September 14, 2011 by Willy Cardoso
What a great year it was!
On 3rd September, 2010, I landed in London and swiftly hopped on the Tube making my way to Camden Town with only a pack on my back.
Well… my two-piece luggage with 30kg of clothes and books each got lost somewhere between Rio and Paris (?? I flew Sao Paulo to London), anyway…
A month later, with clothes and books in place but still guitar-less, I was on my way to see a flat on an unlikely fortunate day (there was a Tube strike), when the 24 to Pimlico drove by Denmark Street (THE guitar-shop street in London), and well, guess what? I postponed the viewing, got off the smelly bus, and as I enter the first guitar shop, who do I see? Jeremy Harmer.
This was the first of many encounters I would have with amazing and inspiring ELT professionals, with whom I was able to socialize and learn thanks to this blog and to Twitter. I know I wouldn’t have done so much in this first year here if it wasn’t for the people I met through blogging and micro-blogging (btw, micro-blogging is a ridiculous word).
There are too many faces to name. Well, I could actually name everyone, but the point here is writing.
In order to build some textual coherence, whatever it means, I will simply say that at the time little did I know I would meet Luke Meddings and end up writing a conversational-piece with him for the excellent Teaching Times (the TESOL France Newsletter); and that I would meet Simon Greenall and end up having him as not only the editor-in-chief but more importantly as the motivator of an unexpected early career in materials writing, which I will be forever thankful.
It was a year of writing. The main reason I’ve had these and other opportunities was because I write this blog. It is also probably a reason why I am not offered some other opportunities, but I don’t know about them.
What I know is that the more I blog the bigger my readership gets, and that’s just so obvious now. The more I blog, the more I learn. The more I blog, the more I position myself in the profession and in the world, and then I change, I find new perspectives, watch my language and bite my tongue. All in all, I’ve found a channel of self-expression so important to any professional life, but extremely important to the education profession.
It is also by writing a blog that I see how much I still have to learn and how much I have already learned. With the blog I am able to see myself a year ago and enjoy the learning path retrospectively. It is a photo album made of words.
The real downside is that I don’t know who is actually on the other side; I know some people who read it, but I don’t know if they are reading this. Hence, I rarely have a reader in mind, which makes me feel like talking to myself most of the times and trying to convince myself of what I’m saying has some value.
A foundational reason I moved here was that of a master’s in education; which means writing four 5,000-word assignments during the year. I still don’t know how but I managed to achieve top marks in all of them. Half way there, another year to go and an increasing uncertainty of what the heck I’ll do with all this MA thing. It makes is easier when I remind myself that I started it for the learning and nothing else, but that’s also a bit stupid considering all the money I’ll have spent aimlessly(?). We’ll see. In the end I wish the MA studies were less solitary and more open, less formal and more passionate; a bit like blogging.
This is a post about writing and not-writing. It is perhaps time to shift gears, not to park, but just to shift gears: I have so much in my head after intensive teaching for 12 weeks that I just can’t write on this blog; it’s the hell of a paradox, let me explain.
I’m flooded and lost in reflection. What was a great thing, reflecting on lessons, is now jumbling up in a corner somewhere in my brain. I have hundreds of notes I took in lesson waiting to be checked out and expanded, but at the same time I still keep taking notes of new lessons so when I sit down to write in here it’s just so overwhelming that I get stuck, lost.
After teaching such a diverse wealth of personality types, the prolific and the monosyllabic, the down-to-earth and the lunatic. Oh boy, all those languages and nationalities, it was fantastic. After all that I just have so many concepts called into question that it is hard to formulate any opinions about anything at the moment that I sometimes think it’s just better if I don’t write for awhile instead of publishing trash for the sake of blogging.
But it is so hard! I want to write!
So what I’ll do for the time being is to write down the best activities/ideas/resources I’ve used during the summer, which are by and large not my own, but adapted from varied places and people. I’ll leave the complex(ity) stuff aside a bit, leave it chewing cud or ageing in an oak barrel for whenever. There’s a lot of philosophy of education I want to write, a lot about affordances, loads and loads of stuff in teacher education, but they’ll have to wait. I’ll clear my head writing other things for the time being,
However, I don’t want to publish the practical stuff here – this has never been a blog of practical resources and I don’t want to make it one now. Instead I’d like to use another space, more especially someone else’s space. I’ll let you know. And you let me know if you have a place I can bunk overnight blogwise.
And back to the 1-year-in-London thing, it’s been a great journey! I love how cheap junk food is here, love people standing only on the right side of the escalator, love the self-checkout at the supermarket, love the way women dress in the summer, love being able to taste different cuisine, my favorite now is Greek! Love the pubs, thanks Ken Wilson for introducing the Dove (I even moved west to be closer). Great tweet-ups! It’s now easier to go to IATEFL (but it’s still very expensive!). And lastly, I’ve been enjoying the new challenges in teaching, writing and the bloody accents mate!
So thank you if you read me this year and double thank you if you commented on or offline. See you in other corners and I’ll be back as soon as the thinking dust settles. I predict very shortly (arf, all the fuss for so little).