Today is the second anniversary of the TEFL in Colombia blog. I launched this website when I was stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic and quite a lot has happened since that day. If you are thinking of becoming a blogger, I recommend that you give it a go. Blogging pushes me to keep developing as a teacher and helps me to stay focused on my goal of having a long-term career in ELT. I know that Colombia isn’t the most popular location for that, but I’m doing all I can to make it work here.
Anyway, I think this is a nice opportunity to take a look at my blog posts that have received the highest number of views so far:
1) Review: Learn English with Ricky Gervais
I think Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington’s English lesson is one of the most hilarious videos on YouTube, so I thought that analysing the ‘methods’ they used would be a good idea for a blog post. This is by far the most visited article on this website because Ricky Gervais liked it on Twitter and my blog suddenly received a couple of thousand visitors thanks to that. I wonder what his fans thought of my references to books written by Larsen-Freeman, Harmer, and others. Some readers even thought that it was meant to be a serious analysis, which made everything funnier. I think that humour has its place in ELT; in fact, I would love to watch a TV series based on locking Karl Pilkington and Scott Thornbury in a room and asking them to talk about teaching!
2) The Delta series (FAQ, M1, M2, M3, LSA)
This blog isn’t just about my experience in Colombia, but it also focuses on my professional development journey. I fell in love with teaching when I did my CELTA, and at that moment I knew that I’d try to get a Delta as well. These five articles get a lot of visitors through search engines, which shows that teachers try to do their research about the diploma. I’m always happy when I receive messages from Delta candidates telling me that they have found the posts useful; I just think that it’s important to explore other resources as well because there are more ways to approach the Delta and teachers may benefit from choosing one that is different from what I described in my posts.
3) The importance of going beyond CELTA
I believe that CELTA is the best choice for those who would like to get into TEFL. Taking this course (or CertTESOL) is a much better option than those generic online certificates that don’t include any observed teaching practice. That said, it has to be emphasised that CELTA is just a foundation-level qualification and teachers need to keep developing even after obtaining the certificate, so I decided to write a blog post on some of its shortcomings. I think it’s important to provide balanced views, so it was nice to see that this critical post is one of the most popular ones.
In addition, there are a few posts that may not have performed that well in terms of views, but I really like them for various reasons. You are also welcome to check out some of the older posts on the blog to see if you find something interesting.
• No Spanish in the classroom?
Many teachers around the world are expected to use only English in the classroom. I understand why schools promote that idea, but there are actually some pretty good reasons for using the learners’ L1 in a principled way. The blog post received positive reactions, including a lovely message from Vivian Cook, whose article inspired me to write the text, which made me very happy because I really appreciate authors who challenge common practices in ELT. Sadly, Professor Cook passed away last year. His work was very thought-provoking; he argued against native speakerism in 1990s and came up with the concept of multi-competence, and I highly recommend reading his academic papers and books.
• My four-year experience with Centro Colombo Americano
This is probably the most personal post on this blog, which provides a summary of my time as a teacher at a language institute in Colombia. It describes what I have gained from that experience and why I had to leave for the sake of my career in TEFL. Nine months after making the decision to become an independent contractor, I can safely say that I did the right thing. The combination of working for International House and developing my own private projects suits me perfectly. I haven’t had much time to update the blog due to my workload, but focusing on achieving my goals in this profession is my priority at the moment.
• The best of LinkedIn
I have met a lot of amazing people thanks to social media. However, there is a certain group of people who enjoy sending other users bizarre private messages on LinkedIn. I accept connection requests virtually from anyone involved in education, so I receive a lot of spam or some strange requests from people who don’t even bother to read my profile. I think the best way of dealing with nonsense is to laugh at it, and I decided to publish some of those messages on my blog. There may even be a sequel if I manage to collect enough weird stuff for another post!