Several ELT bloggers, such as Rachel Daw, Sandy Millin and Anna Loseva have written posts which sum up their year in ELT in 2015. Inspired by them, I have decided to do the same. Here is a summary of my ELT life in 2015, through 30 questions.
(1) The best moment of the year
I was sitting in for the DoS one morning and a teacher came to me with a problem. I realized in that moment what the role of Academic Management is, which inspired me to write this recent post on the same topic. It is to be available to teachers and do whatever it takes to make it possible for them to teach as best as they can.
(2) What inspired me the most this year?
The answer to this question isn’t an event, a book or a moment but a person: Nati Brandi.
(3) The major news of this year
In January 2015 I found out I had got a Distinction in Module 2 of the Delta. I also completed a Teacher Training course and got an article published in the IH Journal. The British Council’s Teaching English Facebook page shared some of my ELT posts and one of them was shortlisted for the Blog of the Month award – 5 Ideas for Learner Language, which has since been shared over 5000 times on Facebook.
(4) Anthem of the year 2014
Evita. I spent most of 2015 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Several times I bursted into song at school, singing the opening song Oh What a Circus, and I listened to Don’t Cry for Me Argentina as my plane took off to take me home, back to the UK.
(5) The most important people in my life
In my professional life, the most important people are those who have engaged with me intellectually, helped me improve my teaching and understanding of what a managerial role in ELT is. They are my PLN, my Twitter followers and my colleagues. You know who you are.
(6) What was most difficult for me to do this year?
Whether to complain or to stay silent.
(7) What colour was this year?
Blue – the national color of Argentina. Having spent most of 2015 in Argentina, the national colour became a lot more prevalent in my life – a blue jacket, a blue notebook and a blue case.
(8) Which event of the year would I choose to remember forever?
LABCI 2015 in Montevideo, Uruguay. It wasn’t the first time I spoke at an international conference, but it was the first time I spoke at a conference of this size. The attendees came from all over the world and the conference’s sheer size and weight made it clear it was a significant international event in the ELT calendar.
I gave a talk on typical traps in-house Teacher Trainers fall into. I later discovered the attendees at my talk included teacher trainers from Brazil, Peru and even Gabriel Diaz Maggioli.
(9) Which word did I use most often?
“Phenomenal” – I picked it up in Spanish and transferred it to English.
(10) My most ridiculous purchase of the year
Shortly before leaving the UK in February, I bought Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom by Tricia Hedge, thinking I would take it with me and read it over the course of the year. I didn’t take into account the fact that it is heavy and I had very limited space in my suitcase to pack for a whole year.
(11) I shouldn’t have experimented with …
Tweeting and blogging about absolutely everything.
(12) This year was wonderful because …
I got to put everything I had learnt during Delta into real practice and because I learnt so much about management in ELT.
(13) Which inner problem did I solve successfully?
My teens this year often asked for games. I saw neither the relevance nor the justification for games. This is something which I managed to resolve in my mind, pedagogically speaking, half way through the year.
(14) Who did I hug at night?
It is too hot in Argentina to hug anyone at night.
(15) Whose wedding did I have fun at?
My friend Richard. He got married in Cyprus in June, which I flew to from Argentina. It took me two days to get there and I spent over 20 hours in the air.
(16) What was my average salary this year?
The economy in Argentina varies a lot: inflation is rampant and the political situation unstable. I earned on average 12000 pesos a month. At the beginning of the year that was enough to pay for a nice life style and even some pesos. By the end of the year, I was spending my entire salary and even my own savings from the UK to make ends meet.
(17) Did I have a conversation that turned everything upside down in my head?
Probably almost every ELT discussion I had with Nati Brandi. She is extraordinarily talented in making you rethink what you think you know. Thank you Nati for the conversations!
(18) What new project did I start in 2015?
I don’t know if you can call it a “project” but in 2015 I was determined to learn Argentine Spanish, which differs significantly from Iberian Spanish.
(19) If I could become a superhero for just one day, what would I do?
Change working and pay conditions in ELT so they are more representative of the hard work English Language Teachers do every day around the world.
(20) What am dreaming about now?
Taking up a position as a Director of Studies.
(21) What do I consider to be my most important achievement?
Learning how to conduct professional development sessions and observations effectively. I learnt this from practice, being observed myself and completing the IH Certificate in Teacher Training.
(22) This year until this moment in one sentence
Swimming in a sea of constant uncertainty, like the swimmer coming to the end of his length, the year draws to a close with the knowledge you can stop and get out the pool or you can turn around and continue until you reach your goal.
(23) The latest message I sent
“No problem. I’m glad I could help. I always try to whenever I can.”
(24) A quote that is most suitable for my year.
Not because it is particularly inspirational or that I believe in it. I even read somewhere this year that it is highly unlikely that Benjamin Franklin even said this.
I have chosen this quote because it truly sums up my year: one where I have learnt that I need to get involved in order to learn, not just write and theorise on ELT.
(25) Did I achieve everything I’d planned for this year?
I think this year I managed to figure out what truly effective teaching is, what learners want from their teacher and what the role of Academic Management is in ELT.
(26) How many new friends did I make this year?
Countless. Too many to numerate. However, they fall into three clear groups: my learners, other ELT professionals, and my colleagues.
(27) Who did I help this year?
My learners and colleagues in the ELT world. I often receive e-mails and messages asking for advice and help. I always try my best to help whenever I can. I have had several messages of thanks and gratitude. So, I must have done something right. You know who you are.
(28) Where did I travel?
This year I travelled to Buenos Aires (Argentina), Montevideo (Uruguay), Protaras (Cyprus), Famagusta (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus), Ushuaia (Argentina) and Cordoba Provence (Argentina).
(29) Which projects am I putting off till next year?
Writing a book and publishing an article in a peer-reviewed journal.
(30) What do I want to achieve next year?
I would like to get a DoS position, publish an article in an ELT academic journal and start writing a book.