Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tetris syndrome and life

I was a little surprised when I entered "tetris syndrome" into the search engine and it actually gave me results. Apparently I'm not the only one who couldn't get the "floating Tetris pieces" out of my head back in those days.

Similarly, when I took art lessons, we often talked about composition and shapes. We were taught to "see." I remember the teachers paroling the classroom, often commenting, "You need to draw what you see, not what you THINK you see." And I would leave the classroom and walk across the campus, seeing not trees and people, but triangles and squares and areas of dark and light.

But what reminded me of this concept wasn't computer games or works of art. It was the topic of problem-solving and how we get used to thinking in a certain way.

I lay awake in bed last night planning an ESL lesson, even though I probably won't be teaching for another month. The wheels started turning and before I knew it I was visualizing handouts and role-playing and having imaginary conversations with my students (I keep a notepad by my bed for such moments). If you're in a profession where you constantly need to plan and come up with ideas, your brainstorming skills might be "triggered" easily.

What you apply your mind to will often stick with you, whether it's a visual occupation or not.

I wonder what people in other professions dream of.


  1. some times I dream in code. I have to follow the story in PHP or people have the "appropriate" HTML tags around them.

  2. Hi Liz!

    I just want to say how interesting and educational I've found your blog. Thanks for keeping it up. I can't remember exactly how I came across it (YLCF, I think), but I've been a regular visitor since.

    May I ask what specifically led you to Russia as a missionary and ESL teacher?


    P.S. and out of pure curiosity, did you attend college for ESL education? I ask because this is something I've considered myself.

  3. Hi Arleen! Thank you for introducing yourself. :)

    To answer the easier question, I did not study ESL education in college, but I have my TESOL certificate from the School of International Training. I enjoyed the program I completed. I also attend trainings and seminars when I get the chance, but I feel that I'm pretty well-equipped for teaching conversation.

    As for what led me to Russia, well that is a longer story. I think that I probably explained a little bit in some of my "Key Posts" in the side panel. What led me to teaching is that 1) People seemed to have a genuine need for learning English, and 2) I found that I liked it. I didn't want to just choose teaching English as the default line of work for a missionary, but after I tried it, it grew on me.

    I also work with children, and I am more interested in teaching than doing something like counseling.

    Hopefully that was understandable! :)


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