It is easier to introduce yourself when you are asked to write a biodata for an academic event or publication because you know what kind of information is expected from you: your educational background, your work experience, and your interest areas. However, if you need to talk about yourself in a freer space such as this “About Me” section on my personal blog, it becomes much more difficult to address the priority and the order of the pieces of information related to your life.
“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”
― Lao Tzu
This struggle reminds me of an assignment I was given in an online teacher education programme about critical thinking and intercultural communication. The assignment asked us to think about all the micro-cultures, different subgroups in our lives with different rules and standards, that we move through during the day. The tutor asked us to focus on 6 particular identities we wear within these micro-cultures and describe these identities in terms of several variables. The lesson I have derived from the assignment is that we are never one singular personality. No matter how much detail I mention here about myself, there will be still traits form personalities I choose to become in different micro-cultures. In the context of this personal blog, maybe, I should talk about my lifelong learner identity, vocational identity, and professional growth identity.
“How can what seems to be many really be one? How can what is one manifest as many? Just what is it that there are many of, and what is it that remains one throughout?”
― John O'Neill
The monument “Timeo Hominem Unius Libri” at Hacettepe University Beytepe Campus – Photo retrieved from ALLEvents.in
As a lifelong learner, my proper introduction to English began in 2004 when I began to study at Çankaya Anıttepe High School in the “Süper Lise” programme not in the national curriculum now. By the end of the first year spared for English preparatory school, I had decided that my career had to do something with English. For this, I will be eternally be thankful to my beloved teachers Sevbil Kıyan and Özlem Erkan İleri, two great, compassionate minds showing me that being a teacher is beyond simply teaching. Having decided to learn more about English language and literature, I got into the department of American Culture and Literature at Hacettepe University in 2008. A degree from Hacettepe is one of the things in my life that I never regret to have had. The monument at the entrance of Beytepe Campus made me question the nature of things, and I kept like that during my undergraduate education of four years. My master’s degree process is a whole different adventure full of misery, terror, intricacy, and frustration, with the details of which I am not going to bother here, but I completed it at Bilkent University in the department of Curriculum and Instruction. Right now, I am taking some PhD courses as a special student, and if the circumstances allow and the physical isolation regulations soften, I would like to enrol in a PhD programme in the beginning of the 2020-2021 Academic Year
As a teacher of English as a Foreign Language, on the other hand, I started my career in November 2012, right after 4 months after my graduation, as a part-time Instructor of English at Ankara University, School of Foreign Languages. When I first started teaching English, to be honest, I did not have in mind that I was executing a job that I had been planning for long. I started teaching simply because I needed money and language is an area that makes it easy to make a living. What is worse, I was a literature graduate although I later discovered that it was an asset that could be easily turned into an advantage. Much of what I carried out in the classroom came from what I could recall from the attitudes of my English teachers whom I admired a lot and the in-service training activities I had to attend as part of the induction programme.
“It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever," he said. "Have you thought of going into teaching?”
― Terry Pratchett, Mort
However, the moment I entered the classroom and closed the door, the teacher buried deep inside me captured my soul, and that was the moment I decided I loved teaching English. At the beginning of the following Academic year, I had to leave my part-time position due to financial reasons again, and I started as an English teacher at Özel Gölbaşı Amerikan Kültür Foreign Language School. This position literally remoulded me in terms of teaching resources, classroom management, addressing different learner needs, coursebook exploitation, and learner satisfaction. Though the workload was challenging, and the learner profile was difficult, the year I worked there as a teacher taught me a lot of lessons that I could utilize in different phases of my career. The next stop for me was Atılım University, English Preparatory School, and I stayed in that position for nearly 2,5 years. This is where I have learnt what being an English teacher actually means as the period coincides with my Pedagogical Formation, DELTA, and MA endeavours. I also had the chance to share unforgettable moments with awesome colleagues, some of whom will remain as close friends forever.
“People are more likely to remember the great social interaction they had with a colleague than the great meeting they both attended.”
― Ron Garan, The Orbital Perspective: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles
Now, I have been working at Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University, School of Foreign Languages for over 3 years, and nearly 2 years of this experience has been in the Professional Development Unit among awesome teacher trainer colleagues. I have started to direct my energy and qualifications towards a different direction, which is in-service teacher training and continuous professional development. However, I deep down feel that my passion and enthusiasm to teach will never fade or change, and I will always remain a teacher whatever position I get to during my career.
Finally, as a novice teacher trainer in in my professional growth identity, I should remark without hesitation that DELTA certificate, though one of the biggest challenges in my career, has paved the path for me to this position. Especially Module 2 was the first time we I had a chance to analyse English as a subject matter and dive into the details of language teaching pedagogy. It was also how I was introduces to the miraculous concept of “reflective teaching” that has shown me that I am the best person that can evaluate my own teaching; the message which I try to share with my colleagues after every classroom observation I carry out as part of my institutional responsibilities. It was not until I took my trainer education certificate from the SLTEP programme by Sabancı University, School of Languages, that I had grasped the true merits of being involved in in-service teacher training and adult education. I have got to know wonderful tutors and peers in the two-week programme, and I will never ever forget the kindness shown, wisdom taught, and happiness shared throughout the training. Currently, I have been acting as the coordinator of the Professional Development Unit, and I must say I am far away from becoming, and trying to enjoy every bit of this satisfying journey.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
― Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening