On the current state

Today I want to write here some of my current thoughts about professional development, the possibility of a burn-out, my place in this profession, the changes in my interests in the six years that I can trace back with the help of this blog, and importantly, my thoughts about future. As in, my professional future. Tomorrow morning all of this might make little sense to me but as of now, it stands. I might feel differently ten days from now when I go back to work and have to plan classes again, meet students, spend hours with colleagues, work on projects. But now, lost in vacation, knee-deep in idleness, I feel that.

It’s been a month since I last stepped foot in a classroom, and I’ve learnt by now that long vacations are not exactly a good fit for me. Nearly every time I lose sense of professional purpose, but this summer hit me a little bit harder (though frankly speaking, it has been creeping in for a while).

“What is IT?” you’ll probably ask.

As I scroll down my Facebook feed, I see (this summer much like any other time in the year), an abundance of good-looking and not-so-good-looking resources, useful and toxic articles, thoughtful and all different kinds of blog posts. There’s a lot of everything – and there has been for as long as I have used social media for ELT, which is 6 years.

Yet barely anything clicks now quite the same way as it used to.

I am not drawn to webinars.

I am not willing to participate in Twitter conversations.

I don’t have the energy to look at my WordPress Reader.

You most likely don’t see my comments to any of the ELT discussions on Facebook.

You have not yet received my response to your kind, long and thoughtful comment on my blog post.

 

Burn-out?

I want to look six years back into the logs. Here’s what I’ve been massively excited about for something like 4-5 years: activities, professional communities aka PLNs, technology (apps, web tools, blogs, social media), sharing students’ work, etc. I am far less thrilled about most of those now. I sometimes even catch myself sounding skeptical, and I don’t want to become that person. I used to be so passionate about so many things. These days, I choose and pick, examine carefully what to be passionate about. And then become mildly enthusiastic. I have more criticism in me than I’d prefer. I don’t use as many exclamation marks when I write. One could take it to mean I’ve lost some vigour, if one were to analyse that much.

And, of course, conferences. I couldn’t get enough of them. I wanted so much to be everywhere, to meet everyone, to present and share what I’d done as a teacher. The kind comments, positive response of the audience, presence of those who’d become friends – it got me high and dizzy every single time. Together we make each other feel important. So much support, so much learning, and above all, our relationships growing deeper. We became each others’ stars.

Does it sound like I’m saying I don’t value any of that anymore?

That’s not what I’m saying.

I can’t seem to find my place, that’s what I’m trying to say. I don’t want to be the kind of presenter who shares own experiences in the self-centered way. When I go to a conference, I look to see who will be there. And then aren’t we trapped in this cycle of doing it for the same people over and over again? I don’t think I want to share for the mere sake of sharing anymore. I don’t always understand what and who the conferences are for, my view is blurred.

I wrote before that I want to participate in programs to “help teachers” in developing countries. I still do, but there’s this nagging voice at the back of my mind offering me a vague picture of what it might look like… me performing a role, albeit excitedly. Imparting whatever knowledge or skills or ideas I come up with when I write my abstracts to go. How can a short visit with a couple of workshops help anyone? Do I want to be a person associated with this kind of help? On the other hand, though, what’s wrong with it? Having never been part of it, why am I already doubting the impact?

That’s a rough sketch of where my mind is. Of the current state.

 

My own diagnosis is as follows: a time-out at the crossroads. Re-evaluating the purpose and meaning, locating professional self, contemplating directions.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “On the current state

  1. Hi Ann,

    IMHO, you are right on track in your own professional journey. I have been exactly where you are right now. In fact, I’m still unsure of my place in the EFL world. However, when I force myself to think about it, the only thing that resonates with me consistently is the PEOPLE – students, colleagues, and others I meet in my daily travels.

    As someone doing this for a few more years than you, I can share that I simply try to hang on to my core group of colleagues and try to leave doors open so I can jump on ideas that strike me as worth doing.

    I still love your writing – your inner voice is so honest and clear.

  2. Matthew says:

    Thank you for sharing, Anna! 🙂

  3. […] a blogpost called “On the current state” by Anna Loseva which includes this […]

  4. Clare says:

    Reminds of the life-cycle of teachers talk Tessa Woodward gave at IATEFL a few years back. I’m sure you’ll find your way! 🙂

  5. Sandy Millin says:

    I’ll second Matt’s thank you for sharing. I think your place is wherever you want it to be – if you keep writing honestly like this it always helps people.
    As or the difference that one or two workshops can make, it’s hard to know. But speaking to people before you go, trying to find out what they want and need, and trying to adapt to what you see when you arrive are all useful. Try it out, see what happens, learn from the experience. The doubts are possibly your brain saying ‘Stay safe. You know it’s all OK here.’ Listen if you want to, jump if you don’t 😉 I’m often surprised which things people have picked up on from my blogposts or conference presentations, often things I’ve completely forgotten writing or saying! Keep being you, and that’s enough.

  6. Thank you for writing this. It resonates with me.

  7. Helen L says:

    Anna, thanks for sharing this. It really fits with my own current state of mind. I, too, enjoyed being idle this summer. Didn’t do one ELT-related thing. And I loved it.
    I realised I’d needed it. I’ve been feeling guilty about not updating my blog (it’s been a very long time) or being as active on social media as I used to be, even though there are things I’d like to share with others, I just haven’t had the headspace to think about them and present them properly. I just needed not to.
    I realised I didn’t want to have to be responsible for other, online people’s learning after being responsible for so many real-life teachers this year. It was so nice to switch off.
    I’m sure the enthusiasm will return. In fact, you might have inspired me to write my own post!
    Thanks.
    Helen

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