Sevim Açıkgöz is from Istanbul Bilgi University’s English Language Teaching Department. She currently lives and works in Istanbul,Turkey. She is passionate about using technology in the classroom, social media in education, innovation in education and having a personal learning network. . She believes that sharing and learning is the key to professional development. She is also a great cook, conference lover, and a sea, sand, and sun supporter
What are you passionate about Sevim?
First, I want to talk about myself as a person. I give importance to punctuality so I really dislike waiting for someone for a long time. Also, I’m a very tidy person and I do not like any mess around me. As a teacher, I’m very patient but what drives me mad is that I do not like strict procedures that can kill students’ creativity. Schools and teachers must work together and support creativity and critical thinking.
I’m also passionate about technology and social media. I also cannot think of a life without Facebook and Twitter and my personal learning network. I feel that I’m a lifelong learner I want to be a lifelong learner forever.
How and why did you become a teacher?
Why did I become a teacher? I have always wanted to be an English teacher. I always loved sharing my ideas and my knowledge with others. I always wanted to work with a lot of people around me and wanted to give them something very special. Later, I understood that knowledge is something very priceless that you can give someone. Sharing is what keeps me alive! Now, I feel very lucky that I’m doing what I love very much. This is an also an answer about how I became a teacher 🙂
What are you most interested in right now?
I’m very interested in conferences. It is great to learn from great educators and share your ideas with them and enjoy yourself at the same time. I have also organized a conference: The Third International ELT Students Conference. Now I’m on my way to organize another one for next year. I’m also thinking of organizing seminars at my university. There are some other projects I’m involved in, too, such as an ELT theater club, and a website that will be useful for ELT teachers and students. I hope every little thing that is done by ELT educators will have a huge impact on our students and us as well. I also hope that every educator will be a lifelong learner and build his or her own personal learning network.
What things do you do to help you get better at being a teacher, Sevim?
I’m a technology addict. Social media is a must for me. I’m on Facebook and Twitter for a long time every day. I use Social Media to share my ideas and learn from others by sharing links, and talking about some important issues in ELTeducation. I have a personal learning network and this is what helps me develop professionally. I’m always ready to take good chances so I attend conferences in order to learn and then put into practice what I learned. I’m also a student who is very eager to learn and share with others. I always believe that learning never ends! I also read teacher- training books (not so much so far, but really trying to do it very much). I also plan to take a Celta course and other teacher training courses that can help me develop professionally. I try to follow the current news in my area and I try to be a good member of the virtual community in the ELT village 🙂
What’s the biggest challenge you face as a teacher?
As I mentioned, I think the biggest challenge for me is dealing with rules and procedures that force teachers and students to do something that the procedures require instead of what’s best. Teachers must be creative, and yes of course , there have to be procedures, but these musn’t limit the teachers’ creativity. It’s our job to to get students to be creative and think in a critical way.
In the classroom, I think one challenge for me involves having to repeat the same lesson with other groups of students. Every lesson must provide new opportunities for students and that means making sure that learning take place, thinking is done, and students have the change to put into practice what they’ve learned. Classroom management is another issue that has to be mentioned if we are speaking of challenges 🙂 No matter how good you are, classroom management skills are a must and this is what I call my biggest challenge.
What advice would you give to a teacher just starting out on a journey of professional development?
A teacher is a life long student. She must know that she lives in a digital age and that students are already digital people and that it’s been like this for years. She must keep up with the times and she must have a personal learning network. She must share, learn, and exchange ideas with her colleagues. She should take online courses, face-to-face teacher training courses, and should be a member of some associations such as IATEFL and TESOL. She should attend conferences where she take lots of notes and then compares them with others. She can share her ideas by sending proposals to give presentations at conferences like the IATEFL conference or the Istek conference in Turkey. She can read lots of teacher training books and she can even write a book for teachers! But I believe that the most important one and the biggest step that a teacher must do is to build a personal learning network.
Sevim, is there any blog or online link you’d like to recommend?
I’m a big fan of Burcu Akyol. She is my idol, so the first recommendation I would like to make is Burcu’s blog. http://burcuakyol.com/
What’s your favorite quotation about being a teacher?
I’m a teacher. I touch the future!