04 June 2010

The end of the year

A few days ago I read a post on Jason Renshaw's blog showing an interview with Stephen Fry.  It was an amazing and inspiring video that got me thinking about this year.

I'm now heading towards the final lap of the year and next week the end of course exams start and, apart from my younger learners, I doubt many students will come for the final two classes of June.  I'm in my fourth year of teaching and this has been the most difficult year for me.  I seriously considered giving up my teaching career and returning to the UK and a variation of my previous job, working in IT.  I'm not sure why I found this year so challenging, maybe it was the long, wet winter we had in Seville.  Maybe it was the fact that I have to supplement my income doing extra work to make ends meet every month or maybe it was because I felt I was still making the same errors I've been making since I first started teaching and I shouldn't be.

On the positive side, I achieved everything I set out to achieve at the beginning of this year.  I have used ICT in new and interesting ways with my students setting up blogs and wikis and using online tools.  I've developed my personal learning network which has been an enormous help.  I've plucked up the courage to comment on other people's blogs and have even set up an account on Twitter - although I haven't really got my head around that yet and who any posts I send my messages to will go to as I don't know anybody who uses Twitter. 

Whatever the reasons for my negative feelings, I learned a lot about myself, my students, my strengths and my weaknesses.  And, inspired by the Mr Fry interview, which basically says "stop moaning and get on with it" I've decided to do just that!  I've also decided to do the modular Distance DELTA.

So, my aims for the next year are:
  • doing the DELTA
  • stay positive and enthusiastic!
  • continue to support and encourage colleagues who are not very confident with technology
  • continue trying to share my knowledge of Web 2.0 tools with those colleagues who are interested
  • widen my personal learning network (and make some friends on Twitter:))
What are your aims for next year?


  1. What's your twitter name? It does take a while to get used to.... I'm a year into twitter now, and I think I'm getting the hang of it. I'm @livesofteachers if you want to connect.

    To answer your question.... my goals for this year are to be more focused on student skills, to improve assessment and marking turnaround times, and to teach more heavyweight topics...

    Cheers from Japan!

  2. Hi Helen,

    I loved that video from Mr. Fry as well - and thanks to your comment and link, I've found my way back to this very refreshing blog of yours.

    I can recall hitting a bit of a wall in my 4th year of teaching as well - a feeling that the time and effort invested weren't really paying that much in the way of dividends (both professional and financial). One thing I did was get my MA TESOL started (which did invigorate me a lot), and the other thing I did was start taking more risks and pushing limits more with teaching and curriculum design. That helped spice things up a lot and it DID feel like I was getting out of a rut!

    As for now, I'm concentrating a lot more on online teaching, which is enormously liberating on so many fronts.

    Being a coursebook writer, however, I definitely feel in a rut, and I'm working hard to challenge myself and others in this field. We need change.

    Thanks for getting me to think about some of these things a little more!

    - Jason

  3. You sound absolutely ready for the DELTA. Which one (is supplier the right term?) did you go for?

  4. Hi Alex

    I've signed up for the Modular Distance Delta with IH - figured I would try to do it the "easy" way! I've started reading and so far found it interesting so that's a good start!

  5. Hi Jason

    I'm so sorry but I didn't see your comment - I was on a tight deadline to finish an (online) project then had a short holiday and I've neglected my blogs a bit.

    As far as coursebooks are concerned, I`m finding I use them less and less - perhaps some of the grammar exercises and a bit of vocabulary, but the rest - I use Youtube or some other online resource and create something out of that - it's far more authentic. Teaching mainly teenagers it's so difficult to keep them engaged and focused on the book. I totally agree that coursebooks need to change - and I hope that people like you can continue campaigning to make the changes.