After rain comes sunshine
Saturday, February 3rd, 2018
My name is Rianne Ariëns, I’m 25 years old, I live in the Netherlands and I have been an English teacher for about two years now.
I’ve wanted to become a teacher since I was fifteen years old, and for a long time I have never wanted to be anything else. Teaching was, in my eyes, the ultimate calling, yet in recent months I’ve began to doubt myself and my choice of occupation.
A lot of this is because the school I’m working at right now is not the best fit for me. Some of it is because I’ve underestimated a lot of the work that teachers do that isn’t teaching. But most of all it’s because I feel I’ve lost the drive and inspiration I had back when I was a student and I have never wanted to become a lackluster teacher. You know, someone who comes into work and numbly goes about his lessons without any passion or interest at all.
So what is a young teacher to do? I think it’s safe to say that no one else can find my drive and passion for me. It needs to come from me and me alone. So maybe, I need to go back to my roots.
As a student all I ever did was read and watch and look for new and exciting ways to go about my lessons. A lot of this because my teachers expected it of me; yet it did ensure that I was knowledgeable about my field and that every lesson I gave had one or more truly fun and exciting element. However, as I started my job I soon became overwhelmed with all the responsibilities a teacher faces that teacher training doesn’t prepare you for. Things like parent teacher conferences, the boring and often long meetings, the endless parade of student problems and so much more. During this, rather long, adjustment period I quickly fell back upon the safety of the course books. Sure I sometimes tried to spice it up but this was either met with a lot of resistance and even derision from my coworkers or an all-out rebellion from my students. And so, I grew complacent, something that, back when I was a teacher trainee, I swore would never happen.
However, today I attended a board meeting of BELTA ( Belgian English Language Teaching Association) an organization I have had a lot of experience with during my teacher training and whose board members have asked me to join them. Not only was I honored to be asked, but I was also inspired by the amount of passion these people have for their profession.
The board consists of several members who have been teaching English for years now and still they are continuously working on their own development as well as trying to find ways to keep inspiring their students. I am in awe of these people and I can only hope that in twenty years I will still have even an ounce of their passion and zeal. Meeting and talking with the other board members made me realize that in order for me to recapture my interest and love for my profession I have to try harder. I need to keep experimenting in the classroom, I need to find the time to keep up with recent developments in the field and I need to learn and evolve together with my students.
And that is why I’ve created this blog. I will update twice a week. On Wednesdays I will share a book or article I’ve read, or a webinar or Youtube clip I’ve watched. On Fridays I will share a real life tale about one of the new techniques I have implemented in my lessons. This way I will force myself to keep up with recent studies and literature, as well as trying new and exciting things in my classroom. By sharing it with you I hope that you will eventually comment; letting me know your own experiences or giving me your very own recommendations for literature or any other interesting subjects.
Of course I hope some of you will read this and let me know what you think.
Until next time.