What I’ve learned and am still learning (by Ratnavathy Ragunathan)

Note from Barb: If you’ve been over to the iTDi blog this week, you’ll know that the theme is What I’ve learned in 2012. I was thrilled when Ratna suggested a post on the same topic for Teaching Village since our Villagers are always learning from each other. I think a lot of you will be able to relate to the lessons learned by Ratna this year, and by Scott, John, Yitzha, Ann, Divya, and Chuck (in their iTDi posts). I know I did! 

What have I learned……

…….and am still learning, I must say. My oh my, what a “box-of-chocolates” this year’s been for me! Full of surprises and beyond what I would’ve possibly envisioned. 2012 has, indeed, been so productive that I count my blessings everyday for each moment and opportunity that’s knocked on my door. And this gently nudges me back to the question : so, what have I learned from The Wise Master 2012?


(image courtesy of gooddisruptivechange.com)

Or rather, been reminded that C.H.A.N.G.E is, inevitably, the only constant in my life. I left my teaching career back home and landed in South Korea – no job, no contacts, literally the land of the unknown. It was rather intimidating at first especially for someone who’s held a stable job and whose trips abroad were solely for vacations. But I embraced this change wholeheartedly and realized that when one ventures into the unknown the experience can be momentously enriching. I grew to believe that every change is an experiential learning process; most importantly, change holds an underlying reason.

media icons

(image courtesy of alancockerill.com)

Which then led me into learning….

that there really are no coincidences in life. Do you believe in destiny? I do. I believe that my move was a best laid plan —  destined for me to reevaluate myself as an educator beyond the confinement of my physical workplace. I learned that professional development wasn’t merely referring to lesson observations, workshop discussions and yearly appraisals. I discovered the power of social media and how closely-connected we are in the teaching world; how much we inspire and be inspired by one another. And then there’s the remarkable world of ELT blogging where great teaching ideas may just be a blog away!

comfort zone

(image courtesy of letsgraph.com)

And all this learning…..

has taught me to break free from my comfort zone and move beyond my self-imposed limitations of how I can grow professionally. As James Taylor put it, “Just say yes to yourself when you can’t do it, but doing it anyway”. The key to any effort is consistency; the more consistent I am, the better my professional development is. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, was it?

And with that…..

I’d like to end with no particular “ELT-philosophy”; just loads of warm radiance and wishing that the stars of health, prosperity and happiness shines down upon your 2013 journey. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Friends! 🙂

Note: This article by Ratnavathy Ragunathan originally appeared as a guest post on Teaching Village and is licensed under a Creative Commons, Attribution-Non Commercial, No Derivatives 3.0 License. If you wish to share it you must re-publish it “as is”, and retain any credits, acknowledgements, and hyperlinks within it.

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7 Responses

  1. Barbara says:

    Thank you, Ratna, for this perfect message to close out 2012! It seems that the number of new experiences, and new things to learn increase each year (or maybe that’s just my impression).

    I think I agree with you about destiny. I know that when I was younger, I never could have imagined the directions my life would take me. And yet, when I look back, I can see that each step was perfect and necessary for me to be where I am now!

    I know readers are all busy with year end preparations, but I hope some will leave a not about the lessons they’ve learned in comments. I’m looking forward to reading them, too!

    • Ratna says:

      Dear Barbara,

      Thanks so much for the opportunity to do a write-up here. This year’s been such an eye-opening year for me, which I’d never have seen without leaving Malaysia. Wonderful opportunities!

      Have a wonderful new year Barb, and merry christmas to you:)


  2. Rose Bard says:

    Tks so much Ratna and Barbara for this wonderful post.

    Great lessons we can learn from your experience Ratna. I’ll keep especially in mind that the key to any effort is consistency. Something I ought to do next year.

    All the best to both of you in 2013.

    Warm hugs from Brazil

    • Ratna says:

      Dear Rose,

      Thank you so much for leaving a comment here, I still do keep reminding myself about being consistent in whatever that I’m doing:). So glad that you enjoyed the read!

      Have a wonderful new year, dear Rose!

      Hugz from Korea,

  3. frances says:

    Ratna, you are a gifted teacher and gifted writer. Malaysia has lost a wonderful teacher when you moved to Korea. I worked in Malaysia for three years in the native speaker program. I never came across a teacher there that thinks like you. I know that if you ever decide to return to Malaysia they would do very well to have you mentor in the native speaker program – you operate at that level or even higher.


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