I have recently completed 18 years in this amazing world of ELT. Reaching majority wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, and it brought a great deal of reflection on what kind of professional I would like to represent to such a thriving community.
Although I have been actively working for this long, I felt terribly lonely. I knew very little of ELT communities in social medias, and international associations, and my only source of continuous professional development were the reference books, which I would avidly read in search of improved practices.
All of this has changed 7 years ago (which I believe is also a full growth and improvement cycle) when I started working for an organization which invests heavily on teacher development. Looking back, I am proud to have taken all the opportunities which were offered, and I eagerly await for the future ones.
Meanwhile, in the true spirit of “Sharing is Caring”, I leave here 5 things I wish I knew back in 2000, when I was only a novice teacher. If you are Reading this, I hope it truly helps. If you are a seasoned veteran like me, leave your comments and help a fellow teacher have a smoother path ahead
- The work of a teacher is never completely done: More often than not you will find yourself thinking of your students and of different activities and vídeos you would like to show them. I used to have a folder on my computer with songs, vídeos and activities divided by communicative objectives. Call me an organization freak, but it indeed helped me to spend less time preparing lessons and more time enjoying their learning process.
- Continuous Professional Development doesn’t always demand a great monetary investment: God save the internet and all the neverending tools it provides. You can find courses for essentially anything you would like to improve in! One of the best sources for online courses are the ones offered by FutureLearn (you will only pay if you would like to receive a certificate on your course). Check the link for more info: https://www.futurelearn.com/. For a small amount, you can also participate in one-day events. São Paulo Open Centre has an extensive agenda. Check the link for more info: http://saopauloopencentre.com.br/institucional/.
- If you are not a member of “Braz Tesol” or “BrElt – A Global ELT Community made by Brazilians” you should stop whatever you are doing and sign in right away. Both have very active Facebook communities, and very generous member who not only help with their expertise but also place invaluable questions which bring positive reflections about our practices and our role as communication experts.
- IATEFL is a highly productive international association of English teachers, with members from all around the world. I had the pleasure and the opportunity to participate in 2017 of the Glasgow edition, and it surely broadened my horizons in so many levels. Remember when I told that I felt very lonely in my novice years? I couldn’t have been more wrong. And if you are questioning now the amount of Money you would have to save in order to be able to travel to the UK, know that there are several scholarships you can apply for. You can find more information about it on this link: https://www.iatefl.org/
- “You are not alooooone, I believe in yoooooou” (shamelessly quoting Michael Jackson): we are numerous, we are loud, we are active and we matter! Do not let anything or anyone tell you otherwise. Everything you do in class impacts positively (or negatively, unfortunately) on our students’ perspective of the world around. Count on the help of the inumerous SIGs (Special Interest Group) and “heal the world, make it a better place” (yeah, him again)
Having this in mind, and all the love and care in your heart, I say: “Welcome to all of you who are interested in attempting a career in this area”. And if we can be of any help, leave your comments here and we’ll make sure to answer!