Teaching teaching career . Upon graduation from university

Teaching Journey

 

The more we delve into the deepest
parts of ourselves , the more we cultivate an understanding of ourselves , of
who we are , and  where we are heading .
Back in 1998 , I graduated from university , and I was certain that teaching
was for me . At that time I was very passionate about discovering the world of
teaching and learning . My main aim as a teacher was to make a positive
permanent impact on each  student and   that has become a staple  part of  my teaching career . Upon graduation from  university , I  thought  that the education phase of my life was done .
Likewise when I first reached the first mountain summit I was pleased as punch
that I finally did it , However , the momentary enchantment turned into
disappointment because there were many other mountains . Climbing one was
not  a real feather in my cup .  By the same token becoming a  novice teacher  after spending 
three months preparing for the ‘CAPES’ examination was not as easy as I
thought . The first few days were stressful  
and frustrating . My first contact with teaching caused anxiety and
trepidation . The excitement of starting teaching was mixed  with apprehension.  At that time I had little prior teaching
experience , I remember that I taught in a private school for few weeks  but I finally run away without even being paid
.  But as
the old  adage says  “What doesn’t break you , only makes you
stronger. “Day after  day ,  my own perception of teaching and learning  kept changing   . The
myth  of a “magic formula”   that
I  thought experienced teachers have was
finally debunked .I  soon changed my
tune  when I came to realize that
learning is central and that teaching is subordinate to and in service of  the learning goal . I started to distinguish
between what I think I am teaching and what students are actually learning .  From that point my journey into the realms of
lifelong learning has  kick-started and I
soon swung into action .

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 The first year was a stepping stone in my
career .  After getting tenure , I felt I
became an agent of change and I 
realized  that as Ghandi once said
” I must be the change I want to see in the world .’ From that particular
feeling , my teaching career was on  an
upward trajectory . I must admit that I was in good and safe hands with a great
and assiduous inspector who instilled in me 
love of the profession. With an inspector  of high caliber , teaching  became 
a passion ,  He  kept  reiterating  ” do not let mediocrity sneak into your work
, be professional ” . With this in mind ,  I started finding my own path  through a process of trial and error  , and  I
gained valuable skills and knowledge but they were not enough .  Convinced that “The longer I live, the more I
read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I
seem to know.” As ? John Adams wrote in  The
Letters of John and Abigail Adams  , I went forward and I found that there
are  always  new  things to learn . The greatest lesson that I
have learned is that I still have a lot to learn . Learning is a never ending
process .The more I  know about the field
of education , the deeper  I  can plunge into it .Replenishing my  library of knowledge with new tools and skills
helped me  make connections that  I  would never have otherwise perceived . The
more I  learn  , the more I realize I am  thirsty for knowledge . This thirst for
knowledge became a staple in my professional life . Throughout my career , my
journey as a learner has taken several different paths,  and I have worn many hats in the process . The
first three  years were the foundation
stone that led to more upcoming developments .

The second milestone
in my teaching career was when I went abroad to teach in Sultanate of Oman .
That experience paid off over  the long
run .For about three years , I immersed myself in different cultures , and I
developed a greater   tolerance of
contrary points of view , customs and ways of life . I grasped most of the
opportunities there to attend seminars and training sessions held by   The
British Council  Sultanate of Oman  . Upon my return to Tunisia, I spent one year
in  the school where I started teaching  , then my inspector called me asking for my
consent to teach at “Lycee Pilote Le Kef ” , I answered with a resounding yes .
When I started my learning journey again my heart beamed with pleasure  because I found myself working with motivated,
and energetic students . By the same token ,  my students’ zest for learning gave me a new
lease of life . Their positive attitude towards the English language   which coupled
with their readiness   to learn  was contagious . I wholeheartedly threw myself
 into investing in their potential . I made
use of a wide range of strategies , techniques and equipment  . I encouraged my students to write diaries ,
keep  portfolios , write poems and
stories . I brought multimedia in my class 
including songs , videos and the like . I incorporated theatre , humour
,  tongue twisters and proverbs in my
classes.  Nonetheless ,  I must admit that at times things felt messy .

Convinced that the
biggest enemy of success is an attitude of “that’s good enough ” , I encouraged
my students to dream big , take risks , and reach further than they thought they
could .The same motto applied to me , I operated at an exponentially higher
level to do better and become successful in my endeavours . I was convinced
that the right mindset , attitude and skill will eventually pay off . My
confidence in myself grew and I started 
doubling my effort and  aiming
higher  .

In his
book The Only Difference Between Success and Failure  (2011)
, Grant Cardone provides an awesome blueprint for how one  can rise above the status quo to take massive
action instead of behaving in an ordinary way , and settling for average
results .When we dream and think small , we get unsatisfactory results and we
fell short of our expectations and our potential . This feeling of restlessness
preyed on my mind and I eventually found myself wearing several other hats such
as an ICT trainer , international coordinator and ambassador , and last but not
least a teacher trainer .

In 2010 ,  my
inspector suggested that I take charge of  workshops and training sessions  on language laboratories . I unhesitatingly
agreed  to   and rise
to  the challenge .

As the Latin proverb says “by learning  you will teach , and by teaching you will
learn “, I became increasingly interested in technology and ways to use it in
language learning . Basically , This experience has given me a new
framework  to start many changes in my
class , and I felt more confident about integrating ICT in my classroom  . I also tried to harness the power of
technology to improve my students’ learning . I made use of different programs
such as  Hotpotatoes , JCick  , movie maker , didapages ,and photo story . Additionally , technology helped me and my students connect
with educators and students from other parts of the world via video
conferencing , and that literally made me learn new things and embrace more
challenges .

In 2011, I became an ambassador and  international coordinator in the schools
online connecting classroom project , which is a global  education programme managed  by British Council in partnership with the
ministry of education . It offers a free and safe learning environment by
developing networking , and sharing ideas and projects with thousands of
teachers across the globe in the hope of improving classroom practices , and
helping students develop the knowledge , skills and values to live and work
harmoniously with others .By the end of this project  , I prepared a 130 -page portfolio
encompassing most of the joint projects and the visits in Tunisia and in
England , and I  applied for the
Accreditation level of the International
School Award ( ISA ) . I was overjoyed when I won The ISA award and I was
offered an 8 day- visit to 3 schools in Haringey , London .

In 2013,  my
inspector  suggested that  I take charge of  teacher training in return for a reduced
timetable . I did not sit on the fence any longer,  and I decided to go for it . Among many other
workshops and training sessions that I prepared 
jointly with  my inspector , I
recorded a lesson with year 4 secondary education , and we sent a copy  to Mr. Rashid Najar  ,  and
also  another copy to the ministry of
education .

Another milestone in my teaching career was in 2014 , when
I sat the TOEFL test at Amideast , and I was selected along with 11 other
teachers to attend a 120- hour intensive 
course provided by SIT graduate Institute In Washington D.C.

By the end of the 40- day course I prepared a portfolio documenting
all my work during that  course . I was
awarded a Professional Certificate Of English Language Teaching ( PCELT ) from
SIT Graduate Institute .

It is crystal clear that success breeds success . In a fixed mindset, you come to believe that your skills,
traits, and talents are fixed. What you know is unchanging, and therefore, you
cannot possibly learn anything new,  and
when you surround yourself with negative people 
you will end up believing that you are good for nothing . Interestingly  enough  ,  in a growth mindset   you
believe that challenges and learning are opportunities, and that failure is an opportunity for growth. Rather
than seeking out evidence that proves we are not smart, when we  are with a growth mindset  we  focus
 more on process and progress, searching
out opportunities to stretch our  existing abilities.

It is gratifying that I have worked with  positive 
and successful people including my inspector  to whom I owe a great deal . Throughout my
career  , I tried to avoid negative
people because I found that they can pull you into their chaos , disrupting
your focus and sidelining your goals .

Over
the course of our careers we may at times encounter difficult moments and this
is exactly what happened to me by the end of 2014. At that time I felt that I
stagnated and it dawned on me that I was stuck in a career rut . Truthfully , I
felt restless and unmotivated . From the outside , it might have looked that I
was fine , however, inside , I felt incredibly frustrated , confused and
aimless , I even experienced teacher burnout because I have given my all , and
I felt powerless because my sphere of influence was limited to my classroom . Inspection
examination picked my interest  , and my  inspector again was encouraging and supportive
as usual , and he managed to put me back on  track .He suggested that I sit the inspection
examination,  and I finally did it after
I failed the first one . And here I am starting afresh  trying to break the mould to effect change in
the actions , beliefs and choices of teachers and by extension their students .
I am not  in this mission for the sake of
self aggrandizement , I am here to be an agent of change , and to start the
change that I want to see in every classroom . I