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Interview with Patrice Palmer conducted by Mike Simpson, June 2017.

Patrice Palmer is a teacher and entrepreneur from Hamilton, Ontario, who has launched a business as a “teacherpreneur.” She’s conducted over 50 interviews for her blog/newsletter and leads a variety of teacher training sessions. She agreed to the interview in late June 2017 and responded to Mike’s questions via email. 

What’s your family background? How did you get here?

I am Ukrainian on my father’s side and a mix of Irish/English/French on my mother’s side.

Do you know any family migration stories? Can you share one or two?

Yes, my grandparents came from the Ukraine in the 1920’s.  They were given a piece of land in Manitoba and worked very hard.  My father came from a large family – 12 brothers and sisters!  We used to have a family reunion picnic every summer but then our family just got too big.

How do you see Canada at 150 years old? What are Canada’s greatest successes and biggest failures? 

I am a very proud Canadian.  Our country is still so young but I think our views on diversity and inclusion are our biggest success although there is still a lot of work to do in this area.  I live in Hamilton, Ontario and unfortunately has the largest number of hate crimes in our country.  This is very disturbing and alarming.

What do you think of movements like Canada 150 plus (aboriginal movement) or what do you know about how Francophone communities see their role in modern day Canada? 

I see that a teepee has been erected at the Parliament Buildings to bring more awareness to their issues.  I think this is a very good thing but I also love that they can do this without fear of violence by the authorities.

Do you have any special personal or professional plans for the 150th anniversary of Canada this year? (Special travel or educational work or book publishing?)  

I don’t but I do have two Canadian flags on my front steps!

Where have you traveled? How has this travel informed your perspective? Where to next? Why?

I have travelust and started travelling when I was 20.  I haven’ really stopped.  I backpacked across South East Asia in my 20’s and volunteered at an orphanage with 400 kids in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  That was life-changing  I then travelled in Africa and Asia as an international development worker before I became an ESL teacher.  I also lived in Hong Kong for 7 years so I had a chance to travel a lot.  Myanmar/Burma is by far my most favourite place.  When I was younger, I never really thought about the freedom I have as a woman to walk down the street alone without being harassed.  This was not the case when I have travelled in certain parts of the world.  I would say that living abroad and travelling most of my adult life has lead me to believe that we are have more similarities with people than we do differences.

I’d like to get your opinion on today’s most useful education technology. What do you recommend to teachers in terms of new ideas and tools?

I really like using TEDTalks – I am a big fan.  Turnitin (the plagiarism software) has changed academic writing for the better in that students are less likely to plagiarise.

How did you get the idea for Teacher to Teacherpreneur? What was your process in launching the business?

It really happened by accident.  I left classroom teaching in December 2015 with the goal to find ways to earn income outside of the traditional classroom.  I worked on a lot of freelance projects and wrote a book.  Then teachers started asking me for advice.  I started a website, uploaded some resources, and presented at some TESL conferences.  The biggest surprise was finding teacherpreneurs all over the world who are doing interesting things.  I have a blog with more than 50 interviews now. It is nice to have the tables turned this time and be interviewed Mike so thanks for the opportunity.

Thanks Patrice!

Patrice Palmer OCELT, M.Ed., M.A., has more than 20 years’ experience as an ESL Teacher, TESL Trainer, and Writer in Canada and Hong Kong.  Patrice has taught students from 8 to 80 years in a variety of programs. Patrice is TESL Ontario certified and is accredited as a TESL Trainer for Methodology and Theory, Practicum Supervisor and Academic Coordinator.  She is Co-Chair of the Materials Writers Interest Section of TESOL and TESL Canada’s Chair, Outreach.  Patrice now works as a teacherpreneur doing the things she loves such as writing books, teaching online and helping teachers develop as professionals through instructional coaching.  Patrice’s first book Successful Group Work will be published in July 2017. Visit her website at:

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