Professional Goals for 2013 – Malu

Malu Sciamarelli

Before I Have Goals, I Dream

–Malu Sciamarelli

As another year begins, our thoughts turn to making resolutions, establishing new or returning to our old goals — either personal  (this year I will get more sleep, exercise more, have a healthier diet) or professional (I will work fewer hours, participate more in workshops and conferences, take up another course.)

All worthy goals, but why do we permanently return to resolutions and goals that seem based on the idea of fixing all the things we were doing wrong? We have the feeling we want to right all the annoying wrongs of our lives, but are not fully aware of why. Is the objective of our resolutions and goals to be merely a corrective action or do we really know where we are going and where we want to be? If we do not know our true desires for our professional lives for the year ahead, then we cannot know the goals we must set and more importantly why we really need them.

In running, for example, you have a weekly training plan dependent on your target races – your desires. You have to know these desires so you can establish your training and goals.  If you want to participate in a 10-kilometer race, you will need to train three times a week for four months. However, if you then want to master the half marathon, you will need to extend your training time and the distance covered during the week and — instead of four months  — train for six months and follow a specific diet.


If you desire an advanced certificate in teaching so that you can be eligible to join a faculty, then build your training plan of classes, practice tests and study hard. If your desire is to present at an international conference this year, then submit your ideas to all the local conferences and workshops, gain exposure and experience as a presenter because this could be your training plan and diet to follow. Dream your desires then plan the training and diet that you need to follow to attain your goals.

So, instead of trying to correct all the wrongs or wanting to do everything you did not do last year, why not take some time to figure out what your professional goals really are? This is exactly the period when I take my time to dream! While goals are about should, dreams are about hope. It is only when we dream that we can hope to do something truly new, that will overtake old habits, old customs, old ways of thinking and just surviving. The plan that is made turned on its head then revised again can lead to greater success. Also by dreaming, we can have a vision of who we are and who we want to become.  The more we know who we are, the less likely we are to procrastinate, and the closer we will come to accomplishing our goals.

If you have already started the year establishing some goals, they may give you some clues as to what your deeper dreams are. And when we take a moment to look at the why of a goal, we may find the true desire that fuels it.

Ask me what I am doing at this moment and the answer will be simple: dreaming! Dreaming of:

· Reading books, journal articles, and blog posts

· Writing articles, blog posts and materials

· My lessons, planning, peer observation

· Attending conferences, seminars, workshops, webinars, and teacher

development sessions.

· Giving a conference talk or delivering a teacher development session;

· My PLN (personal learning network) and their role in my professional life

· Communities of teachers, – how I am contributing and what I am learning

· Collaborative professional development

· Professional development courses — in-person and online.

After some days or a few weeks, I will be reflecting on my dreams, selecting the true ones and then the goals required to make them come true will become evident. And rather than procrastinating, or worse, forgetting my goals this year I may actually see them through: by dreaming, reflecting, identifying my goals, establishing the plans and training to accomplish them and finally making them come true.

What better time is there to determine our deepest desires for dreams and plant the seeds in the upheaval and renewal of our lives than at the beginning of this year?

Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dreams. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. — Lao Tzu




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Professional Goals for 2013 – Barb

Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto
Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto
Course Director
Always Moving Forward

 “If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

~Henry David Thoreau~

While I’m not too good at setting goals, I am pretty good at moving forward. That really is our only option, isn’t it? I also have a decent imagination, and I count myself lucky to be part of a great group of dreamers in iTDi. Our shared dream is a big one: Making excellent professional development affordable and accessible for every teacher in the world.

We imagine a world where teachers without a lot of money can have access to the same quality teacher training that more affluent teachers enjoy. A world where teachers don’t have to be fluent in English in order to enjoy professional development, in English. A world where teachers in even the most remote corners of the world can join a safe, nurturing international community filled with teachers helping each other to become better teachers.

It’s a big dream, and there are plenty of obstacles on the from from where we are now and where we want to be, but we are blessed with an absolutely amazing network of teachers around the world who also believe that all teachers deserve respect and a chance to become better, regardless of teaching context, language ability, or prior training.

So, what will I be doing to move forward this year?

Writing a new course

iTDi is ready to add a new course to its roster of online offerings. So far, we have Teacher Development, for teachers who want to improve their classroom skills; and English for Teachers, for teachers who want to improve their English skills while talking about teaching. Our new course will be for teachers working with young learners. The course is still very early in development, but it’s exciting to see it come together. My co-authors, Catherine Littlehale Oki and Lesley Koustaff, are experienced YL teachers, teacher trainers, and writers. Eric Kane, our production manager, is the wizard behind ELF Learning. And bringing invaluable experience and authenticity to the lessons is a team of Associates spanning the globe:


Bruno Andrade, Brazil

Andy Boon, Japan

Marco Brazil, The Philippines (and Japan)

Vladimira Chalyova, Slovakia

Naomi Epstein, Israel

Fitri, Indonesia

Esra Girgin, Turkey

Marcia Lima, Brazil

Martha Mendoza, Peru

Anna Musielak, Poland

Cherry Philipose, India

Anna Pires, Portugal

Yitzha Sarwono, Indonesia

Malu Sciamarelli, Brazil

Ayat Tawel, Egypt

Juan Uribe, Canada (and Brazil)

Jennifer Verschool, Argentina

Chiyuki Yanase, Japan


Some of our TEYL Associates are veterans of the English for Teachers course, and some are new, but all are committed to making iTDi TEYL as practical as possible for teachers of young learners. You can read about all of our incredible Associates on our Community Page.

Working with Teachers

At the beginning of February, I’ll be back in Indonesia for several events. First, I’ll be at the LIA Semarang Candi International English Workshop with fellow iTDi colleagues Chuck Sandy, Eric Kane, Yitzha Sarwono, and Nina Septima. Then Chuck, Eric, Yitzha and I will join VIE Foundation, our Partners in Indonesia, for the Global Teacher Development Workshop road show in Bandung and Jakarta. The goal is to get teachers excited about the possibilities of collaborating and sharing with other teachers online, and to introduce professional development opportunities with iTDi.

Working Online

As much as I love to travel, I think this year will find me traveling a bit less, and doing more workshops online. Whether it’s facilitating webinars like the current series on Easy Web Tools for Teachers, presenting my own workshops like the upcoming Bringing Technology to your Young Learner Classroom, or participating in facebook chats being online gives me a chance to work with teachers from many countries at the same time.

While I have absolutely no idea where the end of 2013 will find me, I am confident that I’m heading in the direction that’s right for me. I will continue to dream and imagine, and feel lucky that I can share my journey forward with an amazing and ever-growing community of teachers around the world.

Professional Goals for 2013 – Yitzha


I believe everybody has their own passion. For me, teaching has been something that I love doing and hope to be doing for the rest of my life. That’s my passion. I actually am not very good at making New Year’s resolutions, but given the fact that last year was such an amazing year for me, this coming year I want to do more even more than what I’ve done profesionally up till now.

One of the things that is becoming my goal is to attend more webinars. I meanl I would love to be able to join more conferences, but to be able to travel to do so is a bit hard with my condition at work —  but I have found the solution in webinars. There will be a lot of great webinar to attend too. iTDi will host some of them.

For someone who lives in Asia where traveling to conferences isn’t always possible, the internet can be a teaching aid and webinars one way to keep up with current developments. Another way is to take an online course. I’ve taken some last year and they helped me make my teaching better. So that too becomes one of the things that is on my list for better professional development (PD).

As someone who’s experienced first hand the power of online community and its role in helping my professional development,  I plan on encouraging as many Indonesian teachers as possible to do the same. To do that, I’ll add being a mentor as well as a mentee as another of my  goals for 2013. I know I still have to learn a lot, but at the same time I want to share my experience —  as someone who sort of knows her way around the online community — with others who’d love to give it a shot. That is why I’m so thrilled to participate in the upcoming Global Teacher Development Workshop on February 4th in Jakarta and February 6th in Bandung, Indonesia as well as in the International English Workshop on February 2nd in Semerang. I hope I could get more teachers in Indonesia to see that self development can come in many ways. When  you use the internet effectively — like by joining iTDi for example —  you can find more ways to reflect on your teaching and achieve more.

YITZHA Image 1

And for my class, my resolution this year is to try more things with them. I’m planning to implement some of the ideas I’ve got from the conferences and webinars I’ve attended,  too. I’ll definitely try Wordle for my phonic lessons as well as  Voki and Vocaroo. I’m not sure how many to try right away as I’ll also prepare  for the annual championship (quiz bee, math, spelling and drama) in May and a musical concert along with their graduation in June — but we will sure try them all.

Of course, this will all require  very good time management, but hey, when it comes to making resolutions, I may as well go big for it.  I’ve got the drive to do  it all.

Welcome 2013! Aza aza Achieving!

YITZHA image 2


Professional Goals for 2013 – Josette

Josette LeblancWrite It Down and Make It Happen

Josette 1.13.14

A year ago, I wrote the above professional goals on a sheet of A4 paper, and they have been on the wall next to my computer ever since. I can’t say that I looked at these goals everyday, but every once in a while, when daydreaming, I’d glance over and ponder the possibilities. What’s been fun to notice is that this two-year plan has mostly become a one-year reality. As it turns out, when we write down our goals, we manifest dreams.

Going to Costa Rica

Part of this dream-come-to-reality will begin next weekend, when I’ll get on an plane to San Jose, Costa Rica, with the final destination being Centro Espiral Mana, a learning center near La Fortuna. This center was created by Mary Scholl, a teacher educator I had the fortune of learning with during an online course she was giving via the SIT Teacher Training Institute called, Compassionate Communication (based on the communicative principles of Nonviolent Communication, which I wrote about in my first iTDi post). After finishing this course, I knew I had to come to her center to take the first step in finishing the SIT TESOL trainer process I had started a few years before. This is when Mary and her course became part of my two-year-goal plan.

Luckily Mary’s month-long training course corresponds with my program’s winter holidays: the perfect synchronization for dreams to become real. By doing this course, I’ll gain more insight into how compassionate communication can manifest itself in teacher education. This is extremely exciting, since it has been a passion of mine ever since I began my MA studies. Although I do my best to learn and practice this form of communication, I struggle with knowing how I can integrate it into the teacher-training curriculum I’ve designed for our in-service training course in Daegu, South Korea. My hope is that by combining compassionate communication with the learning-centered, experiential training component of Mary’s course, I’ll come out being able to answer my own question. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to move more confidently toward my goals of helping teachers connect compassion to their teaching.


The other two goals on my plan involve writing. Writing gives me the space to make sense of all the ideas that seem to swirl around aimlessly in my mind. It is my creative outlet, and as a blogger, it is also a way to connect to others. For these reasons, writing grounds me. When I combine my need to write with my teaching experiences and ideas, I fulfill another need: getting a deeper understanding of teaching and learning.

This is why I am happy to be on my way to achieving another goal: writing an article for a journal. If all goes well, an article on the topic of reflective practice that I’m co-authoring with Tony Gurr (teacher-trainer based in Turkey and prolific blogger at All Things Learning), should be in the 2013 Spring Issue of the English Teachers Association Switzerland (ETAS). This opportunity is made possible thanks to the support of iTDi friend and colleague, Vicky Loras (if you’re interested in writing for ETAS, just talk to her). Both Vicky and Tony are teachers I’ve never met face-to-face, and had only chatted with on Twitter a handful of times when I stuck my plan up on the wall a year ago. Twitter has definitely been part of my dream-realizing process on more than one occasion (see this post for more dreams).

The next goal has yet to come true, but the possibility is budding. Last year I put my name in to be a registered blogger for the Glasgow International IATEFL Conference. After that inspirational experience, I thought I would like to either present, attend, or blog during the 2013 Liverpool International IATEFL Conference. Not having the time or space to go to Liverpool, I’ve decided that I’d like to try blogging again, so last week I inquired about this on the IATEFL Facebook page. I discovered that anyone interested in blogging for the conference should be finding out more details in the next few weeks.

Adding to the plan

With all these goals becoming reality, I’m excited about adding a few more to the plan. One thing I’ve learned from all this is that if you have dreams, write them down; your dreams are just waiting to be born, and may surprise you with an early appearance.

Professional Goals for 2013 – Sevim

SevimAçıkgöz3Where I’m Going in 2013

Human beings love making resolutions, especially at the beginning of the new year, but how many of those resolutions are focused on professional development?  If you’re like me, your New Year’s resolutions are probably focused on your personal life, but take a moment as I have done to think about where you want to be in your professional development at the end of 2013. Here’s where I’m headed.

Learn, Share, Change.  These words are at the top of my list for 2013.  As a teacher, I feel  have a  responsibility to share what I have and exchange ideas and maybe change together and change the world in a better way and maybe as Stephen Krashen says, we can make the world a better place immediately? As we are teachers, I believe that we have that power, to change the world with small but strong touches on people’s lives. Because of all these reasons, my number one is learn,share and change. I will never stop learning from others, learning and sharing what I learned with others and do little changes in education world.

Expand The Community  Recently, a teacher friend of mine asked,  ‘’Why are we sharing our knowledge with teachers who are already in our communiity? It is like a circle. We must reach out to others who are not already in our community and give them motivation and courage, too.  That’s collaboration. Otherwise we’re just passing things around the same circle all the time.”  She’s right. There are lots of great educators from all over the world who need our support. We need to reach out to them. Why not today? Why not you ?  All you need to do is to believe in yourself and take some action. By doing so, we can make our community bigger and bigger day by day and truly collaborate.  It’s in our hands.I feel that I have the courage and motivation to do this and if you are reading this blog post and involved in iTDi, it means that you have the same couage and motivation as well! Let’s start now and work together to help others outside of our current community.

Unplugged vs Connected  I’d always felt that I have to use  as much technology as possible until I attended a teacher training workshop called  Unplugged and Connected : Where Ideas Meet led by Luke Medding and Burcu Akyol. On the second day of the course, a fellow participant shared something a students of hers had said:  “I am not here to learn technology. I’m here to learn English.” Those words had a huge impact on me. Yes, we should use technology but there are other great ways to teach English. Teaching unplugged is one of them. It is communicative, engaging, and fun at the same time. Technology is just a tool — not the whole part of our teaching life. This year, I will make the most out of technology but I will try to be more unplugged as well.


The Things That Could Be Better List   I’m again the organizer of The Istanbul Bilgi University ELT Students Conference which will be held in Istanbul on March 9th and 10th this year.  This year’s focus is on Outliers in ELT, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make this year’s conference even better.  I’ve been thinking about this since the moment that last year’s conference ended. That very day, I sat down and started writing a reflection on what had gone well and what hadn’t gone so well.  As soon as I started writing, I began to see things that could have been done better, and so I created a list of those things.  I’ve been refering to this things that could be better list as I prepare for this year’s conference and it’s been helping me a lot.  Now I’ve decided to create a similar list at the end of each of my teaching days this year. As soon as I get home, I’ll think about what I did well, what I did wrong, and what things could be done better. I’m sure this list to help me better see where I am and where I want to be.

Perhaps you’d like to join me? Even if you’re in a very good place now, there are always things that could be better.  Let’s reflect, learn, share, and change together and end this year in an even better place.