Hi, everyone. Let’s do a quick grammar activity before you begin reading my blog post. Please answer the questions below. I will provide an example of each for you.
1) Give an example of the present perfect tense in a sentence about your professional life.
- I have taught ESOL to children and adults.
2) Give an example of the past perfect tense in a sentence about your professional life.
- Before I taught ESOL, I had earned a CELTA.
3) Give an example of the future perfect tense in a sentence about your professional life.
- By the time I retire, I will have ________.
Okay, okay – I know I said I’d give an example of each but the truth is I have no idea what past participles I might use to complete my future perfect sentence. Could it be:
- published a book on my experiences as an English Language Teacher?
- developed content for a famous publishing company?
- gone back to school for a PhD in TESOL?
- became a prestigious university professor?
- lived in at least 5 different countries around the world?
My list could go on for pages and pages, but you get the idea. In fact, I can almost guarantee that you are in the same boat as me. You’ve completed at least a small handful of accomplishments within the TESOL field and you’re unsure where the road ahead may lead you. How do I know this? Well, if you are somewhere between beginning your first teaching job and retirement, you’re right there with me. Am I right?
I can just imagine us, me and you. We are two Xs on that good old grammar timeline that we love to draw on the whiteboard for our students: right above the word “now.” We are experts at what’s to the left of us, but we have no idea what’s to the right of us.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could just walk into a crowded room filled with experienced TESOL professionals and pick their brains with all our questions about our current classes and future ambitions? Imagine hundreds of teachers, professors, writers, publishers, and world travellers – all just sitting there in this magical staff room, waiting for you to ask them something. Eager to speak with you, to give you guidance, to share their experiences with you.
Wouldn’t it also be nice if, in that same room, people just starting off in the ESOL field were seeking out your professional input and advice? As a teacher, I know you love helping others. What if you could change another teacher’s life simply by sharing a few teaching resources, words of advice, or stories that got you to where you are today?
One night, my son woke me up at 3 AM and I couldn’t fall back to sleep. The idea of this crowded, helpful, magical international ESOL staff room crept into my brain and I couldn’t shake it. I then proceeded to do what I normally do at 3 AM when I can’t sleep: I checked my Facebook. By 5 AM, I made the decision to materialize my idea in the form of a Facebook group. By 6 AM I had drafted the group’s guidelines, and by 7 AM, my son woke up and I got him a bottle.
My good friend and former teaching colleague, Shaza Mahmood, agreed to help me manage the group – and the rest, as they say, is history. After just about two month of the group’s existence and 2500+ new members joining us from all over the world, I have to say I am quite pleased with the outcome of the group so far.
No matter where your X is on that good old grammar timeline, I know you’ll enjoy this group. You can pick the brains of all sorts of ELT professionals and at the same time, help out those with goals similar to what you’ve already achieved. You can share teaching resources and ideas, and make connections with people all over the world. You can share your past and present perfect sentences and get one step closer to discovering the past participle of your future perfect sentence.
We welcome all ESOL teachers (and those in a related field) with open arms and hope to see you in the group.
Jen’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jenbrummerESOL
Shaza’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/shazamahmoodESOL
Jen Brummer is an American ESOL teacher who has taught English in Japan, Kenya, England, the USA, and online through the wonderful world of Skype. She really appreciates the power of social media for connecting with other teachers for support and learning. She is the founder and co-administrator of the Facebook group ESOL Teachers Worldwide.