Lizzie Pinard, author of cultural series Compass, tells us about her ELT interests, winning an ELTon and offers her advice on becoming an ELT author.

polaroid 01

Tell us a little about yourself

I’ve been teaching English for just over six years now, which doesn’t seem like long yet I seem to have packed a lot in so far. I’ve worked in two parts of Indonesia, Palermo in Sicily, and various parts of the UK and I’ve also done my M.A. in ELT and my Delta in one insanely intense year at Leeds Beckett University (though it was Leeds Metropolitan at the time!).

I currently work at the University of Sheffield as an EAP tutor, preparing students to do a course at the university, and so far I love it. (As a cyclist, though, I would describe Sheffield as one big, extremely hilly wind tunnel with really bad roads and equally bad, if not worse, drivers…nevertheless, it is home!)

Alongside work, I blog at and dabble in various ELT-related projects, such as journal article writing, book chapter writing, materials writing and research. I’m also currently trying to maintain my Italian, French and German, and learn Spanish and Polish! When I’m not teaching or learning, I’m probably out on a run/bike ride, tinkering in the garden/greenhouse, cooking yummy vegan food, having a long hot bath or collapsed in a corner somewhere having a much-needed rest…

How would you describe yourself in five words?

Nouns: Vegan, runner, cyclist, animal lover, horse-mamma (compounds count as one word, right?)

Adjectives: creative, hard-working, active, driven, caring (bit of a mixture, depends on which area of my life, though there is a lot of crossover!)

How did you start your writing career?

I won an ELTon in 2014! (The Macmillan-sponsored one that only unpublished folk can put in for) It came as a bit of a shock, but there we are – turns out my dissertation materials from my Leeds Beckett days were worth an ELTon as well as a distinction: who’d have thought it? To put it another way, I was lucky. Through the award, I’ve been working alongside my editors to make the materials suitable for a wider audience so that they could be published on the site. ( )

An alternative or adjacent answer might be: in the classroom! I’ve always enjoyed making materials to use with my students, as it is one of my many outlets for my creativity. Of course, importantly, my practice became more principled as I did the materials development module of my M.A.

Where’s the most interesting place you’ve taught?

Do I have to pick?

What’s your proudest teaching moment?

Any time when my students succeed in doing what they want to do, whatever that may be.

What’s your most embarrassing teaching moment?

As if I would publish that on the internet!

What’s your favourite joke?

The standard diet of a meat-eater is blood, flesh, veins, muscles, tendons, cow secretions, hen periods and bee vomit. And once a year during a certain holiday in November, meat-eaters use the hollowed-out rectum of a dead bird as a pressure cooker for stuffing. And people think vegans are weird because we eat tofu?

- Vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke

What are your tips for becoming an ELT author?

Um, am I an ELT author? I thought you had to have your name on a course book or methodology book or similar to lay claim to that! Nevertheless, my tips would be: write materials for your classes and see what does/doesn’t work; do an M.A. with a materials development component, or if you can’t do that, read and use the books on which treat different aspects of the writing process; submit lesson plans for the website’s lesson plan of the month competition; join the Materials Writing SIG of IATEFL, which is for new and experienced alike – you can learn a lot that way; attend conferences and network with people; take whatever opportunities come along – it may not be what you dreamed of but it may lead in that general direction/be a very useful learning experience!