The Long Goodbye

As you will know from my last post, I now find myself in a new job in a new country as I take on the role of Language School Coordinator in Libreville, Gabon. Of course, leaving Turkey and my life and career there was quite hard and it wasn’t made any easier by the drawn out nature of saying goodbye.

I started my job here earlier this week but the transition from one full time position to another took a while as it followed a series of ‘goodbye steps’ including my last day of teaching at TED (mid-June), last day of actually working at TED (end of June), moving out of my apartment (mid-July), and departing for Gabon (mid-August). Scattered in between were farewells with different groups of people (students, colleagues, friends, and family).

However, as always, I kept myself busy during that period with a few projects (paid and unpaid) and it was fun to see what working as a self-employed freelancer in the world of ELT could be like.
Among the projects I was involved in, I lent my voice to a couple of ELT course book projects (those of you in Turkey, don’t be surprised if you hear a familiar voice on any tapescripts in the near future!) and I also taught a couple of short exam classes to get back into the swing of working with adults (those led to a few reflections on the state of ELT in Turkey which I will be sharing on the blog soon).

I was lucky enough to have the chance to work with Kristina Smith and the SELT Teacher Training Academy, who are doing a lot of exciting work with language teachers in Turkey and in Asia. This began with designing and creating a series of presentations as part of courses prepared specifically for the regional market with separate focuses on primary, secondary, and academic levels (distinctions a lot of TEFL courses currently lack), and ultimately led to me spending some time in Almaty, Kazahkstan, running a training course for primary teachers. This was my first time running an extended course rather than a one-off workshop and it was a great learning experience. Please visit the SELT Academy blog to read my reflections from my sadly brief stay there:

And as ever, there were webinars. I was honoured and pleased to be invitied back as a presenter for the Reform Symposium (RSCON5), where I ran a session on using Minecraft with language learners (please visit my ELT Sandbox blog to learn more about it) and I was proud and happy to be part of the iTDi Summer School MOOC. Again, I focused on game-based learning and you can expect some reflections over on ELT Sandbox soon.

Here are the links to the archived presentations: 

RSCON5 – Breaking the Learning Blocks: Minecraft and Language Learning

iTDi Summer School MOOC – Raise Your Game: GBL in the Language Classroom
Sadly, not all the projects came through. I was also scheduled to contribute to a joint Turkish Ministry of Education-British Council project training state school teachers in using class tablets and technology in general to support language learning but sadly it was postponed until the new academic year.

And that was that. My work in Turkey is done for now as I move my focus to teaching students and training teachers in Gabon. I hope I can continue with the web conferences while I am here and, who knows, maybe pop up at a couple of face-to-face events as well.