2018: A Review

20171011_1616522143287734.jpgI’m writing this in snatched time while I’m walking to the supermarket. To be honest this year hasn’t been one of the best years for me, particularly my mental health. However, I managed to find the Holy Grail of a full-time job to start in 2019 though it has made me a lot more aware of the precarious nature of English language teaching more of which later.

What happened in 2018? An awful lot of job-hunting. I finished my Master’s degree in 2017 and got the certificate through in late December,  and I thought it would be best to see if I could find work that required the Masters qualification and offered career progression. I had already been doing different part-time work at two universities and a junior high and high school. In April I got part-time work at a better-paying university two days a week instead of the junior high and high school. This was interesting in that there was an awful lot of planning involved because I had six different courses to teach. I also have very nice colleagues (and this is a theme in all my university work. The people are lovely!) I’m not complaining too much but when you are trying to make up hours with various different jobs to assemble a full-time work portfolio it does take quite a lot of time.

Anyway, I wrote about precarious employment on the blog (1, 2, 3), on Twitter and also on Mastodon and also about job-hunting. I was moaning vaguely why would anybody offer two lectures in one day per week when really this prohibits anybody from mixing it with something else before or after lunch in general cases especially if the work is a place that’s quite far away from any other universities or schools.

Still, it could be worse: I could be teaching in Ireland and made redundant at a moment’s notice with no pay and wages withheld, like the Grafton College teachers.

Basically, since the summer I was trying to find a full-time job. Now I have one to start soon. It’s brilliant.

Moving on to some of the other completely positive things from this year. I moved forward with the gamebased ideas, particularly producing board games as class projects and also my communicative role-playing games which I addressed in the Here be (Dungeons and) Dragons series of posts. I’ve been tweaking those quite a lot and I’m getting a lot happier with them and I think in 2019 I should be refining this bit more. I might see the final iteration and look towards making them available to buy as modules.

I did my first ever internet presentation with IATEFL TD SIG. The slides are here, and it was a pleasure to be managed and stuff by the wonderful Matthew Noble. It was well received despite being me saying, “you should just do what you like”.

I also did some presenting at ExcitELT Tokyo (caution, links to Twitter) and made coffee there. It was great and I finally met Lina and also met fellow North East Englander in Japan, Peter Brereton. Meeting people is fun and good in general, and I also got to see Anne, Anna, Mike, Tim and presumably I have forgotten people because I am a bad person I have ADHD, more below. I also got to meet @MKeighley (caution, links to Twitter) for the first time at my new (for this year) part-time job, as well as Marcos Benevides, whose stuff I have liked since finding out about Widgets (which has a revamped version out).

Additionally, I started work with SLB Coop. This has mainly been corpus building and materials writing but I shall also be contributing to the upcoming TBLT course.

I also started a Masters in Research. Ostensibly this was to get library access for a year or two while I attempt to cobble together at PhD by publication. It’s something I’m really interested in doing just for the sake of it. It’s also another piece of paper so builds my chances of tenured employment and hopefully in the future getting to teach how to teach listening to people who are going to be English teachers of the future.

As I mentioned above, I have ADHD (caution, links to Tumblr). This is the year I ‘came out’ about it and I also got medication prescribed so I can now sit and finish marking in one sitting rather than seven sittings punctuated by three cups of tea cutting up each one.

Anyway, I’m rambling, as usual, so enjoy the last of the mince pies and let’s wish and fight for the end of precarity in ELT in 2019.

8 Replies to “2018: A Review”

  1. What a full year. Congratulations on all your accomplishments, and especially your new job. Hooray for full-time work! Congratulations also on your bravery in being open about ADHD and helping the rest of us understand what it does and doesn’t mean for you. You make a positive contribution to the world through so many of the things you do. All the best in 2019. I hope I get to see more of you.

  2. Hi Marc,

    I’m very happy for you re the full-time job! I second Anne’s comment on how you’re dealing with ADHD and hope things are easier now with medication. I’m very interested in hearing more about the TBLT course, both in terms of content and course design. Hoping you might blog about it a bit (but not enough to give everything away, of course.)

    Thank you for always being supportive and contributing so much to the online ELT community!

  3. Hi Marc,
    Thanks for sharing your review of the year. Your descriptions of task-based learning/teaching and what it’s like to live with ADHD have both been very useful.
    Congratulations on the job, and good luck in 2019!

    1. Thanks a lot Sandy. I’m glad if anything I have written is helpful, for the TBLT and the ADHD. Mostly I write what I wish I had known when first approaching the subject. TBLT has loads of expensive-to-access stuff written about it which is high quality, and a lot of accessible fluff and it isn’t easy to tell one from the other. And the problems with ADHD writings could be a whole blog of its own. I suppose writing by ADHD people would be hard because it would never get finished in so many cases.
      Cheers for the comment and congratulations. I hope you have a lovely 2019 and all!

  4. Hi Marc, I came across your blog via Pete Brereton’s Twitter feed (I stopped using Twitter for a long time, but have recently started again – only really following ELT people these days as the other stuff is just too depressing). It’s great to hear that you have found full time work; congratulations!
    The DipTESOL feels like a very long time ago now. I can’t say I miss those Sunday afternoons cooped up in the Shane building in Iidabashi, but I do miss the conversations with you and the other guys on the course.
    Anyway, glad to hear you’re doing well. Take care.

    1. Hiya Mark. Hope all is good.
      The DipTESOL was ages ago. It ended about 4 years ago, which seems bizarre because my MA started during the end of the Dip practical and my MA feels like yesterday.

      Hope things are grand with you and apologies for the late reply. I had tons on yesterday.

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