Abreast… or a Beast?

I really thought that after 31 years teaching and 24 managing a school, no beginning of a new academic term would frighten a person anymore… I was wrong!

I have decided to re-read Professor Celso Antunes’ book, “Professores e Professauros” and this made me think about all that we do when we teach… I would like to apologise for the play with words, but I came up with a session for teachers I decided to call : Abreast… or a beast?

This title was to represent our continuous struggle to be the best, the best teacher we can, to deliver the best possible class, to help for the best students ever!

The counter point of those teachers were exactly what a teacher who’s willing to be up to a particular standard or level, especially in being up to date in knowledge does and what a  does and what a teacher who merely conforms with the system does.

Every new semester is a novelty which carries a lot to work on, timetable to organise, books, trainings, enrolments. All in all, an overwhelming amount of work… But for the teacher who wants to be abreast of the developments, each new term provides a chance to learn more. Lessons are seen as special moments when the teacher is able to help people transform information into knowledge. Actions, though they are a lot, need to be taken after careful thinking.

I wonder if there are teachers who feel that every beginning of a semester comes with an excruciating pain as there will be a repetition of former semesters. I wonder if there is still anyone out there that would consider their students simply a passive audience… I wonder…

The struggle to be the best brings alone some ideas such as to offer more than the obvious and common, teach so students can really learn, treat students as individuals and why not, to keep ahead of competition, if you are in the private sector.

“What is worth doing is worth well doing” is a motto I really try to l live by. It pushes us forward, towards being better. For teachers it is the aim of being a professional and therefore, qualify for that and keep up in continuous development. For students, it’s the point of not conforming with the average only to pass, it’s more, it’s learn!

Moving towards excellence implies finding a goal, setting up  a purpose which is beyond good. Following this move teachers get students to perceive what is good and what is excellent and then they can define their own goals, and not only what the syllabus brings.

The GOOD is the enemy of the EXCELLENT and maybe this is an internal struggle that makes every beginning of year so full of work. New ideas to implement, improvements to be done an endless roll of chores that makes my eyes sparkle, even if I complain about all there is to do. In the end, that’s what real teachers love!

Beatriz Meneguetti

Mª Beatriz Magalhães Silva Meneguetti Teacher, teacher trainer, school director and sworn translator with over 30 years’ experience, graduated in English, post graduated in methodology, linguistics, school management and marketing. Holder of major proficiency certificates from Cambridge and Michigan Universities and holder of the DELTA and MA in Professional Development for Language Education from Chichester University. Academic director of ABCI - Brazilian Association of Culturas Inglesas.

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