IATEFL Chronicles, Year 2, Last post

A last glimps to the venue before I leave.

This time two weeks ago I was in Glasgow. I was both excited and nervous as this would be my first presentation at IATEFL. Although I had presented at many conferences in the past three years, just after stepping into blogging, twitter and social media, yet IATEFL was something else. A dream, a last stop, a new beginning, a meeting point …

me, a first time IATEFL presenter

I enjoyed being there very much. As I previously mentioned, I met old friends, new friends and made new ones. It was a fantastic week.

In the afternoon today, I was writing the invitation letters for the schools for our Comenius project, my husband was sitting on the coach with his netbook on his lap and he, as frequently does, called me to watch a video on youtube. I reluctantly stood up and went near him. While watching the video, I was speechless. As we teachers always do, I thought how I could take it to the class or even to the staffroom.


This is what professional development is for me. I also remembered the teachers attending IATEFL. There were a lot of young and very enthusiastic ones but there were also a lot of very experienced ones. Once again I admired their dedication to their work and to their perception of life.

Some weeks ago, I was chatting with a colleague about life-long learning and she told me about a retired cousin of hers, who living in France, is now attending some sessions at university, asking what the benefit of this could be, adding the life had already come to an end. I then tried to convince that learning shouldn’t stop till we die. We sometimes give up very early in our country. Maybe this is how we perceive the world. After retirement everything finishes. My mum even told us after my brother’s wedding that now she could die as she had nothing to do anymore. All her kids were married. This was how she was raised but she raised me in a totally different way. That’s why I’m still eager to learn new things and I am a true believer of professional development.

I don’t know if I will be able to make it for Liverpool 2013. It just seems impossible at this very moment but we all know that ‘impossible is nothing’. Provided I can’t go to IATEFL next year, I’m sure the online event will be there to follow.

I attended many sessions this year. Some were just what I was looking for, and some were totally different from what I had expected. I missed some great sessions and when I came home, after recovering the post conference blues, I watched some and downloaded some handouts, read the blog posts I missed and still trying to catch up with some more. I think this will engage me till the next conference I will attend in April, The Third Elt Student Conference which is a joint event organised by enthusiastic elt students from Bilgi and Bogaziçi Universities.

Becoming a Teacher


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Today I met two of my students who are ready to teach English. I was their English teacher from high school prep class to grade 11 then they studied at university and now they are about to start their career.

We had a really nice chat and of course being a teacher means teaching everybody everywhere and I caught myself teaching them how to become a teacher. Then I decided to write this post.

When you graduate from university, you always think you will change the world.

You think you will be fair and be able to teach every single student in the class.

You think you won’t be like the others and you will be sure not to leave anybody behind.

You think you will have a team of teachers to support you when you need.

You think your students will admire you and think that you are the best teacher in the world.

You think the principal will see your dedication and praise you.

But it won’t be like this.

Sometimes you will feel you are not capable of teaching.

Sometimes you will feel your colleagues are not happy with what you are doing.

Sometimes you will feel the principal does ignore you and never sees the things you manage to do well.

Will these things be enough for you to quit?

Here is a piece of advice for the new comers.

If you want to become a teacher, don’t think about being praised, do it for yourself.

Become a lifelong learner, there are chances of attending online and free PD courses, seminars, webinars. Find them!

Start building your Personal Learning Network using twitter and FB for professional development and get support from those teachers. Share your knowledge, don’t keep everything for yourself. If you share, they will also share.

Try hard to be fair. Be sure you are not neglecting a slow learner. Every child needs some support. Everybody can teach the smart ones but only the good teachers will help the timid ones.

Praise your students. See even the smallest attempt and say ‘wow, you’re doing really well today’

Motivate yourself. Don’t discourage yourself complaining about the others in the staff room who work less than you. Teaching requires self-motivation, dedication, hard work and creativity.

Be sure that teaching is a career, not a part time job, to become a wife and a mother. It will allow you to gain so many strengths that you will never guess.

You will have a chance to improve yourself constantly not let yourself left behind your students.

Get feedback. Ask your students what’s happening in the classroom. Be careful, guide them well to collect data. don’t do it to hear good words from them. Be ready to hear the criticism and learn from your mistakes.

In short teaching is a life-long journey to find yourself by reaching many people and guiding them.

P.S: when I was with my students I tweeted  ’

evab2001 hi all,I’m with my students who will start teaching this year. what will u say 2 them? do u think it is worth?

I received some answers from my PLN and here you can check their advice too.

@anna_bring oh yes it is worth all of that hard work. I don’t ever regret becoming a teacher, and the reward i… (cont) http://deck.ly/~e7gGK

 @BiancaH80 Hi future teachers!! Teaching is awesome – get on twitter, follow some teacher blogs and don’t teach from worksheets!
focus on learning always – tech is just a tool but use it well. Keep in touch w/ edu research – don’t throw away those books!
@jshe Teaching is the most rewarding career!
@AlexandraKouk To your students: In teaching they may discover the love of their lives – definitely worth it!!!!
@vickyloras Hello to you all! It is definitely worth it – I wish you all the best, you will love teaching : )


Teachers are Learners


I’ve been thinking about being a lifelong learner for a while. Attending ISTEK ELT in March and IATEFL in April reminded me that teachers are learners too or I think teachers should be learners too.

One of the challenges of a 21st century teacher is integrating technology into the lessons. Well, technology is a scary word and because of its threatening image, ignoring technology won’t help anybody. Will we be replaced by technology? Will mobile learning be the future of schools? Will schools be institutions which will just prepare certificates?

I don’t know. I guess we still have some time to be replaced by technology but I guess the ones who resist using the technology should be replaced by the ones who integrate what’s new to her teaching and I believe there are really great teachers who are enthusiastic, eager and motivated to learn. These teachers are not only the young ones. There are many old and experienced teachers and I saw them at the conferences I attended. This reminded me something my mother-in-law says, ‘When work finishes, life finishes’ and I want to adapt it to our situation, ‘When learning ends, teaching ends.’