Last week I had the great pleasure to attend the 14th Braz-Tesol International Conference, whose theme was “Emerging Identities in ELT”. We had four days of considerable input, insights and exchanges which aimed at making us reflect upon our own teaching practice as well as planning what we can do to develop professionally in the (near) future. It goes without saying that I came back home with a lot of information to digest, ideas I’d love to try and a great deal of thinking to do. Not only has going to conferences taught me a lot regarding methodology, but it has also helped me to become more flexible to evaluate what my peers have to say, even when I don’t seem to agree with them straight away. That’s the most beautiful part of this process, I must say. Besides, what really drew my attention this time was the fact that I’m not alone and you, who happen to be reading this post (hopefully), are not alone either.

Finding myself among hundreds of people made me realize I’m part of something bigger, much bigger than I’d imagined when I first started teaching. We’re not alone and it’s actually funny to see that we share the same joy when we deliver a successful lesson, the same questions and concerns when something goes awry in our classrooms and are incredibly proud when our students acknowledge the effort we make on a daily basis to give them the best we can. Embracing this world of teachers and conferences give you knowledge and food for thought, but it also recharges your batteries and, consequently, you go back home willing to be a better professional.

To sum up, if only I could give you a piece of advice it would be: Go to conferences and step out of your comfort zone. You probably already do what you do really well, but what about trying different things to see their outcome? What about being invited to reflect upon your own practice? I’m sure it’ll be an intriguing experience.

My special thanks to these people, who made this conference unforgettable and enriching. 

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