Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Dear 24-year-old Miguel

I’m sending you this letter encouraged by the kind words of Ms. Joanna Malefaki, a great EFL teacher/blogger and better person. She has started a blog challenge addressing teachers to write a letter with advice to our younger self, and that’s the reason the hashtag for this blog challenge is #youngerteacherself.

Besides, this summer we will celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the start of our career in ELT; don’t get too excited yet, it will all start with just a few hours in a private language school and some private lessons at home, all paid under the table, but you’ll get something much better very soon, trust me, I know why I'm talking about. So to celebrate this nothing better than accept this challenge and reflect on what we could have done better.

To be honest, I have been tempted to tell you who to bet for in football and basketball, just as in our all-time favourite movie Back to the Future part II, but then I thought giving you some tips to become a better professional and further your career would be the sensible thing to do, plus I do not want to alter the normal chain of events, “the consequences of that could be disastrous!”

Congratulations on
getting your degree
Anyway, now that you have finished your Degree in English Language and Literature and a Master’s Degree in English Language Teaching it is time to start your career. And the first thing to must decide is whether to work with secondary school students or adult learners… My piece of advice is: adult learners of course!! You would probably get paid less and work longer hours (doesn’t really sound promising, does it?), but in return you will get very motivated people, keen to learn and a very rewarding experience overall; I promise, you won’t regret it ;-)

Well, you know the kind of job to pursue, the next question is: where?? And my answer is: go abroad, you have a career that will allow you to travel around the world so do it! If learning a new language and a new culture is not enough of a reason, think of how you will get acquainted with different methods of working, different learners, class environments, materials, colleagues… all this will count towards your professional development and it will make you a better teacher.

Finally here are some tips I probably should have learnt much earlier but I'm more than happy to share with you: embrace technology, you will find new online tools coming out every now and then that will help you provide more engaging lessons to your students; experiment, try new things, test new approaches to English language teaching; start a blog, it’s fun and you’ll be able to reflect on your own teaching; build a PLN, you don’t know yet but that is a Professional Learning Network, join social networks and use them for professional purposes and you’ll enjoy further development and better career opportunities; and learn something new everyday, be curious, you won't regret it!

And this is as far as I can tell you, I hope you find it useful. Don’t ask me about future personal information because I’m not allowed to tell you anything, again think about our favourite film and what happened to Marty McFly.

Take care, you’ll be fine!!

Best wishes

34-year-old Miguel

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