Are you a tree?

“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”.

These are the words I live by, in many aspects of my life. Obviously, I seek peace of mind and happiness and believe me, I know how to cherish these moments, and get the best of them. So what do I mean by this old saying which steers most of my decisions in life? Let me try to explain by briefly telling a story.

If you know me, you are aware of my complete lack of abilities to read maps. I am very visual, I know how to go to places because I memorise the road, but don’t tell me to follow maps because the inevitable consequence is that I will get lost.

Once, I had to go to Guarulhos by car, which was something around 35km far from my house. I remember being terrified because I had no idea how to go and I had nothing but a map to guide me. So, I left home 3 hours before my appointment, and just embraced the fact that I would drive all through São Paulo to finally get to the place where I needed. Turns out that the 3 hours were more than necessary because I took all the wrong turns and had a tour of the whole city before reaching my final destination. However, something interesting happened: because I took the time to appreciate the ride, I never had to use the map to go to the same place again.

The story may sound disconnected from what the main aim of my text is, but in fact, the lessons learned from the event above illustrates perfectly my moment in life right now.

After 20 years of teaching, now I find myself facing one of the biggest challenges I had for my CPD: I’m taking the DELTA Module 2. I know, I know, for many, DELTA is easy compared to doing a Master’s course or even working on a doctoral dissertation, but for a teacher like me, who doesn’t have a very strong academic background, this course is a very challenging step ahead.

But then, why investing in a course at this stage of my professional life? If I keep teaching classes the way I teach, I will probably deliver satisfactory lessons, and my students will learn. I know this is true not only for me but also for the other 7 brilliant teachers that I have the pleasure to share my days with. The answer is simple: I was sailing through a very smooth sea! I needed a storm to shake my teaching beliefs, and to strengthen my skills as a teacher. I have no idea where this storm will take me, but I’m sure that at the end of it, I will know my way around in a different ELT city, just like I did in the story above.

Enjoy the ride of CPD initiatives. As one of my tutors said, as he finished the session: don’t forget to have fun. It might be an overwhelming feeling, having your professional core shaken, but if you don’t like where you are in your professional development, you should change it. Remember, you are not a tree!

I take this opportunity to say thank you to my Deltees, for all the love and support (and food) you have been giving me so far: Carol, Leo, Natalia, Rafa, Juan, Liliam and Francisco. Thank you!!

38-year-old teacher at Cultura Inglesa with experience in working with teenagers and adults. A CELTA and ICELT holder, with a passion for Continuous Professional Development. Fabi has presented in important Conferences such as BrazTesol and IATEFL. I am an avid reader of books and a true believer of education as a means to making the world a better place.

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