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2023 learnings

It’s coming to the end of the year, and like many, I’m reflecting on the year.

I’m not going to lie and say it’s been an easy year, but there have been many high points, too.

I did various talks, webinars and other sessions:

  • Why LGBTQIA+ in ELT matters for the TEFL Development Hub (Feb)
  • I am not a taboo for IATEFL Harrogate (April)
  • ELT = Embracing LGBTQIA+ Teaching for PiE (May)
  • Why LGBTQIA+ representation matters in ELT for Rachael Roberts’ Linkedin Live (June)
  • Is ELT Proud? for Lottie Galpin’s Reflecting Reality FB group (June)
  • Including LGBTQIA+ identities in Language classes for TESOL Pop (June)
  • Resisting Invisibility for the British Council (June)
  • Is ELT doing enough to represent the LGBTQIA+ community? with Taylor Veigga and Tyson Seburn on Teachers Talk Radio with Harry Waters (June)
  • Proud Teachers on Pride Day for the British Council (June)
  • I am not a taboo for IATEFL Themes (Sept)
  • The Whys and Hows of Creating LGBTQIA+-inclusive materials for TEFL Horizons virtual conference (Oct)
  • Embracing: Everybody’s Normal for English First (Oct)
  • Exploring LGBTQIA+ identities and representation for EALTHY (Dec)

Looking back at this list, it’s no wonder I’ve burnt out towards the end of the year. I’ve also had blog posts published for MaWSIG and Cambridge World of Better Learning. I also gave a couple of my own workshops focusing on LGBTQIA+ inclusion, but I have yet to decide what to do with these.

Work-wise, things have been busy, which is always good, and I continue to find work – long may it continue.

Perhaps the biggest lessons came personally. I allowed myself to get affected by the actions of another person, and this sent me spiralling. I am not responsible for other people’s actions, and if it causes them to dislike me, then so be it. I no longer have time for people who treat me badly. It doesn’t matter who the person is, or their so-called standing or status, I refuse to be treated in that way again. It has also taught me the lesson that I need to be careful who I trust and who I associate myself with professionally. Thankfully, the vast majority of professionals I associate with are not like this, and as a result, I’m happy with the associations I have, and more than a few I classify as friends.

My own reactions to the above have also been a learning curve, so perhaps I do need to thank that person for showing me who they really are and who I really am. Going into counselling has been good, and I’m learning more things about myself and my own reactions to things that happen around, and to, me. I’ll be learning how to relinquish control, because I can’t control everything, and I should work on my perfectionism and people-pleasing, too. I also need to allow space for anger, because holding that emotion in for what seems like decades, is unhealthy, but also to recognise my own worth, and to quantify my own worth without comparison to others but to feel it and know it within. A lot of this I think is connected to anxiety, which seems to have been fairly prevalent in my life since about 2017.

Unwanted intrusive, and repetitive, thoughts happen to me almost on a daily basis, and I’m recognising that this may be a sign of OCD, bordering on BDD, and so I’m looking into these as a possibility to help me understand some things about myself. This will be an ongoing goal, going into 2024.

While learning these things about myself, I’ve also learnt that I don’t need social media as much as I thought I did. Punishing myself for not engaging or posting is something that I won’t be doing anymore. There are better, more productive, and to be honest, more enjoyable things I could and will be doing. Getting back into reading novels has been wonderful, and now I tend to spend at least an hour each evening doing that. Continuing to research my family tree is also something that I enjoy doing.

Things that I’d like to do more of in 2024 include continuing to advocate for LGBTQIA+ identities, both in ELT and in wider society. As well as this, I want to explore my relationship with Humanism, and as I’m already a signed up member, to explore what else Humanism can offer me, and potentially, what I can offer Humanists. This is becoming more important to me as I age, as I feel myself becoming even more distant from religion. I’m also looking forward to giving my second workshop at IATEFL in 2024 in Brighton and maybe I’ll see you there.

Enjoy the rest of December, whatever you’re doing. No doubt, I’ll start posting on the blog again in January.

originally posted on Dec 13 2023

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