I was closing tabs in my browser when I reached one that was open to a WordPress site, not mine. However, as I am logged in, my tool bar was in evidence along the top and I noticed a little cup symbol in the notifications part. I clicked on it out of curiosity (knowing it couldn’t be about likes or stats because I have been allowing tumbleweed to blow through my blog since IATEFL – work issues have kept me occupied) and discovered that, as per the image above, I registered with WordPress 4 years ago today…
Where was I?
4 years ago, I was coming towards the end of a year in Indonesia. I couldn’t remember why I decided to start blogging, so I dug out my first blog post and it turned out to be part of the ‘30 Goals Challenge‘, created by Shelley Terrell, which I believe is now in it’s I don’t know how many’th reincarnation and even has a related e-book out. I had found out about it through Twitter. My early posts largely fell into 2 categories – 30 Goals Challenge and #ELTChat summaries. (It wasn’t until I did my M.A. ELT and Delta at Leeds Met, now Beckett, that I started writing in earnest, as it was then than I found my voice…)
Where am I now?
Now I am nearing the end of a second year at IH Palermo. My blog bears little resemblance to how it looked in the early days (during my M.A., I learnt about tech-y stuff and then gave my blog a complete overhaul, in an attempt to make it more attractive and user-friendly to navigate; it also now has 270 posts, 9 pages, 777 followers, 336,634 views and 1,370 comments) and I, myself, have had quite a journey since then too…
What have I learnt?
In no particular order…
- how to relax!! (I have been perfecting the art today, in fact, as it’s a national holiday in Palermo! This is extremely important for avoiding burn-out…)
- that saying ‘yes’ can lead to lots of unforeseen opportunities (it’s been an exciting few years!)
- that you have nothing to lose in trying something, and everything to gain (e.g. I only submitted my dissertation project for an Elton because I had nothing to lose, in the end I won a prize which has led on to other exciting things…)
- that the world of ELT is so big and multi-faceted. We may see only a tiny corner of it for the majority of the time, but attending conferences like IATEFL puts things in perspective and helps you see how rich (not in the monetary sense of the word!) a world it really is. You can then differentiate between ELT as your job and ELT the profession that you are a tiny part of.
- that I can work really damn hard (c.f. M.A./Delta year and the distinctions I got out of it plus all the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into all my jobs before and since!)
- that I love CPD (action research, reflection, materials writing, presenting at conferences, attending talks at conferences, doing webinars – as presenter or participant, blogging, chatting on Twitter when I can, writing articles/book chapters, doing courses..and so the list goes on…)
- that however hard one works, it’s never enough so one has to decide when enough is enough.
- that it’s ok to have a life outside work and stop thinking about work from time to time 😉
- that I can’t please all of the people all of the time, and however much I put into my lesson planning and teaching, some students won’t be satisfied. This does not make me a bad person.
- that 10-12 year old Italian children can get very excited by post-its. This is a blessing when you forget to take the soft balls into class for vocabulary review! I love my M2s. 🙂
- that the amount of time spent doing things expands to fill available time. If available time is limited, things have to get done quicker. And Things to Do lists can develop multiple layers of priority!
- that the beauty of learning is that it is never-ending. 🙂
And the list goes on…
I haven’t renewed my contract at IH Palermo this time around, so I am stepping out into the unknown again. I have a ten-week summer contract at Sheffield University lined up but beyond that? Who can say. One thing’s for sure though, I will keep blogging and I will keep saying yes when opportunities arise. And see where it takes me next… Thank you all who follow my blog, read my blog, comment on my blog and in so doing make it what it is. And happy 4th birthday, Blog! 🙂 (Also, to anyone who watched my recent webinar on Metacognition, the promised write-up will happen… just as soon as I can make the time without overly upsetting my precarious work-life balance! 😉 )