but never used, such as Chirbit, Podomatic and Glogster) and learned so much from our wonderful co-moderators: Evelyn Izquierdo, Miguel Mendoza, and José Rodriguez. This blog is an artifact of this session.