Editor’s note: On the afternoon of Saturday, 8 June 2013, Mark Andrews and Lynda Steyne facilitated a Round-Table with eltforum.sk 2013 speakers and participants. First, in groups of six, everyone shared what they had got out of the conference. Then, the speakers, sitting side by side across the front of the room, shared what they thought of the conference sessions and what they had learned. Finally, the floor was opened up to anyone who wanted to say anything. A young woman on the front row was the last to speak. The following is what she shared.
by Karin Týlešová
My name is Karin, I’m from Bratislava, Slovakia, and I’m not a teacher. I’m a student. I study English Language and Literature and Psychology at the Faculty of Education at Comenius University. AND I WANT TO BECOME A TEACHER!
The thing is that when I tell someone I want to be a teacher, they respond, “Are you crazy?! You can’t be serious!” Sometimes, I think that those people are right. Students are rude, they don’t pay attention, and the job is paid badly (a teacher needs a partner who earns enough for both). My parents didn’t want me to become a teacher. They wouldn’t allow me to attend a secondary pedagogical school. But after graduating from the vocational secondary hotel school I had to attend, I sent my application to the Faculty of Education without my parents knowing. I even taught at a primary school for two years. Those years were the best years of my life.
This was the first time I was a part of an ELTForum.sk Teacher Development Conference and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I didn’t know what to expect; I didn’t know any of the speakers except for Gabi Lojová, my teacher at the Faculty. I never realized that there were such great ELT people like Penny Ur, Ken Wilson and Chuck Sandy (as well as all the other speakers, of course!). Seeing my teacher, Professor Lojová, among them was incredible – it meant a lot to me. And I’m so glad that I was there to see it !
I want to teach lower secondary or upper secondary, so I chose the best workshops and talks for me. I wanted to sit in the front at every session, I wanted to hear everything, I wanted to play, and I wanted to be a 14 year-old student. So I did and I was. I had FUN, which I think is something that teaching should be! I met so many people; I bought books. And I was even given books which I can use for teaching. As a student I can’t really afford buying books every day so I was really happy about the free books.
Being at ELTForum.sk 2013 was extremely motivating for me. Listening to the speakers, participating with other teachers, and playing those ELT games confirmed that the direction I’m going is the right direction. I should follow my dream. I know I can do it. And I know I will be a great teacher. The speakers were my inspiration, my passion to continue and I am so thankful for each one.
I stayed till the round-table at the end of the conference, when all the speakers spoke about what they had gotten out of the conference. I couldn’t stop smiling and being happy. I had the feeling that I HAD TO thank them for the experience and inspiration they gave me, so when Lyn asked if someone wanted to say something, my hand flew up. They gave me a microphone and I started talking – my voice must have shook – but there I was, ‘student Karin’, sharing with these famous ELT professionals and the other participants who stayed what I have just shared with you in this post: I want to be a teacher and the conference confirmed that commitment that I’ve made. The whole event and being a part of it was astonishing.
The people around me still don’t really support my decision. But then I realise it’s about being a TEACHER, about how I will treat my students. Teachers are the people who educate children; teachers spend time with kids; and teachers sort of raise those them. So, yes, I’m serious about being a teacher.
And see you next year at ELTForum.sk 2014, because I will definitely be there…and every following year!