I started this post months ago and, given that I’m currently off work preparing for a minor little hospital procedure, I thought I might as well finish it! It’s also the kind of blog post that really belongs on my old blog, Berlingo, since it’s directed more at teachers, but since I finished my teaching blog with a farewell post, I’m posting this here instead!
I recently attended two out of the five days of the IATEFL Annual Conference, where I learnt that there are over 100 IATEFL affiliate organisations around the world. On a recent reminisce about my time in Berlin (as it was around this time last year I finished my CELTA and started teaching) I ended up thinking about ELTABB, the IATEFL Associate organisation in Berlin, and reflecting on all the opportunities I got out of that. I thought that listing them here might encourage more teachers to get involved with their equivalent of ELTABB, to really enrich their teaching experience and develop themselves professionally.
- Through some chance encounters and lucky conversations (most of which initially took place on Twitter!), I was offered the opportunity to Tweet for ELTABB, as the Twitter feed had been neglected for the previous six years. It took a lot of determination to track down the person who had set up the @eltabb account but we managed it and I took control of the account, tweeting about our events and retweeting useful articles, teaching tips and comments from other accounts. This was good experience in social media management, and where I learnt to make the most out of Tweetdeck – a tool I recommend for any semi-serious Twitter users.
- I attended many workshops and seminars organised by the wonderful Events Coordinator Mandy Welfare, one of which I wrote up on my old blog, Berlingo.
In writing such summaries, I was able to practice my summary-writing skills and, I suppose, on a slightly more ruthless professional level, ‘put myself out there’ because my summary also appeared on the ELTABB members-only area, so people who would never stumble upon my blog would end up reading my posts.
- I got my first ever teaching job through the ELTABB Facebook page, which I found when I was still finishing my CELTA. It was a three-week cover for someone who was on holiday, and it was a mixed adult group of complete beginners, A2 and B1 students, so it was certainly a challenge! My blog posts about what this experience taught me are here on my old blog.
- I took part in my first ever Lesson Jam, which was organised by the Lesson Jam pioneer, the lovely Tom Heaven. I posted about this, too, and have since seen Tom extend the idea all around the world, as well as taking his concept to IATEFL for a second year running.
- Almost most importantly of all, I made some great friends! The people I was lucky enough to be on the committee with (even though my role wasn’t a key one to the organisation, I still attended a few meetings) became firm friends, and it was lovely to bump into a few of them in Birmingham at IATEFL earlier in April.
What do you think? Are you a member of your local teaching organisation? If not, why not?