This is an article I wrote with Shaun Wilden in July 2017 and am including a short introduction just to put new friends in the picture of how these particular ideas came to be and how we navigate our careers and learning these days.
I met Shaun in 2010, when my online PLN (Personal Learning Network) made up of some really great colleagues I was connecting with was already had started to collaborate online, spend hours on Twitter discussing everything under the ELT sun and even having great fun through great websites like Blip.FM and the #nighshift hashtag (now a secret group on facebook just for the chosen few 🙂 )
In September that year, we created #ELTchat, the hashtag weekly discussion that still continues to draw people every Wednesday for some hot discussions on twitter! Shelly Terrell, Barbara Sakamoto and Jason Renshaw were just a few of the people who drove this Twitter chat forward – but it was with Shaun that we managed to bring it to the ELTon Awards Finals in 2012. By this time, he had joined the #ELTchat Moderation team and become a solid member of my PLN.
Some of the fabulous women who became part of my PLN in 2010 (and still are!)
All of us have built careers – the result of hard work and determination, I grant you, but without these channels of communication none of this would have happened.
Shaun and I tried to convey this to colleagues in a recent article which we were asked to write for Modern English Teacher in July 2017. Today this article is offered for a free reading and free download. I encourage you to download it.
It’s a very good article, even though I say so myself! But what it doesn’t say so strongly is that numerous important friendships were also born out of these encounters, which are of equal value to teachers as professionals.
Autonomous professional development begins at home?
- ‘I work harder and harder but am not getting better results in class.’
- ‘I don’t enjoy my job/teaching any longer.’
- ‘I’m in a rut!’
- ‘My teaching is not getting any better!’
- ‘I need some inspiration, I feel so demotivated!’
Feeling stuck, the niggling sense that something is not working, leaving your class and wondering why something didn’t go as planned, can be caused by a number of things but is all too frequent to ignore.
Most teachers would probably admit that there are moments in their career when they suddenly feel stuck, as if in a rut, doing the same things over and over, with little sense of accomplishment or job satisfaction. This comes at different times for everyone; it could be after a couple of years teaching or after twenty.
Teacher or juggler?
Unquestionably, teaching is a highly complex profession and involves wearing a multitude of hats such as …
- course planner
- syllabus designer
- lesson designer
- materials/activity designer
- test writer
- class manager
- class monitor
- error corrector
- class psychologist
- parent substitute
- needs analyst
- class researcher
Some more traditional CPD options that present themselves to teachers
On top of that, teachers also need to develop their linguistic knowledge, cultural awareness, knowledge of other fields such as learning difficulties or specialist fields of teaching, understand and know more about their learners; the list is endless.
For this reason, we have compared teachers to jugglers trying to keep too many balls up in the air. Keep the balls in the air and you are fine; let one drop and the feeling of ‘stuckness’ sets in.
Continue reading on the MET website = >>>> Continue reading on the Modern English Teacher Website
This article was allowed to be read by non-subscribers for only a brief spell. If you are interested in the rest of the content, please watch the talk that Shaun Wilden and I delivered online at the = #RSCON4 in 2013
We first gave this talk in Glasgow at IATEFL International in 2012 – this was a repeat!
Let me know what you think in the comments!
Categories: Blog Post
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