16 jan 2020 You’ve Got a(n ELT) Friend
In 2019 we had the opportunity to work together on different projects. Such projects involved writing for the Richmond blog, going live on different social media websites and delivering an online course for teachers.
We’d like to start by commenting on the online course experience. Needless to say how this course enriched us. While organizing the contents we decided to include in the course, we studied a lot more about so many relevant issues that are undoubtedly pertinent to our daily work. In this sense, the need to research and delve into the topics we wanted to go through in the course required extensive and active reading, and we can’t measure how much we learned from this.
And here comes one of the most valuable outcomes you can get when you join forces with another teacher: you find a person to study with you and you feel more committed to your plans. How great it feels to have someone reading the same books and articles as you are reading and is willing to discuss them! Becoming better students by working with a professional who has similar aims and preferences to yours would be enough reason for us to encourage you, reader, to find your “better half” in ELT (English Language Teaching)”. But there are further gains:
What has been the most valuable thing to us is how much we learn from each other’s experiences. As we both have our different backgrounds, we have conditions to present other points of view, in a way we wouldn’t naturally do by ourselves. To be professionally challenged and questioned by a colleague is positive because it takes us out of our comfort zones.
Besides being able to exchange points of views and personal stories, we can’t stress enough how good it is to have someone to share our insecurities and fears. Sometimes we want to face new challenges in our fields, but don’t feel confident to get started, so having someone’s push makes a big difference. It cheers us up when we doubt our worth and question our potential.
Another positive aspect of having a professional ally is to count on someone to suggest new pathways. When thinking about CPD (Continuing Professional Development), there are only so many possibilities that one might feel adrift. For this reason, having someone to brainstorm next career moves can come in handy.
We’ve just pointed some of the fruits of our collaboration. All these months have taught us how important teamwork is. So much so that today we’re even looking for new partners to face new challenges, after all, as the popular Robert John Meehan’s quote says:
“The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration, our growth is limited to our own perspectives.”
As it’s worked so well for us, we felt like sharing our story with you. We hope it inspires you to strengthen bonds of friendship with those teachers who think alike.
Referring back to the title of this post, which comes from the song You’ve Got a Friend, by Carole King, part of its lyrics says:
“When you’re down and troubled
And you need a helping hand …”
We hope you succeed in finding someone special that will comfort you and make you feel embraced.
A licensed Biology teacher who fell in love with English language teaching in 2011, Michelle Hudson holds the CELTA, TKTs Modules 1-3 and a TESOL certificate from Languages International (Auckland, NZ). She is now based in Seville – Spain, teaching at English Connection and also private students.