This month, I would like to tell you a little story about how a personal project of mine started. You see, I’m a partner in a blog called Talking EFL, and in August, our baby will turn two years old. Many of you know us for the videos we make, the magazines we put together, and the people we interview, but what most of you don’t know is how the blog started.
It all started in August 2018. Rodrigo Correia and I were having lunch, and I told him I wanted to start a blog to help teachers who, like me, felt they didn’t have their voices heard by the ELT community. Also, I wanted to help teachers with their professional development through videos they could access anywhere. I considered myself lucky for being in a school which valued and invested in teachers by offering free courses and incentives, so I wanted to give back to the community somehow. Lucky me, Rodrigo not only accepted the challenge right away but also had a head start: he already had the name and the logo for our blog, as well as a paid domain. And it was there, at a lunch table before a class at a partner school that Talking EFL was born.
There was only one problem: we were only two teachers, with little experience in this area of professional development, and a nascent academic formation in EFL. We knew it would be tough, but we decided to go on anyway. Since then, we have met amazing people on the way, people who we never thought we would interview, such as John Hattie and Richard Cauldwell. Nowadays, we are five people (Rodrigo Correa, Lenora Haranaka, Arthur Medici, Bia Solino, and I), and we couldn’t be prouder of what we have achieved.
You might be asking why I am telling this story here right now, besides the shameless advertising (yes, I know). I’ll tell you! This story above would have been entirely different if we were surrounded by people who didn’t believe in us. It took us a lot of routing and cheering from our supervisors and academic managers at the school where we work so that we could believe that this baby project was relevant and that it indeed should be taken forward. The immediate acceptance from professionals we deeply admired also told us that we were on the right path and all our efforts weren’t in vain. I could have a list of people to publicly thank here, but I didn’t want to risk forgetting somebody, but they know how much we are grateful for all their support.
So the objective of this text is straightforward: if you are a manager, a supervisor, or only a colleague to someone who is trying a new project, venturing on a new enterprise or even considering to trail a new path, be the person who lifts them rather than puts them down. Our community grows stronger when we’re together, not when we publicly shame someone’s effort. I am lucky to be a part of a company that understands that only through the humanization of relationships in all hierarchic levels, we can reach sustainable growth. Still, I know this is not the same in other workplaces. And finally, if you are the one who is dreaming of launching a new project to give back to this fantastic ELT community, know that there is a lot of love waiting for you. Join us!