During my professional life I have always thought that keeping records of my students’ problems and difficulties when learning English was an important part of my job as a teacher. Having this information has helped me to adapt, and/or change some language features from the course syllabus to help my students overcome those problems and learn better. It is true that even when I have taught classes from the same level I have faced different problems in each class. Knowing in advance that they may face some of these problems keep me prepared to give more explanations, more examples and solve them together.
Meetings with my colleagues that are teaching the same classes are frequent in our department. In these meetings, we talk about our students’ needs, their expectations from the course, and the problems our students have had in previous semesters and together we develop new strategies, techniques, and activities that all of us can implement in our classes. At the end of each semester, we meet again and discuss which strategies worked best in what situations and give each other feedback. In my opinion this is an important responsibility of the teachers; by sharing experiences all of us benefit from each other ideas and ways of teaching. We also unify the courses by providing students with the same opportunities to learn.
I consider that it is very important for all professionals in general and for language teachers in particular to keep up-dated in the current research, tendencies in teaching, assessment, and so on. In order to do that it is crucial to attend all the conferences available. However, this is not always possible in my personal case, for several different reasons: University’s and personal budgets, time, family, bureaucracy, etc. For all these reasons, I will try to keep attending the ones I consider I would get the most benefit from such as the TESOL conference and the AAAL. I am also interested in renewing my membership to TESOL and becoming a member of other language associations such as AAAL and ESP because those are the areas I would like to continue developing professionally.
There are some academic projects waiting to develop in the university I work for in Mexico, and I would like to take part in a few of them. In order to do that I need to keep learning as much as I can about different subjects like ESP, EAP and EOP which are the most important areas of Applied Linguistics for the university’s goals nowadays. In his academic project for the Universidad de Sonora the President is planning to include English in all the careers offered in the university parallel to the classes included in their curriculums, which imply that the Foreign Languages Department will grow very quickly, and more prepared teachers will be needed. In the second part of the university’s development plan, the President mentioned that some careers will need to implement ESP classes, and in order to achieve this goal he will need professionals in the field who can help him accomplish this objective; I will be part of that project. This means that I will be teaching 3 classes a day and the rest of the time I will be designing and developing ESP courses for the careers at the university. I am really excited about being part of this project. I consider it would help me develop professionally and I can apply the knowledge I am acquiring in the M.A. program.