What will your Christmas present be?

As the end of the year draws nearer, people all over the world feel that there’s a new beginning ahead. We’ve gotten used to the 365-day cycle in life and celebrate the end of the year remembering all the good moments of the year that’s just passed, and plan a bright future ahead of us. Or do we?

If you’re a teacher, you do know the importance of planning. You are well aware of the fact that planning is the preparation stage for all that is to happen in class. It doesn’t matter how often you change your lesson plan based on what happens in class. You need a plan, a goal to reach, and you have a very good idea of how to get there. But perhaps you’ve become a bit more seasoned, perhaps you’re now a bit too long in the tooth and feel that you don’t need to plan that carefully anymore. What then?

Yes, you realise that you can pretty much just wing it and get by with a decent lesson. You notice that even if you don’t try that hard, your lesson is still OK. You’ve got so much experience doing this that you know the drill (no pun intended). But there’s a time that things just fail on you. There’s a time when you find yourself facing an unexpected situation in class and improvising just won’t cut it. “Have I lost it?” you might wonder.

No, you haven’t lost it. It’s just that when we don’t plan properly, we fail to look ahead and anticipate difficulties. When there’s little planning, you suddenly realise that there are many things you’ve just failed to take advantage of in class simply because you haven’t foreseen it. And it was just so obvious…

Everything I said above is also valid for your career. There comes a time in which we just go with the flow. You know you’re employable material, so why bother so much. The problem lies in when the tide changes and you somehow notice the ship’s sailed. You could have learned new skills, but you chose not to. You could have taken this or that course, but you thought they were advertising gimmicks and not worth your time and money. And then you feel that the teacher right next to you managed to move on and thrive and you find yourself thinking that you are the one who could have pulled it all together. And the truth is that yes, you most certainly could have been the teacher next door whose grass always looks greener.

There’s a tide in the affairs of man, and you ought to be ready for opportunities when they come your way. So why don’t you take advantage of the new beginning ahead of you and plan your career differently in 2018. You’d be amazed to see that  very few changes actually yield fantastic results. It’s a new year, a new cycle, start it right. If you want a tip, there’s the 16th BRAZ-TESOL International Conference in July. It’s a great chance to hone your teaching skills and to network till you have no energy left. And trust me, there’s nothing like the power of good networking to set you in the right path, energise you, and definitely get you going.

What are you waiting for? Give yourself the Christmas present of planning. If you feel you can’t do it on your own, find yourself a tutor, a guide, a counsellor or a coach. Name it the way you want to. The world of ELT is filled with people who’ve trailed the distance and can help you on your own path. Why not approaching these people and asking them what it’d take? I bet you’d be surprised by the answer!

I wish you all a merry Christmas and a 2018 filled with joy, happiness and success!

Henrick Oprea

Henrick Oprea has been working in ELT since 1997. He's got a post-graduation degree from the University of Birmingham. He is the current president of BRAZ-TESOL. He currently works as a freelancer teacher trainer and educator. He believes that teachers are the ones who make the difference in any classroom, and this is why he is keen on sharing. He blogs about education and ELT at https://hoprea.wordpress.com, and you can also find him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. He's also a dad!

1 Comment
  • André Hedlund
    Posted at 18:19h, 14 dezembro Responder

    What a wonderful incentive, Henrick! I hope many teachers come across this great article and feel excited about making CPD their 2018 goal. Thanks for sharing your extremely eloquently put thoughts.

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