It’s that time of year again – an old year ending and a new year beginning. Time for cataloging what I have been learning. Time for divulging plans for the coming year. What? I’m two months late? No, my friends. I’m right on time. Happy new year!
This year has been a year for getting involved, and with the exception of this blog I mostly just let it happen, trusting in the yes.
Everything that follows is new to last year. Before that, I was trudging along without really thinking about what I was doing professionally. My life has changed a lot.
1) This blog was born last March as lizzieserene and eventually renamed itself livinglearning. The first post was about labels and identity. I’m not sure how I feel about it now, but there it is. Writing this blog, I discovered that there are things I feel strongly about and things that I want to learn. I have been learning confidence and trust in my own voice.
(I have two favorite posts and neither are very ELT-related but they’re both important to me: the Laughing Diary and Things I Learned from my Father)
2) #KELTchat was also born around this time a year ago and is the reason I have an active Twitter account under my own name. I made it to the second official chat and I was hooked. Twitter is an amazing forum for professional development and I am humbled and honored to be part of a wonderful community there. Words are insufficient to express the gratitude I feel for the friendships that have developed online and off as a result of the Twitter community. I have been learning to accept these gifts.
3) Through #KELTchat, and with four amazing people, I participated in my first presentation. It was a novel experience for me, and one I learned a lot from. I’ve also attended presentations given by other #KELTchatters and I’m continually amazed by how much we all learn from each other. I have been learning about successful lessons, observation, feedback and assessment. I have been learning more about teaching pronunciation – a fascinating topic – than I ever thought to ask. I have been learning about Korea, testing, “authentic” materials. And I have been learning that everyone has something to offer and every experience is valuable.
4) This carries over into Reflective Practice. Every lesson that is shared, whether or not the lesson objectives were met, has something to offer. Every observation can stimulate thought and learning. We are stronger together. Through/ from/ with others, I am learning how to observe, how to focus, how to ask questions, and how to clarify my thoughts.
5) All these things have made a difference in my classroom as well. Growing confidence in my uncertainty has changed the way I speak to my students. I no longer need to be an expert. Reflection has changed how I manage my teachers and plan my lessons. I have been learning the value of feedback going both ways, and also the limitations. #KELTchats and -chatters have given me new ideas to try in class and new ways to reflect. I have been learning to be a thinking teacher.
This March 1st begins my 34th year. (As a leap year baby, I take the prerogative of making up my own holidays so I’ll always have something to celebrate.)
This coming year I plan to finish my MA. I have two more classes (currently enrolled in both) and a thesis to write.
I want to practice reflecting on my learning as well as on my teaching.
I hope to improve my Korean skills and contribute to my community by translating the stories in the Teseum next door, completing the Rosetta Stone program, and stepping out of my shell to practice.
I hope to design a complete program for my school (and for myself).
I also want to open up and share more – through papers or presentations, maybe – of what I think and what I do. Maybe I can contribute to the ELT world in some way.
This is my last year in Korea. With luck 😉 one year from now will see me in Ireland (to start) and then LOOK OUT WORLD!
*** I write this post in deep gratitude to the people who have walked into my life just in time as well as the ones who have always been there. You are my role models, my inspiration, my help, my nudgers and my shakers. You are my cheerleaders, my questioners, my connectors. But most of all, you are my friends. ***