Why am I still studying at 38?!?!
Every single decision we make regarding our career, every single diploma, certificate or degree we get, defines us as teachers. I am a firm believer of whatever we learn, even the most useless piece of information, may be useful in the future. It may open a window where a door has closed. So, this is me, talking about some of my choices, the teachers I met, and how they have made me the teacher I am today. Am I a a grand educator? Nope. Am I trying to improve? Definitely!
I spent my childhood in Sydney and moved to Greece when I was thirteen I did not speak much Greek at the time, I thrived in English though, so it was only natural that I studied the language. I got a B.A in English language and Philology. My minor was linguistics and my major was literature. After four years at uni, I thought, "Ok, now I can teach!" It is what the ministry of education says anyhow. Most of my modules were theoretical and I didn't have much practical knowledge or was I observed during the course but "hey, I got my degree" so "yeap, I could teach" and I did for a few years. Then, I felt that I needed to learn something new, my degree was not enough after all, so I decided to do a Master's of Education in TESOL. I was lucky enough to have a great supervisor, Dr. Nicos Sifakis, during my final year and a person who still helps me when I ask him something. I finished my M.Ed. and thought again, " Now, I have a Master's degree... I am a researcher.. I know loads... I am going to be a Queen Bee in my classes". It was easier to find jobs and I felt much more comfortable in my classes. My M.Ed. actually gave me the courage to apply for pre sessional EAP courses and I got my first job working at Newcastle University during the summer of 2011. EAP courses in the UK were a whole new experience. I had great managers, Darran Shaw and Nicky Collins, who believed in me, and helped me a lot, and lovely colleagues who now are dear friends. I also met my lovely friend Deirdre at Newcastle. She introduced me to Wefit solutions, where I am currently teaching Business English online. This is a whole new experience.
Newcastle was also the place where I heard about the Delta for the first time but remember, I was a super duper teacher now with an MA so.. did I really need the Delta?
After long talks with colleagues, and seeing the requirements and reading lists, I decided to do it. And I did. I passed module one by myself and then took a blended online course at CELT with Marisa Constantinides. Apart from all the great things I learnt during this course,the observations, the feedback, Marisa got me into blogging and tweeting. Blogging allows me to just keep talking : P and tweeting is a way to stay informed and meet lovely people, grow my PLN. I also met Angeliki, my Skype support buddy and the person who got me interested in TESOL conventions (my first presentation ever was at TESOL Greece, this year!), Lia, who is the person who shares stuff with me all the time, and Ola who said, " Go Jo! You can do it" when I was on the verge of giving up cause I was too tired to continue studying. I didn't quit. I passed module two and will be taking a little break before module 3 cause I need a break people!
Now what? Now, I know that I still have things to learn. I want to do a Business English trainers course as soon as possible and I am also thinking of doing a PhD.
Why? As I said at the beginning, you may be the best teacher in the world, but ELT changes and you got to keep up. What you, as a professional choose to study and invest your time and money on, will only help you excel. You cannot lose! So, continual professional development it is! You also need to be open to meeting people and learn from your colleagues! Be open to people and keep your antennas up for study opportunities!
Picture credits: http://arcsofia.org/node/393
There are many people who I met during my studies and work but unfortunately I cannot fit everyone in a blog post. It is wordy enough as it is... : )
Till next time.....