Last Monday, I responded to the usual calls from the wonderful people who moderate #ELTchat asking for suggestions for a discussion topic. (For more information on #ELTchat, you can read this post here.) This would be the third #ELTchat I had been involved in so I thought it would be OK if I suggested a topic myself. The topic I suggested, although I didn’t originally word it quite this nicely, was as follows:
How can NQTs [newly qualified teachers] best use what they learn in the first few years of their career to develop into successful teachers?
I thought #ELTchat could be an excellent platform to receive a huge amount of advice about how to kick-start my ‘career’ in ELT, and I was really pleased when my topic received the highest amount of votes and then actually became the subject for ELTchat on Wednesday, 25th February.
As I described in my first post focusing on the excellent Twitter discussion forum which is #ELTchat, the conversation began at midday and I had to join halfway through because I was in a training session about mindfulness at work. (More on that to come in another post!)
As I joined the chat, I was very warmly welcomed as a not-even-newly-qualified teacher and was told that before the CELTA is an even better time to start expanding my PLN, or personal learning network, than once you are CELTA-qualified. So, to that end, I threw myself fully into the discussion, as you can see in the transcript kindly pulled together by Sue Annan (@SueAnnan).
I feel like I learnt so much, and received such a wealth of invaluable information from the half an hour I participated in the conversation. Angelos Bollas (@angelos_bollas) has done a far better job of summarising the key points than I could ever do in this post, so you can find his summary on his blog here.
I gained some more Twitter followers from my participation in the discussion, and I found even more fascinating people in the ELT world to follow myself. I started to flesh out my plans for how I can find my footing as a CELTA-qualified teacher once I (hopefully) pass the course on the 8th May, for example by occasionally asking any future colleagues or Directors of Studies in the language schools I may get employment in for feedback on my teaching.
I found out about the wonderful link curation tool that is Diigo, which will hopefully replace my favourited links on my Chrome browser, which are currently somewhat chaotically organised. I was also introduced to a treasure trove of webinars and recorded seminars, thanks to Cambridge University Press (currently ‘the enemy’ as I am working for Routledge still 😉 ), the British Council, IATEFL, Macmillan Education and more…
All in all, if I wasn’t originally convinced of the benefits of being on Twitter and trying to write this blog before the chat, I certainly am now. The ways that some of the incredibly experienced teachers were waxing lyrical about the support they have received from the online ELT community made me certain that I’m doing the right thing, and I look forward to getting stuck into more ELTchats once I have more experience in actual teaching myself!