Candidates for the Executive Committee – February 2014

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As of 27 December 2013, the Slovak Chamber of English Teachers exists as an official professional organisation in the Slovak Republic. As such, it is time to elect its first Executive Committee.

Elections to the Executive Committee (EC) of the Slovak Chamber of English Teachers are held every 3 years. The EC consists of 5 members, one of whom is chosen by the others to be Chair. The responsibilities of the every-day running of the Chamber are divided among the members of the EC based on their strengths and weaknesses, and mutual agreement. Positions on the EC are unpaid and strictly volunteer. The official Articles of the Chamber can be found here (in Slovak) for SCET members.

Voting will take place the week of February 17-22, 2014. Members will be notified how and when to vote. Those not able to attend the General Meeting will be able to vote online.

The following members of the Chamber (listed alphabetically) have been nominated to stand for election to the first Executive Committee of the Slovak Chamber of English Teachers for 2014-2017:

Mattie Bednarikova1. Martina Bednáriková (member since July 2013)

Position/Employment: MA student

Organisation/School: Karl-Franzens University of Graz, Austria

Background: I earned my BA in teaching English and Slovak (Language and Literature) from Comenius University in Bratislava in 2012. I am currently studying British and American Studies at the University of Graz, Austria.

I have been working as an English teacher (both as a private tutor and at a language school) since 2011. I have also been working as an invigilator for British Council Bratislava since 2011. I love learning, reading and writing. (This is Martina’s 2nd year working on the conference.)

Why I’m participating in the Chamber: As a student, I feel the need to REALLY learn FOR LIFE.  University studies are no substitute for the teaching experience I am actually lacking. Therefore I decided to be a part of the Chamber.

It is SCET that provides a platform that serves as a means of cooperation between students of teaching and real teachers. It enables me to communicate with my colleagues and learn from them practically, not just theoretically.

What I see as the future of the Chamber/What I’d like to see it do/Where I’d like to see it go: I would like to see every English teacher becoming a part of the Chamber, because it is only together that we can do something valuable and rewarding.

Marja Juhola2. Marja Juhola (member since June 2013)

Position/Employment: Odborný asistent/University Lecturer

Organisation/School: Department of English Language and Literature, Pedagogical Faculty, University of Trnava

Background: A graduate of Kent University, I earned my Master’s at the University of Manchester. I did my initial teaching qualification in Bath about 10 years ago and since then have taught English as a foreign language in the private sector in China, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Malta, the UK, Poland and Slovakia. I have also worked as an academic manager and teacher trainer. (Marja is also on the organising committee of the conference this year.)

Why I’m participating in the Chamber: Two heads are better than one. The more heads, the better! I firmly believe that we can achieve so much more by working together, cooperating and sharing experiences, knowledge and information.

What I see as the future of the Chamber/What I’d like to see it do/Where I’d like to see it go:
In my view, the role of the Chamber is to help to bring together, both virtually and in person, English language teaching professionals from all corners of Slovakia. By providing opportunities for further development and exchanging information and resources we can all help each other, with the aim of increasing the professional level of teaching in this country.

Lenka Matuskova3. Lenka Matúšková (member since November 2013)

Position/Employment: English teacher

Organisation/School: Perspektíva Jazyková škola, Bratislava

Background: In 2006, I earned my MA in Translation/Interpreting in English and German from the Faculty of Humanities, University of Matej Bel, Banská Bystrica. Until 2009, I was Culture and Higher Education Coordinator for an international non-profit organization working with university students. Since then I’ve been teaching English both one-on-one and in groups, mostly to adults, in a language school setting.  (Lenka is also on the organising committee of the conference this year.)

Why I’m participating in the Chamber: Being a member of Chamber means to be able to help and support English teachers, improve the quality of teaching of English in Slovakia, e.g. by enabling teachers to join seminars, workshops, conferences led by experts in the fields that can motivate and inspire them.

What I see as the future of the Chamber/What I’d like to see it do/Where I’d like to see it go: I hope that the Chamber can be a place to which the teachers can turn when they need help, when they need advice, when they have great ideas which they want to fulfil.

Lucia Otrisalova4. Lucia Otrísalová (founding member – since February 2013)

Position/Employment: Assistant professor

Institution/School: Faculty of Arts, Comenius University, Bratislava

Background: I graduated from Comenius University in 2001, and since then have been working as a teacher of English. I have worked in different environments (e.g. a secondary school, at language schools, company offices, and university classrooms). Since 2010, I have been a university lecturer specializing in North American literature and culture, but I also teaching courses in practical English and academic writing.

Why I’m participating in the Chamber: The reason I joined the Chamber is that I believe that a group always stands stronger than an individual when trying to affect change. I also believe in life-long professional development, and I think that meeting other teachers and exchanging experiences with them contributes to our growth as teaching professionals.

What I see as the future of the Chamber/What I’d like to see it do/Where I’d like to see it go: I would like the Chamber to contribute to affecting change in the public perception of teachers in general. Since I am involved in the training of future English teachers, I would like to see the brightest kids taking on the profession, but that will happen only if the overall social status of teachers improves. Only then will mediocrity be replaced with excellence. As this is not going to happen from above, I strongly believe that we have to start with ourselves. Only further training will make us the professionals we would like others to see us as. Therefore, the Chamber should provide English teachers with opportunities to become better at what they do and to keep up with current trends in language education.

Lynda Steyne5. Lynda Steyne (founding member – since February 2013; standing for the position of Chair)

Position/Employment: Odborný asistent/Teaching Assistant; English teacher

Organisation/School: Department of British and American Studies, School of Arts, Comenius University, Bratislava; Spojená škola Tilgnerova, Bratislava; Gymnazium Jura Hronca, Bratislava

Background: I earned my Master’s in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and Intercultural Studies at Columbia International University in 1990. Since then, I’ve taught university students in South Carolina, adults in Chicago, and, since 1991, primarily teens in secondary schools in Bratislava. I’ve also worked in curriculum design and implementation, testing and assessment, materials writing, and public school administration. I am a member of both IATEFL and TESOL. What I love most is working with teacher trainees and those new to teaching. (This is Lynda’s 3rd year working on the conference.)

Why I’m participating in the Chamber: Because I’m tired of waiting for someone else to do something to help English teachers become even better teachers. And I believe that teachers in Slovakia, working and growing together, can have a positive impact on the future of a country in general, and on a country’s children, in particular.

What I see as the future of the Chamber/What I’d like to see it do/Where I’d like to see it go: In general, teaching isn’t considered much of a profession in Slovakia. After all, how many times have we heard that just anybody can teach? I don’t think ‘just anybody’ can teach. I see teaching as a profession.  I’d like to see the Chamber grow into a living, breathing network of connected Slovak English teachers from all kinds of schools and educational levels, working together to improve the quality of English teaching (and learning) across the country.

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