So, I started following some ELT twitter people about two years ago, mainly as a way to distract myself from Delta woes, but it wasn’t until I’d finished M3 and felt the slightest bit of security in this profession that I started actually getting involved in those online conversations. The benefits the site offered me pretty much quadrupled overnight as I began reaching out for advice, sharing my own experience and ideas, and ranting and commiserating along with others in the field. It has even resulted in some off-line connections in the form of a newly-sprung English Language Teachers in Scotland advocacy group, who just held their second meeting last night.
The next stage has always been, for me, to have a blog. In fact, it actually came first. I have started a number of blogs in the past - set them up, thought of a name, come up with a semi-decent colour scheme – but I’ve never actually written the first post. The first post on this blog Coming Soon was optimistically written 10 whole months ago.
I wanted something easy to begin with. Some kind of statement of who I am and where I’m coming from. ELT is so varied, and it can take some time to work out what people’s contexts are, what their experience is, does it bare any resemblance, and therefore relevance, to your context? Also, as we all know, talking about yourself is super easy. First class, A1, beginner-level stuff. We’ll save the abstract concepts for later.
So, let’s begin.
I’m Rhiannon. Raised in Devon by an English father and a Welsh mother (this becomes pertinent whenever the Six Nations rolls around). I studied Divinity at the University of Edinburgh because I thought it would be interesting (it was). In the summer of my third year, a friend wangled me a job teaching English at a summer school in Belgium, which I enjoyed. I went back after my final year and decided to continue on to do the CELTA after graduating. I got myself a job in Spain, where I spent two years teaching YLs, teens and adults in a private language academy.
This is where the first of my many mixed feelings regarding ELT comes in. I hate the reputation that underqualified, online-“tefl”-certificate bearing, sun-seeking teachers have endowed upon the industry. But I, like many others, started off this way. I studied Theology! What on earth was I going to do with my life!? I clearly had no idea, and ELT offered me a pause button, a way to delay thinking about my future. My time in Belgium and Spain played no part in my wanting to take this career any further. Why would it? Everyone I worked with, including management, had zero passion for the job, no interest in CPD, and just saw it as a way to continue living the life they wanted to live.