Before anything, please accept my biggest apologies for not wishing you on time. But late’s better than never, am I right? So here you go : HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY TO YOU and many many more lovely years to come! Yaay! Bring on the cakes and balloons, oh and oh, I hope you love the ‘taste’ of the red velvet cupcake I’ve made you. Big hugs to you!
And now, for the second biggest apology : I’m so sorry for not updating you as often as I wanted to. Sometimes there’s just so much going on in life that I find myself both physically and emotionally drained of energy that awakening the intellect posed as a bit of a challenge. At other times, I just seem to hit a dead end where blogging is concerned; I just don’t know what to write about. In those times, I find myself admiring individuals who are able to update their blogs several times a week, writing on such interesting topics at that. I never fail to wonder –> how did they come up with such brilliant ideas to write about? Where did they get their ideas from? How do they write so engagingly? Why don’t I get these ideas to write as well? But you know, bloggie (you know I just LOVEEEE calling you that), come to think of it, we’re all on our own personal journeys as educators, growing in different ways under different circumstances. Blogging is not about being a part of the rat-race, is it? It’s more of a diary on our journey along the various ELT paths that lead to a several shared objectives :
a) Striving to continuously improve ourselves as educators – it’s a life long pursuit
b) Keeping a personal log of what works and what needs to be improved on in our classroom
c) As our very own branch of professional development (which, in my case, is such an attraction when included in my resume)
In that sense, I can’t really compare my ELT journey with another, but I can be inspired by what others have experienced on their paths. Which is exactly how I feel right now. Reading every ELT blog has made me realize how “rich” the ELT world is. Some blogs have been such great inspiration and motivation to me that these are the one I find myself often turning to for my drive to keep materializing my thoughts through you (despite the irregularity of the frequency per se). I will give you my word, bloggie, that no matter how tough life gets or even if I hit the next blank wall, I will not stop writing. You, bloggie, will always hear from me. I am not going to promise you but I’ll do my best!
Did you know that the past year (from the time you were born) has been a true eye-opener of all sorts for me in terms of developing myself as a teacher. It was a whole new world! I broke out of my shell consisting of the single question of “how can I continue developing professionally as a teacher”. The memory of how it all started seems fuzzy. I remember browsing through ITDI’s website and the next thing I knew, Chuck Sandy was cajolling me into writing an article for ITDI. I vividly remember the Skype conversation with him : “But Chuck, I am JUST a teacher! What can I write about?” and I clearly remember his answer “Write from your heart. Keep it simple and have your own style. Do not try to emulate other people’s writing; You are a unique individual with your own style”. I have never forgotten that advice until today.
Chuck did one of the things he did best : he helped me connect with me flair for writing and got me connected with some wonderful teachers in Korea (here’s to you Josette). I also stumbled upon several blogs by teachers based in Korea while attempting to land myself a job there (hello Mike!). I remember leaving a comment on Mike Griffin’s blog and reading his reply made me so excited! He actually replied! From these teachers, I got to know other teachers whom I met at the KOTESOL International Conference 2012 in Seoul (here’s to you Anne, Mike, Gemma, John, Alex, Barry Jameson, Tim) and the PLN just took off from there (James Taylor, Chiew Pang, Kevin Stein, Icha, Ann Loseva, Malu, Barb, Debbie, Rose, Vicky and the list just goes on).
You know bloggie, I am so very glad to have quit my job and followed my partner to Korea. The extra time I had in hand came to good use as I explored different areas of professional development in teaching. I got the opportunity to write for ITDI, start my own blog (migrating from posterous to wordpress midway, an experience in itself!), attend online workshops, talk and be among other encouraging teachers (all of it online), presented at 2 conferences(both online and live), attended online professional development workshops, read other blogs with such an abundance of ideas and most of all, just connecting with educators from around the world! It feels that in 365 days, my entire outlook on professional development got a complete makeover! The best part about it is, everything went down on my resume and when I got back to Malaysia, most universities that I applied to liked what they saw on my resume.
The support I got from my group of teacher friends is really impossible to describe. Their words and their very own journeys have sometimes been the best inspirations on days that I felt the lowest. In one year, I learned more than I ever did in my 5 year career back in Malaysia. I know that I’m not alone on the teaching path; there are so many others who are there together with me, facing similar challenges, working on similar ideas, supporting, motivating making their presence felt and just being there for me. For that, I need to thank them ever so gratefully!
So there you go, bloggie! I may not be right there where many teachers are, but comparing myself with others is pointless. I think I’ve done pretty okay in the past year. And one last thing: thank you very much for putting up with my irregular blogging habits and lending your ears when I needed to get something off my chest. Let’s raise both our glasses for togetherness in years to come. Cheers!