As a new year approaches it is seems inevitable to look back to what happened in 2010, acknowledge what we did right and hope for more fo those in 2011 and at the same time be humble to admit what we that didn’t really work the way we had planned it to – and hope for improvement in the coming year. So my last post of the year will be a reflective one.
2010 brought a lot of big changes to my life, on both personal and professional areas of my life. Changes can be a very scary thing, but it usually means development. And I choose to look at the changes that I went through this year as that: an opportunity for development. In the first semester, the restructuring of the handbooks we use for the High Intermediate groups in ABA (the school I work at) was finally finished. As the leader of that project, along with a fantastic teacher and great friend, Roberta Ferraz, I was very pleased to see them being used in class and getting the positive feedback of the other teachers as they came to use them. Of course it’s not perfect, and we’re changing what doesn’t work as we see it. but overall it’s been a great change. Getting positive feedback on something you developed/put together is an amazingly rewarding feeling and it was a big plus in my year.
Taking part in the 12th Braz-Tesol Convention in São Paulo was a big highlight as well. Being there, meeting people, attending fantastic presentations / talks / plenaries, overcoming fears and presenting. What I saw there, what I heard and talked about, the people I met and connections I made gave a breath of fresh air, great motivation to venture new paths, trust myself more, go back to studying, experimenting, researching… I came back to Recife and started a new semester completely refreshed. It’s amazing what a good conference and sharing with people from other places, other cultures, other contexts can do to motivate you.
And then, in the second semester of 2010, when I came back from São Paulo I discovered what a PLN was and started building my own, connecting and sharing and learning from educators (and especially English teachers) from all over this diverse world we live in. And what a fantastic ride it’s been. Learning about new tools, participating in my first webinar, experimenting in my classes with things I learned from my PLN friends, reading so many amazing blogs, starting my own blog, being nominated for best new blog in the Edublog Awards (and being chosen the first runner-up among an incredible list of blogs), learning, sharing, learning, sharing… Then, having the fabulous opportunity of beginning the new year taking part in a Teacher Professional Workshop in England, offered by Berni Wall and having a chance to reflect upon my practice with teachers from all over the world (not to mention meeting two of my favorite PLN members: Berni and Shelly Terrell!!!). I had never, in my wildest dreams, thought the year could turn out so well. And in great part, I owe that to my PLN, so here’s my big THANK YOU to the incredible group of people I follow on Twitter.
So what to expect from the new years that is just around the corner? I can only hope. Hope I can continue sharing and developing with (and through) my PLN. Hope that I can experiment and find even better ways of teaching my students and help them learn English, to make it a tool for improvement and development in their own lives. Hope that I can make my way to IATEFL in Brighton in April and meeting a big part of my PLN there, learn lots from them and others who will be presenting there, continue reflecting, always knowing we never know enough, we can ALWAYS do better. I hope my children continue to grow the healthy, happy, healthy children they are now. That I will be able to continue and get more serious about my professional development, take part in courses I plan to, continue my education. But most of all, I hope 2011 brings peace. I hope it brings peace and understanding to the world. As I interact on twitter with people of the most diverse places, faiths, upbringings, beliefs it never ceases to amaze me that no matter where we come from, what we believe in, we connect, interact, progress together, learn from each other, respect each other. And it makes me wonder why we can’t have that not only on twitter and within our PLN, but also throughout the world, among governments and peoples. As cheesy as it sounds, that’s my wish for the new year. So I’ll finish this post with a poem by Francisco Gomes de Matos, a great peace linguist, who I am fortunate to know and work with, for he is the president of my school’s board. Always good to reflect about peace and tolerance in my opinion. And no more appropriate time for that than now, as we start a new year – fresh slate perhaps?
After all, we all have a right to peace. And maybe, as educators, we can try and bring a little peace and tolerance teaching to our classes. Teachers have great influence, we might as well use it to make the world a better place :-)
THE RIGHT TO PEACE :A Nonkilling view
by Francisco Gomes de Matos
When the Right to Peace is stated
How does Humankind usually feel ?
Do human beings show they are elated
or do they expect something real ?
The Right to Peace two major dimensions cover:
One that is spiritualizing :
Meditation, in which paths to tranquility we may discover;
another,that is conciliatory: Mediation
The Right to Peace entails a very demanding obligation:
That to Dignity and Justice,
all Humankind should be committed
Of the Principle of Nonviolence,
helping the propagation and educating
so that forms of life-killing are not permitted
How can the Right to Peace be universally achieved?
This also calls for socioeconomic-political transformation
In which the benefits of equality by all are received
and people violating peace will have nonkilling preparation
The Right to Peace on Earth let´s firmly globalize
So that by conflicts and wars,
less and less people will be harmed
As appliers of the Right to Peace, let´s harmonize
And one day,in a nonkilling future,all nations will be disarmed
Happy Holidays everyone. I’ll be traveling to the UK this week, meeting some of the fab members of my PLN (Yay!) before the new year comes and then on to Berni’s workshop, where I expect I’ll be able to get back to posting. Until then, I hope you enjoy the season!