Ghost of Jemma Present & Future
Firstly, Happy New Year!! Welcome to 2012!
I’m back in Germany after a gloriously long Christmas break back in the UK and am ready to look forward to what 2012 will hold for me.
“During cold-weather months, underneath the bustle of the holidays, the Earth is preparing in the northern hemisphere for a long period of inner stillness before the rebirth of spring. The closing of the year elicits contemplation: What has transpired? Where are we headed? What is left undone?”
In this post I plan to tackle the last two questions in this quote.
So, to continue – Where are we headed?
I see 2012 as a year of big changes. I have been looking for a new job back in the UK as a teacher/teacher trainer and my hope was to have something organised by IATEFL-time.
Moving back to the UK could seem to some as a step back to a previous life, but for me it means returning to a context that I find preferable to the one I am currently working in. I started my career in the UK working with multilingual classes in a private language school. The students’ sole reason for being there was to learn English (and to lap up some English culture/party!). They were therefore free of the distractions of the pile of work on their desks, or their phone ringing during the lesson and having to deal with a sudden work-related issue, or simply being knackered after a long day of work and a rush-hour journey to get to the school on time, which is the reality for most of my current students.
Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching in-companies or business clients who need English for their jobs. I also know that there are other distractions specific to the types of learners you find in such UK-based classes. But I also miss teaching groups of learners who are in the school every day for at least a few hours. This continuity and the amount of face-to-face time you get with the students enhances progress and therefore, as a teacher in this context, I found it more rewarding. I think it’s one reason why I have loved teaching on the Celta so much, because you see the trainees everyday and you work closely with them, albeit for just one month.
I hope to find a new position where I can continue to develop and learn from my colleagues as I have been so fortunate to do over my career so far. I hope to be able to take on responsibilities in helping my colleagues develop too, by giving more TD workshops and perhaps being part of a mentoring scheme. I thoroughly enjoy giving workshops and helping colleagues out. Sharing ideas with my existing colleagues helps me to expand and define my knowledge and ideas, much like writing this blog and being on Twitter does.
It has also been great to see some of the Celta-graduates from recent courses become my colleagues and see our working relationship develop as they attend my TD workshops as teachers, rather than trainees. Or to have staffroom discussions with them as colleagues, free of the different pressures of the Celta course.
And finally – What is left undone?
What a question! SO much. Here’s a couple of things nearer the top of the list –
1. A Master’s. There’s been some interesting discussion going around recently about whether it’s “worth it”. I think it depends on the reasons for doing it. There are some great bloggers out there who discuss their master’s courses and seem to be getting a lot from it. E.g. Dave Dodgson and Tyson Seburn to name but a couple. For me, if I were to do the Applied Linguistics Master’s, it would be to increase my working knowledge in order to improve my classroom practice. I am aware that it is unlikely to make me more employable, but it would hopefully make me better at my job. A master’s in TESOL would mean the possibility to move into a more managerial role, which is not where I want to head just yet, but perhaps I will later down the line?
I have also been harbouring an interest for Forensic Linguistics for a few years. (If you aren’t sure what that is, Scott Thornbury usefully included it on his blog late last year – read the post here.) A master’s in that would quell my desire to learn more about it, but would I really want to ever do it as a job?! I’m not sure that I would ever want to completely exchange the classroom for a life spent at a desk analysing text.
2. I had just started to write that I felt I need to do more reading. I then realised that by “reading” I was thinking purely of published work, such as books and journals. However, I do read a lot: I wouldn’t like to guess how much time I spend reading the blogs from my PLN, but it’s a lot. Sometimes (such as now after the Christmas break), it can be overwhelming how much there is to read! Yes, published work has its place, but I feel I can engage more with what you guys out there are saying and sharing. (That’s one thing ticked off the list already! Excellent.)
3. Speak at a conference. Yes, I want to. No, I have never put in a proposal. Yes, that’s silly of me. 2012 may change that. I just need to think of something to talk about…! Watch this space.
And that’s my self-centred ramblings completed. Thanks for reading this far, and, again, thank you for being part of my professional development. I look forward to working with you and hopefully meeting some of you over the coming year.