After much thought on what to write on my first post of my blog… I came out with nothing. So I decided to write about what made me take the step and start writing. For people to understand me better, maybe it would be nice to give you a little background information.
I’ve been an EFL teacher in Recife (where I was born and raised) since 1993. At first I didn’t think I wanted to be an English teacher forever. I have a BA in graphic design and teaching English, up to a couple of years after I got my degree, was something I really enjoyed but that I did on the side (on Saturdays to be specific) while I got through school and later worked at an advertising agency. But one day I had to choose between teaching and design – and I couldn’t leave teaching, because it was what I really loved doing. I taught at the university for a couple of years, the history-related subjects of design. But something was missing…it was not only teaching that I enjoyed – it was teaching ENGLISH. And then I really threw myself into it and committed to it.
I love teaching and I always put a lot of dedication and effort into it. But lately I had been feeling unmotivated. Stuck in time. Feeling as if I kept doing the same things, reading the same texts, listening to the same ideas. Any teacher needs to feel like she (or he) is constantly evolving, changing, questioning. And I missed that. It got to a point where I started questioning whether I shouldn’t think about switching careers. THAT is how desperate I was. Until… I discovered Twitter.
Now, don’t think I hadn’t heard of twitter before. I had. I even had signed in already. But I only followed a couple of friends and while it was fun, I didn’t see how it could be a source of profesional development. But during the Braz-Tesol conference in São Paulo last July I discovered a new side to Twitter. I met Jeremy Harmer who knows what Twitter can do for a teacher, and started following him. He encouraged me and told me of some educators I should follow. And as I started reading those people’s tweets I discovered more interesting people, engaging discussions about teaching and ELT. I was introduced to the wonderful world of blogs written by educators. I was given links to great articles, activities… And most of all I met so many inspiring teachers from all over the world.
Being presented to this new world turned my world around. It was a breath of fresh air, new life, new energy. I know everybody says that, but that’s because it is true, and I can think of no better way to put it. I have read more about teaching and English than I can remember ever doing. I have learned, reflected upon my practice, upon my beliefs. I’ve learned about so many great tools available to help us teach better. I’ve made new friends, who share my enthusiasm and interest in teaching. I learned what a PLN was and started building one. And most importantly, I have shared. I believe sharing is such an innate characteristic of teachers, we just can’t control it. And the sharing among educators on Twitter and the blogs is unbelievable. Powerful. Enpowering. Now all I can think about is “How hadn’t I heard of this before?”. Was I the only one who didn’t know what a PLN was? How many teachers all over the world haven’t heard about this? And after asking myself these questions I’ve made it my mission to help spread the word and get more teachers aboard. After all, I can’t refrain from sharing, right?
So, my first blog post is actually a big THANK YOU to my PLN, my new friends. Thank you for helping me, encouraging me (thanks @cerirhiannon!), challenging me (this one is for @englishraven!), sharing with me, teaching me… or just having some much needed fun. May everyone who hasn’t discovered the world of Twitter and the blogosphere be as lucky to have such a great PLN. :-)