Vocational Qualifications: or finding one’s own Voice

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As teachers who perpetually vie for fulfilling the optimum outcome for a multitude of profoundly different personalities, the practice years that elapse might already have dissolved the fallacious expectation of the perfectly skilled, fully competent image of teacher that could address what the future might withhold.


By Marina Siskos


Within the TEFL community the unfolding possibilities for furthering or acquiring appropriate mastery and learning are limitless. TEFL is flourishing in novelty: Thereby, many teachers decide to enter the realm of Teaching English for Academic Purposes, whereas others are intent on teaching Young Learners and are directed towards nursery and kindergarten English, another part is absorbed in the promising, budding field of English to learners with special educational needs. Some teachers nurture proclivities and confer to the English Teaching field via their digital skills and expertise.


The dark side of this multi-layered field of TEFL might be that it is beyond the human potential to master the full range of objectives. The positive side of this reality is the same: it nudges towards the enactment of the necessary steps that will release one’s valuable skills. Teachers are in liberty to specialize in the field of their innermost desire.


How does one safeguard the appropriate choice?

A safe way to examine whether the selected vocation is befitting for an individual might be to trust the individual responses and mechanisms in certain circumstances. In practical terms, do late nights of grading, curriculum and plan preparation strain one’s mind and body to the point of lamentation and dysfunction? Depending on one’s intuitive response, one is already provided with nuances of vocation appropriateness or mismatch between vocation and profession.


In the above case, the professional might consider whether it would feel more natural to belong in and teach Young Learners, a student group that normally does not require essay grading neither thorough planning of term curricula. However Young Learners are meant to and expected to be restless, volatile, inquisitive, challenging the teacher with the need for inexhaustive mental equipment with élan, energy and resourcefulness. 


Teacher exhaustion could breed friction in everyday functioning, intensive pressure and the anticipation for the nearest bank holiday-in the erroneous belief that a 24-hour abstaining could redeem from burnout-a cause in itself, rather than a consequence. In a rough observation, disproportionate exhaustion might indicate that we might not be pumping satisfaction out of our vocation.


A disclaimer might be appropriate on this point: the afore-described predisposition and feelings do not allude to the working conditions. Those are very significant and always key to productivity and bliss-not fundamental. Other than this, oftentimes working conditions are subject to our volition.


The element of patience is also interlaced to the factor of exhaustion.


Life-long learning and professional development means and activities

The practical aspect of the present article could be partially served by the citing of the article addressing the topic of “The influence of Teaching the Teachers”.

“Teaching and its consequential duties are dynamic in their nature.  As society evolves, the ecology of education is met with different needs and expectations”.


There exists a satisfactory range of means and methods for teachers’ life-long learning and development.



Print Media

Books: Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Pearson, Macmillan Education publications have released some indispensable books upon Second Language Acquisition and Applied Linguists, Educative Principles and Teaching Methodologies, theoretic material which is perpetually studied and referenced.


Providentially, every interested can find a variety of e-books, texts, insightful journals with papers via scrutinizing the respective sites of the established publishing houses.


ELT News magazine, the unique print medium for Greece and Cyprus and its online editions address current affairs of TEFL and has been hosting prescient content and conducting educative events. Thereby, it has attained to mould a common frame of reference and upgraded the domain for the TEFL professionals, counting 30 years on 2019.


Online Print Media:

The propagation of online print media has introduced several worthy contributions within everyone’s reach.


The EFL magazine, https://www.efl.magazine.com provides an intriguing assortment of content, alternative perspective, bringing together voices of TEFL professionals across the globe.


The Baan Dek Montessori, https://baandek.org/, is an online medium that specialises in discussing methods, approaches, principles and the implementation of the Montessori approach in modern education alongside with recommendations of their incorporation into the classroom.


In a similar Montessorian mentality, the Montessori Daoshi https://www.montessoridaoshi.com  is an internet blog that, although it majorly reaches out to the Montessori advocates, every teacher is entitled to delve into the Montessori approach.


The Montessori Approach has discovered that, via freedom of movement and respect to the Sensitive Periods of the child, the preparation of the environment and the child as the guide- the teacher is an acute observer in the Montessori classroom-the child is driven to authentic autonomy and can enjoy a healthy and happy adulthood.


If one is more interested in pure scientific discourse about the learning difficulties, the Attitude magazine, https://www.additude.com/  has clinical content and cases to offer. Free site subscription  provides with the opportunity to access in-depth articles, guides and e-textbooks, all written by professional and clinical educators, physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists and the opportunity to attend insightful, complimentary webinars that can also be watched upon convenient demand.


Valuable resources for further study and examination are also provided.


Educative Seminars, Conferences, Webinars

University faculties frequently organize and uphold advisory and awareness-raising events. The Department of English Language and Literature of the Aristotle University: https://www.auth.gr/ and the respective department of the National and Kapodistrian University : https://en.uoa.gr/ the department of Translation and Interpreting of the Ionian University: https://ionio.gr/en/ are actively present, channeling academia with the teaching professionals, offering the opportunity for life-long learning and also the chance towards the appropriate choice about  a prospective entrance to one of their MA programs.


The ELT News magazine conducts seminars, annual Forums and workshops that touch upon topics of TEFL and its pertinent facets:  the acquisition of administerial skills and the comprehension of entrepreneurship, teaching methodology techniques, student-teacher psychology, communication and conflict management, the employment of digital skills in the TEFL etc.


The IATEFL, the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language.


Interestingly, the Hellenic-American Union delivers examination-centered seminars and webinars, free of charge in a coordinated effort to corroborate HAU exams preparation procedure.


Apart from the steadily-held seminars and webinars regarding the exams, their philosophy, designing, grading procedure, upon visiting the HAU site : http://www.hau.gr. one could enroll to the seminars or webinars. Furthermore, a host of educative programs, tailored on differentiated time schedules, duration and content are also offered fee-paying.


In a similar fashion, Language Cert and the British Council in Greece hold seminars, webinars, live webinars that discuss topics regarding the examinations, their approach, procedure and more generic issues in teaching, learning, grading and assessing L2 learners.


The YouTube Channel of Cambridge Teaching English archives the recorded webinars and presentations so that the interested audience could watch them in their convenience: https://www.youtube.com/user/cambridgeenglishtv/featued  


Furthermore, a number of publishing houses organize interesting, quality presentations and events.


In reference to distant learning, the TEFL audience and readership is fortunate to be able to attend courses delivered by distinguished universities via the Edx platform: https://www.edx.org/, wherein one can decide and select among a spectrum of different fields and courses. Apart from this, people can access the experience of auditing courses in faculties from the Harvard, the MIT, Berkley, Queensland, and Boston University from the comfort of one’s home sofa.


A massive array of courses is accessed free of charge, but the option for charged coursed and the certificate obtaining is also provisioned.  


In a conclusive remark, it may be appropriate to spare some lines on the expected budget of vocational qualifications. Being a finely subjective issue, it is worth noting that quality education is often expensive. The opposite is not always accurate though: many people go on great expenses -literally- only to be offered higher education of mediocre essential value. Nonetheless, everybody could benefit from a generous array of free or financially tolerable programs for vocational reinforcement.


“We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity”.

- Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential 



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