It’s been a busy one! I still have writing projects to wrap up before the Xmas break, but I’m taking a moment off for some reflection. So, how’s everything been this year?
I’ve learnt quite a bit from my role as an EAL teacher/coordinator at an international school. I’ve been working with some great subject teachers – I blogged about my experiences in KS4 Science which have been awesome.
I’ve a much better understanding of CLIL now having had the chance to apply it in my context. I’ve also been teaching IGCSE ESL and KS3 English which is good experience. Plus, I’ve been learning lots through supporting in subjects like BTEC Business, Geography and so on.
I’ve also enjoyed informally mentoring my (only) colleague in the Secondary EAL department, who is working towards a PGCEi. We get to observe each other a lot as we share a classroom. I can share tips and resources, and of course learn things myself too!
My contract as this school is up next summer. I’ve decided not to renew and just see what else is out there. I might look into using my PGCEi to teach Psychology as it relates to my MSc. I might step into EAL management for a bit, maybe stay in the classroom, or take a break and write. Who knows?!
Teaching IGCSE ESL has been worthwhile and very useful from a writing perspective too. Lots of demand for this at present, plus I’ve noticed that language schools (IH here) are adding it to their courses lists.
The EAL department at our school needed a bit of TLC, so that’s been a chance for me to do some mini projects. I’ve been devising EAL school policy, designing syllabuses/syllabi, and trying to get a whole school EAL review going (unlikely I reckon). Still six months left in the job so let’s see what else I can get stuck into.
It’s been a great year for projects. Lots of offers, mostly from LinkedIn but other approaches too. I’ve been contacted by publishers directly through the blog a few times which is cool. Also, lots of emails from packagers these days. I get booked up quickly due to the teaching role though, feel bad turning stuff down. Only had time for about six projects this year, but they’ve all been cool!
Top 3 projects were:
1. Working with ESL Library, read more here
2. Working with Richmond ELT on mindfulness activities for young learners.
3. Helping Multilingua FC with content. I even have a squad number as a member of the Multilingua FC team!
I’ve turned down a couple of biggies this year due to other commitments. Luckily I haven’t burnt any bridges. Yet. But I did take on one big project this year…
I’ve spent the last four months working on a fascinating project related to assessment with TransformELT. Summary post next year probs. It’s been a chance to work alongside my MA Tutor from NILE ELT, Alan Pulverness. Awesome chap and a great mentor. It’s been busy but I’ve loved every minute!
This was the first year that I’ve been ghosted on projects, and a few times too! There was one project where I thought we were close to moving through to a contract stage, then suddenly… they just disappeared. Like, full on, no communication. It was a big publisher too. I followed up on things, no response even to this day. It’s weird, I’d at least have expected a ‘we found someone else/decided to go in-house/decided we don’t actually like you…’ message but nothing.
Maybe they heard that I try and sneak puns into every resource. Still, ghosting isn’t in good ‘spirit’, is it?
Projects for 2022
I always do that ‘I’m gonna take a break for a few months’ thing. It quickly becomes ‘Right, just these two projects, but I’m not taking on any more’. Which then progresses to ‘I guess I could squeeze one more in…’
I’m pretty much booked up until March/April. Got some awesome projects coming up, awesome either a) because of the content to write, or b) because of the writing team. Wait, or both.
I’ve also got some cool ideas for collaborations in 2022, provided we get time to make these ideas happen!
IELTS Book with Prosperity
Ah, when I mentioned the favourite projects I meant commissions. But I was a co-author on a really cool project this year with Paul Murphy too. Prosperity were a pleasure to work with and the reviews of our resource were great!
Earlier in the year I did a self-publishing course with ITDI and Dorothy Zemach. Great course, and I wanted to make the most of it by following all the steps of self-publication through. So, I adapted content from this blog and made an ebook, well more of a e-booklet really, for new teachers.
I made 100 dollars for the course fees back within the first month, then a bit more which covered some course fees for another participant. Then I decided to set the book to a free download.
To my surprise, it’s been popular. It’s been hovering around the Top 10 free downloads for Teaching (Amazon UK) all year and has these random bursts of say 20 downloads when CELTA courses finish.
The resource itself wasn’t the best to be honest, more of an experiment. Still, it shows that there’s clearly a market for resources to help fresh-off-the-CELTA teachers. Something better than my loose offering is needed for sure – who fancies working on it with me next year?
The blog has welcomed over 200,000 visitors this year, with around 330,000 views.
I’ve gone back to more quick classroom ideas recently – daily dose of Internet, role play tasks, etc. Fun to write and some nice ideas to come back to.
Other than that, I’ve mostly written about either the PGCEi or my writing experiences.
Posts on materials writing have been super popular. The news and views posts reach a big audience, and tiny takes like posts on writing samples, rationales, finding work and so on have got lots of engagement. It’s been SO COOL to get messages from people saying they’ve followed the advice/rambles and found work! Thanks for sharing that, makes my day.
There’s been clickbait on the blog too, of course!
I’ve enjoyed FB groups like TEFL Development Hub, the occasional SIG Tweet Meet on Twitter, Rachael Roberts’/Hugh Dellar’s stuff on Clubhouse (when it was a thing) and healthy/friendly discussions on LinkedIn. Threads prompted by Karl Millsom on LinkedIn or Twitter (Rebel Teacher Network) continue to be worth a read.
Social media for promo has been okay but I don’t do it as much. Mainly on Linkedin, as for me one click through from there is worth at least double the other sites. It’s like a Premier League sticker collection shiny basically. Here were the stats on referrals if interested. I don’t do Insta.
That’s been the year! Hope you’ve all had a good one. Seasons greetings and catch you all in 2022!
Categories: General, reflections
Dear Pete Thank you for the detailed update full of interesting information and ideas. I was happy to know your ebook. Would you be open to sharing the tools or steps you used to get it through?
Hi Muhammad, thanks for commenting. The site that Dorothy Zemach recommended to help with ebook creation was https://www.draft2digital.com
I found it very straightforward for making a basic ebook, but it depends what you’re looking for I guess.
Cheers, happy holidays!
I had a similar ghosting-like experience recently. Was approached by reputable non-UK publisher. Daily email contact for three weeks to agree on structure of new book. Sent in three sample units. No response. Would have expected an acknowledgement of receipt almost immediately but thought, ‘OK, their MO is to look at at samples before making any reply at all. Don’t push it.’ Four weeks later, after no contact from them, I sent a reminder. Nothing for two weeks. At this point, I emailed my withdrawal from project, thinking, ‘I can’t work like this’, and politely saying I was surprised not to be contacted at all (even a holding reply) in six weeks. Immediate response from them, saying they were sorry to see me go. No other explanation. (Society of Authors, by the way, advises asking for an upfront payment for samples. In my case, fortunately, I was able to recycle the material).
All the best for 2022,
Wow, that’s crazy. And the immediate response when you withdrew given the context is a bit insulting tbh! Still, great that you got to recycle the material – could have been even worse.
Have a great break and all the best for the new year. Hope lots of interesting projects pop up and the course stays popular 🙂
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