Soon Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving. Whether you’re in the U.S. or not, we can all take a moment to express what we as teachers are thankful for. My top 10 are as follows:
1. I’m thankful I found my calling: English language instruction.
2. I’m thankful I’ve had students who have placed their trust in me as their teacher.
3. I’m thankful to live in this digital age because it has allowed me to grow professionally in ways I never expected.
4. I’m thankful to the technology gurus who provide the tools and the packages for online instruction.
5. I’m thankful for the books which I’ve been given and which I’ve bought because although a lot of information is online, some authors and editors have compiled useful references that I need as a teacher and materials writer. I’d be lost without my library.
6. I’m thankful to colleagues I’ve met at schools, through online communities, and at TESOL conventions. They teach me, encourage me, inspire me, and from time to time assist me in preparing materials.
7. I’m thankful to all my teachers in the past, from elementary school on up to graduate school. Particularly the ones from my youth have become models. Because of them, I’ve aspired to be the kind of teacher who is remembered for not just what she teaches but how she teaches.
8. I’m thankful to have had the experience of teaching abroad. My experience was limited to one country overseas, but I have more awareness of what is common to and what is different between ESL and EFL.
9. I’m thankful I’ve failed and made mistakes both as a language learner and as a teacher. Sounds illogical, I admit. But for example, if I hadn’t done so poorly on my French placement exam back at Bryn Mawr College, I wouldn’t have begun the deep reflection I’ve done on what it means to be a good language learner and an effective language teacher. Also, during my teacher training practicum at a Pittsburgh high school, I had to face the toughest crowd: urban teens. I learned the humbling lesson that despite my determination, I couldn’t teach everyone effectively at each lesson. Through my mistakes, I learned the importance of classroom management and intrinsic motivation.
10. I’m thankful that you’re reading this posting! I hope you’ll visit again and offer some ideas for further discussion.