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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Have I gatecrashed the party?

Maybe it's just me being silly, but I sometimes get the feeling that I have joined an CPE class when I am only a Pre-Int student in the world of blogging and social networking and that I do not belong here. After all, I am but a simple teacher in a private language school in the South of Spain, doing my job on a day to day basis to earn a living. I have been doing the exact same for the past eight years: preparing lessons based on the course book, spending fairly little time on planning, because I had lots of experiences of spending hours preparing lessons only to be greeted with bored faces asking me to do something else. I felt that it wasn't worth the effort.

However, over the last school year something has changed. Something has changed inside me and it all started when I started to read other blogs and use Twitter. Enthusiasm is infectious, just like a laugh or yawn can be and every day I read comments from professionals that are just oozing in enthusiasm towards their teaching. I have had such zeal relatively few times in my career, but recently I have a new-found passion for my job. Perhaps passion is the wrong word: I do not consider teaching the be all and end all of my life, but I can say that I am much happier about going to work than I used to be. I have plenty of new ideas, thanks to my PLN (a term that I feel uneasy about using, and that I will come to shortly) and I think my students are benefitting from this. I have decided to start giving some in-house teacher development sessions to share what I am learning.

Nevertheless, I can't help feeling that I don't fit in with these professionals that I sometimes communicate with on Twitter. I get the feeling that I am pretending to be a professional and that someone soon will catch me out for being a fraud. As for Personal Learning Networks, I believe this supposed to be a two-way affair. I learn so much from the people whose blogs I read and links I open. But do they learn anything from me? They are teacher trainers, course book writers, directors of studies, whereas I am just a teacher. I can't help thinking that I am taking much more than I am giving back.

I felt even more like a fraud when a well-known magazine agreed to publish an article I wrote. Why would anyone want to read what I have to say? I am not well read on methodology. What I write is really just common sense. I feel slightly embarrassed to see myself on people's educator lists on Twitter - I am not an educator, just a teacher! Now I have always been a quite an insecure person and find it difficult to believe in myself, probably the opposite to a lot of  Tweeters and bloggers out there, and so it really does make a difference to me when I get comments on my blog, or people retweet my tweets. I guess I just need a bit of encouragement occasionally!

Does anyone else get these feelings from time to time? Is it normal? How do you deal with it? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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