May 25

Reflecting on a new direction


I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about myself this year and perhaps one of the most important things I’ve learnt is that it’s OK to say no.  I’ve found in the past that I’ve often said yes to things because something needed doing or somebody suggested I do something, without really thinking it through, which frequently leads to me taking on more than I should (plus the fact that I’m atrocious at delegating and a bit of a control-freak!).

So, in my new “me” mode, I decided to give up my role as academic coordinator, a position which I’ve held for a number of years.  My decision to give up my role as academic coordinator in my current school is a very selfish one, motivated by own needs rather than as a response to the job I’m doing. There are aspects of the role which I really enjoy, which are funnily enough the things which other people turn their noses up at: I love timetabling – it can be a bit of a headache, but I like the way things slot together; I’m happy slogging away on the computer sending emails, curating our online staffroom or creating videos for Youtube. In fact, the aspect of my role which I have most difficulty with is the human factor – despite being a bubbly, friendly, chatty person I don’t actually enjoy having long conversations with people that much, especially when they’re tricky conversations, and I don’t feel I’m particularly good at them either.

Also, as another selfish streak shines through, I really want to focus my time and energy on MY teaching. The school where I currently work is an incredible environment for professional development – I’m surrounded by people who are actively working to become better teachers, who are enthusiastic about sharing ideas and who, generally speaking, are long-term ELTers who love what they do.  I’m also back on twitter after a few years’ absence and it’s another great place to connect with teachers from around the world, pick up new ideas and share experiences.  There are so many fantastic resources which crop up there on a daily basis, ideas which come out of Active’s fortnightly professional development meetings and tips which pop up in conversations by the photocopier which I would LOVE to have more time to engage with.  I’m certainly not overworked in my current role, but I have a terrible sense of guilt when I know other people are working and I’m not (even though it’s my scheduled time off) and so I know I work more than I should as I’m also not very good at dividing my time clearly or switching off from “academic coordinator” mode – so I’ll often have my email open when I’m doing other things on the computer (I think I also inherited a gossipy streak from my maternal grandmother so I always worry I’m missing out on something!).

I think as well, that when I first became a teacher, it seemed like “up” was the natural direction things moved – I imagined that I would be a teacher, then a DoS, then open my own school and it was only when I’d been teaching for a couple of years that I realised I didn’t want to own my own school.   Returning to being “just” a teacher for me is certainly no step backwards, rather I see it as the opportunity to step sideways in many different directions as I have more space and time to focus my energies on my development.  Here are just a few of the things I’m looking forward to experimenting with…

  • Building a bank of observation tasks for speaking activities
  • Working on reading skills with YLs
  • Developing some Gouin series for VYLs
  • A fortnightly focus for my own PD, similar to Mike Harrisons notelts

I’m feeling incredibly excited, motivated and energised by the change and hopefully, I’ll also be blogging more so you’ll get to hear all about it!






Posted May 25, 2016 by Teresa Bestwick in category My thoughts

6 thoughts on “Reflecting on a new direction

  1. Sandy Millin

    It’s good to hear somebody saying this. I don’t think it sounds selfish – if you’re not completely happy in your job because you feel like you’d prefer to be doing something else and it’s affecting your work-life balance, then it seems like the right decision to make.
    I love my current role as a DoS, but do feel like I haven’t had the chance to flex my teaching skills very much post-Delta, having gone almost immediately into CELTA training after a year of mostly teaching 121 and very small groups. I can see that this is a step I may take myself at some point in the future. Good luck with the move and I look forward to reading the resulting blogposts!

    1. Teresa Bestwick (Post author)

      Thanks for commenting, Sandy. I also feel like I haven’t really had a chance to explore everything I learnt during my DipTESOL – there was just so much to take onboard during the course!
      It’s important for everyone to evaluate the roles they have and decide which direction they want their professional development to take – the joy of our profession is that there are so many options: management, materials writing, blogging, presenting at conferences, and so on.

  2. Micaela

    Hi there! I can relate to your post in so many ways. There have been many times when I’ve asked myself why haven’t I done certain things yet (for example the Delta, presenting at a conference, blogging more) but I think those things will come (or not) when it’s the right time. Life/work balance is what I strive for so when the motivation and drive is there, they’ll get done. In the meantime, ‘just teaching’ is more than enough to keep me happy. Thanks for sharing such a personal post. Really enjoyed reading it. 😉 Micaela

    1. Teresa Bestwick (Post author)

      Thanks for the comment, Micaela. You’re right, there are just so many things we can do that it’s impossible to do everything at the same time. Also, as a school owner, you’ll have other things to think about which take up time and energy. I think as long as we’re enjoying what we’re doing and take a moment every now and again to evaluate it, we can’t go wrong!


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