The ELT teacher’s life cycle (an #eltchat summary)

NOTE: This post is not graded to B1 level because it’s a summary of an #eltchat discussion on Twitter, which means that people from all over the world gave their opinions.

The ELT teacher’s life cycle: where are you and where should you be given qualifications & experiences; what can you do next? (an #eltchat summary) 

Moderators: @Shaunwilden @Marisa_C @ShellTerrell

It was only my second time taking part in #eltchat at the 9pm session on 14th December 2011 (and I’m a first time summary writer) but it seemed to me that this topic was buzzing!

There was some general discussion about different types of qualifications, and thought-provoking ideas about why and how to set ourselves goals, as well as how to push our professional development further.

There was also some discussion about what we mean by ‘life cycle’, as some people felt this wasn’t the best image for describing our teaching life. A spiral was a more popular image (suggested by @hartle)

I like the idea of spirals because we never totally abandon one role for another – we keep them together @Marisa_C

I think a teacher’s life is like a river, meanders, sometimes has dams to break down, branches out, eventually reaches the sea @naomishema

Qualifications:

A large part of where you should be and the qualifications depends on where you want to teach English @ShellTerrell

My Masters in ESL wasn’t accepted in many institutions across Europe so I got my CELTA with the lovely @Marisa_C. Many institutions want the CELTA because of the teaching practice. In a US Masters you don’t necessarily do that @ShellTerrell

The disparity in which qualifications are accepted where doesn’t help the profession much @Shaunwilden

In our school you need a cert/dip rather than a masters @SueAnnan In many schools in Europe I find this to be true @ShellTerrell

Now with social media, teachers can ask those teaching English in the country what qualifications/certificates are needed @ShellTerrell getting to know the certificates needed is something we need to know as teachers @lolonagi

In state schools in Italy, most people don’t know what a Celta is and don’t recognise a Master’s in ESOL if it’s not from Italy @hartle

I think a non-NEST with a university degree has three routes: 1. academia, 2. state edu institutions, or 3. go free-lance @MarianSteiner

Important to note that now the CELTA and DELTA have online components so it makes it easier to obtain from your location @ ShellTerrell

Do CELTA and DELTA really improve prospects? @lolonagi it depends where you’re teaching and how long you plan to stay there @sandymillin

Why are qualifications important?

Generally it was agreed that while our schools might not appreciate the time we spend on professional development, it benefits us as teachers, and in turn, our students.

@aClilToClimb raised concerns about how important qualifications actually are.

@Shaunwilden pointed out that qualifications can be a useful starting point, and are often important for regulations.

@ MarianSteiner said that real career development goes hand in hand with investments (time, effort). Financial investment is necessary, too.

@ShellTerrell suggested asking for certificates for online professional development, such as webinars you’ve attended, which you can then send to your director.

Do you think it is important ELT teachers make professional goals? Why?

There was a resounding yes to this question, and here are a few of the reasons why:

Definitely, working towards goals helps us prevent becoming stagnant @etguerrero

Personal goals keep you on your feet! @shaznosel

How do we push ourselves?

Social networking was a big one. But there was some concern that we were preaching to the converted! It was suggested that we need to get other people involved in things like #eltchat.

Other ideas were attending conferences, doing presentations or seminars, or organizing for workshops to take place in your school by asking someone else to come and lead one.

@bethcagnol summed it up nicely:  “In my opinion, all you need is two teachers to have a Professional Development group. Offer to set up PD groups in your school. After classes, over coffee or wine. Share ideas. Start small.”

Beth also suggested calling on your local #TESOL or #IATEFL association to do workshops in your school.

There were also some suggestions for free online workshops (see the ‘links’ section below), and there was much excitement at the reminder from @SueAnnan that registration starts on 2nd January for the EVO sessions, which are five week courses in ELT. http://t.co/4VbtSSTl

I like the EVO sessions in January. I always learn something new. @SueAnnan

I think that qualifications AND CPD empower teachers to work for the right institutions and be involved in more projects @Marisa_C

How do we keep track of these goals?

Blogs, journals, twitter were all mentioned, but @etguerrero also suggested keeping a Google document online to record the professional development you do in your own time.

@Shaunwilden said that IH school DoSes are supposed to sit down with their teacher one-to-one to discuss what they can do next.

Finally… here are some of the goals that #eltchatters have, thanks to connecting with other educators on social media:

To give my students the same experience of global networking @Etguerrero

Collaborative projects @EveWeb

My goal this Christmas to start writing my blended learning course @Marisa_C

My goal for next year is to write articles to share my teaching experiences and research @EveWeb

To start working as an online Celta tutor @hartle

Links:

Tessa Woodward’s plenary at #iatefl 2010 on this topic http://t.co/YcEzI7NC @AnthonyGaughan

CELTA Without Tears http://t.co/zB9e46Kf @ ShellTerrell

http://seeta.eu/  lots of free online workshops and courses @ Marisa_C

#BESIG Online Workshops http://t.co/PPyq6yOP) @bethcagnol

Podcasting for the ESL/EFL Classroom http://t.co/sCiMletr @EveWeb

Teachers in the EU can get funding for PD in the Grundtvig programme http://t.co/JCrycR0J

@irishmikeh

If you do your CELTA, this saved my sanity http://t.co/Tpmh9Fa @ ShellTerrell

EVO registration http://t.co/4VbtSSTl   You can sign up from 2nd Jan @SueAnnan

 Thanks to everyone for taking part, and to @Shaunwilden @Marisa_C @ShellTerrell for moderating. Have a wonderful Christmas, and see you in 2012!

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Author: Katy Simpson

ELT teacher in Thailand

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