Evolution = Love in Action
A short while ago (for some) I gazed out a tenth-floor window in southwest Poland, my career in experimental theatre having just about run its course, and saw that I would love teaching English. I didn’t understand AT ALL what that italicized phrase really means to me, because I didn’t realize at the time that the endless journey of doing ELT and TESOL (or probably anything) well would teach me how to hold on to change, love living & learning, and understand something about social and personal evolution.
My ‘career’ in ELT has meandered and leaped through Poland, England, the US, Indonesia, and South Korea. I have trained ELT professionals for the US, Polish, and Korean governments as well as the British Council, back when it was FAB in Poland as the eighties turned into the nineties. Along the way I picked up a DELTA (DipTEFLA back then) from Cambridge and an MS in Applied Linguistics from Georgetown (and a CompTIA Net+ certification in Microsoft servers). I’ve published for Wiley-Blackwell, Compass Media, and Georgetown, and discussed the current state of my EVOLUTION at conferences and in seminars wherever I’ve lived. I’ve also taught English at universities in Poznan, Wroclaw, Maryland, Virginia, Jakarta, Jogjakarta, and Seoul, and K-12 Drama at The American School in London.
Certainly, to ride a cliché, the more I understand the less I can claim to know, but that’s what building this website to interact with myself and a growing community will help me articulate, discover, and share. I think it’s not so much about claiming to know things, but understanding what good learning entails from the people doing it. The focus here will be on how any of us, educators or not, negotiates an identity in a given interaction to achieve an optimal outcome. In a classroom, the quality of interactions determines what is learned, what is not learned, and what is unlearned. Same as outside the classroom, and undoubtedly the same, but probably a little bit different, in online learning contexts. This website will cover a lot of territory over time, but will always reflect on identity construction in those venues. However, all this chatter and understanding means nothing if it doesn’t ripple into the real world. So I’ll be trying to connect with anyone interested through the content here — beginning at the beginning (that’s now).
My Blogging Past
My original, semi-private, sporadic TESOL teacher reflection journey Monster in the Mirror does not claim to be more than that. I’m sure I’ll be reposting from it here to develop ideas that were seeded there. Credit for the title goes to this scene from “A New Man”, in season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which mild-mannered librarian Rupert Giles awakes the morning after a night of a few too many with an old friend to discover that this time how he perceives himself is a far cry from how others do.
For anyone interested in what life and setting up a school or teacher development might be (have been) like in Jakarta or Jogjakarta, Indonesia, my initial adventures in culture shock (with a few musings on how teachers can avoid teaching students to stop thinking) are at Taking the Jakarta Jump.
This website is still a baby. A lot of pages are still in development (aka still evolving), and there are probably a few more still to be conceived. Ah, the beauty of life and living!