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Finding your niche

September 20, 2007

Hello again,

I am often asked what means are available for teachers to make career progress. I think the best approach is to create your own...

... opportunities. Teachers wishing to make career progress might consider developing their knowledge of a specific area. Possibilities to consider are: technology in the classroom, pronunciation, academic writing, English for a particular profession, learner training, literature in the classroom, teacher training, materials design, testing. The best way to choose your niche is to follow your main interests.

Once you have decided on your niche, see if there is a special interest group you can join to meet others with similar interests and to find out what events and resources are available to help you increase your expertise. IATEFL and TESOL are good places to start.

As you begin to acquire new skills and knowledge, start applying what you know in your teaching. As you gain confidence you could offer to demonstrate some techniques to other teachers, or you might suggest stetting up new options for students who would like to work on the areas you offer.

Then, when you have a firm basis and have developed confidence you could offer to take part in professional events such as conferences and seminars. You might write articles on the topic and offer to participate in training events.

It is difficult to precise about how new career prospects might open up, but your school could offer you a special responsibility post, for example. Or a publisher might be interested in developing your materials. It would be great to hear from teachers who have gone down this road and can share their experiences.

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