Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Teachers in Turkey, No. 3 - “#Why-am-I-doing-this??” by Işıl Boy

This time, my Teacher in Turkey is Işıl Boy, who teaches university prep students in Istanbul. She is also on the same distance MA programme as I am with the University of Manchester. When she started a year ago, we first interacted through the MA ‘common room’ introductions thread and it was only later that we realised we had been connected via Twitter for some time already!

In this post, Işıl reflects on her decision to study for an MA as well as how she coped with the initial workload and juggling distance study with a full-time job. A must read for any current or prospective MA students!

 

clip_image002First, I want to thank my dear course mate Dave for offering me to write a guest post on his insightful blog.

We are both doing our master's at the University of Manchester, Educational Technology and TESOL. It is a really great but demanding course. Last May, while I was working on my painful assignment, I saw Dave's hashtag: #whyamIdoingthis on twitter, which was explaining that he was also busy with his assignment, and had the same question in his mind. I must confess that it was relieving to see that you are not the only one suffering from assignments and questioning yourself! :-)

It takes three years to finish the course, which is not "free", and I am not fully sure if it is to be accredited by Y.O.K (Higher Education Council of Turkey) since it is a distance course. Currently, I am working for a state university, and the salary is not all that good. Honestly, I have no intention to apply for a foundation university or change my job, of course I cannot know what the future brings, but this is exactly the case now. Hence, I asked myself #whyamIdoingthis? If it were only for the love of educational technology, I also love playing tennis, riding horses and going out with my friends, which are all less painful...

Then, WHY?

On the day, I took the university entrance exam, I remember dragging my family to a study abroad fair and collecting information on master's degrees in the UK. An educational consultant told me she would always remember me since she hadn't seen someone asking for a master's course who is not even a university student. Then, I learned that I needed teaching experience to apply for the Masters in TESOL, and when I started working at Yildiz Technical University, it was too late since I had to leave my job to get a master's degree in the UK. I waited for five years after my graduation as I didn't want to get a master's degree just for its titleclip_image004 but to learn something new and become a better teacher. Soon, I found about the MA course I am studying now, and it is the perfect choice for me, for I am a huge edtech addict. In a nutshell, the answer is, if life is a puzzle (which puzzles us a lot) a huge piece would be missing without it, and I wouldn't feel fulfilled like I am very much feeling now.

A Confession to Make

Most people claim that students feel very confused and lonely during the distance master's programmes. On the contrary, we were always in contact with our instructors and course mates, and got clear explanation, feedback and support all the time.

As for my confession, for the first two weeks I couldn't join the discussions, and managed to read only few articles. Then when I had a look at "library reading lists" there were "far too many" articles and books to read, which caused a real pain in my stomach! A week later, I read the thread about SFRE (Situation-Problem-Response-Evaluation) patterns which helped me to realise whclip_image006at almost all the students had already noticed! I looked for SFRE patterns everywhere and soon after I saw "the clickable TT headlines", which give explanation about the units, and the name of the articles to read, I had somehow missed! Thankfully, it wasn't too late, and I was able to keep up with reading.

There is also one thing I appreciate; in some master's courses only "theories" are taught, but through this course we have learnt about "theorising". It has been challenging to work full time and do a master's course at the same time. However, it has also been very helpful to learn lots of invaluable things and have the chance to put them "in action".

An advice for students: If you are on iPad, you can download "pdf-notes" app which allows taking notes and highlighting. Freely downloadable from here

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Isil Boy is an EFL Instructor at Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul, Turkey. Having taken her BA in TEFL from Istanbul University, she started her Master’s Degree in Educational Technology and TESOL at the University Of Manchester. Having developed a heartfelt love for educational technology, she came to realize that in a highly tech-driven society, education and technology should go hand in hand. ICT in Education, Blended Learning and Second Life in Education are among her interests. She is also ‘English for Teachers’ (EFT) Course Contributor, ‘International Teacher Development Institute’ (iTDi) Associate.

Her Blog: www.isilboy.com

Her Ning Network: www.yildizprepschool.ning.com

Her Twitter ID: @isilboy

13 comments:

  1. Hi Dave and Isil,

    First, I apologize for not knowing how to write your name properly on my keyboard! :)

    Second, as a current distance MA students, I can totally relate to your post. The workload is huge when you add to it a regular day job. I'm currently working at least 11 hours a day, so I do sometimes feel my stomach churn when I realize how much still needs to be done for each one of the assignments. But why do we do it? I guess your answer is the answer I can think of to answer my question: I do it because of the passion to learn. I'm also unsure whether it'll be accredited by the Brazilian Education Ministry, and it's definitely not a cheap course for you to pay on a teacher's salary. However, the joy of having someone else assessing your work and giving you feedback is something I missed in a while.

    Not sure you've already finished, but if you still haven't, maybe we could also set up a study group. :)

    Cheers,

    Henrick

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  2. I sincerely appreciate all the posts regarding this Masters course that Dave and now you have contributed to as I will begin this University of Manchester program this fall while working full time teaching university courses myself. I have to admit that I'm apprehensive about my ability to make the necessary time for everything in my life, but am wholly excited to give it my best shot.

    I'm sure I'll have many more things to ask and get yours and Dave's advice on in the coming months!

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  3. Hi Dave and Isil and everybody here. I seem to be missing something =) What MA are you all talking about? Could you give us some info about it?
    Kisses and hugs from Bs. As.

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  4. Sabrina,
    It's mentioned in the second paragraph of this post, but it's the University of Manchester's Masters of Educational Technology and TESOL.

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  5. Nice to hear "why". Tempts me to think of "will". "When" is actually the real question ! As we say in français, Bon Courage !

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  6. @Henrick: Hi Henrick, I have still two years to go, so we can set up a study group- love the idea :-)

    @Tyson: So glad to hear that you'll be joining us- one more victim- just kidding of course :) I would be very happy to help ;) If you have time, you can read "There is no best method- Why?" by Prabhu. (http://neltachoutari.pbworks.com/f/There+is+no+best+method.pdf) Best of luck!

    @Sabrina: Hi Sabrina, just let me know what kind of information you need ;)

    @Brad: Brad, the blog explorer, thanks again for your interest! :) Why don't you join us 'this' September! No doubt, you will do great! ;-)

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  7. Henrick - for me, the decision to start the MA course was one of starting to legitimise my career path. I was always conscious of the fact that, compared to my Turkish colleagues, I was under-qualified annd I also thought that as I approached ten years as a teacher, it was time to move forward. After ten years in any other job, I would have expected promotions and title changes but nothing was happening for me as a teacher. I was just treading water so I decided to be pro-active and take the next step myself. Hopefully, it will lead to better things once I'm done. :)

    Tyson - I'm glad you've found our collective musings useful and that we helped you take this step yourself (I think I should start getting comission off the University though as that's at least two new students I've sent their way this year!) Look forward to hearing about your experiences starting in September.

    Sabrina - there's plenty of info about the MA here. Just take a look at the 'MA Studies' page. You can also find out more about the programme and the tutors here: http://edtechandtesol.info/wp/

    Brad - you WILL know WHEN the time is right ;)

    Işıl - thanks for the great post and for giving us your perspective on #whyamIdoingthis? :)

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  8. If you're ever interested in coming and working at my place, let me know, not that I make the decisions or anything. I'm sure we'd love to have someone with your passion for the job working with us.

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  9. @Dave: Many thanks for your encouragement and support! :-)

    @Adam: You really made my day, Adam! Thank you so much! I would be delighted to have you as a colleague! I will definitely let you know if I change my mind :-)

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  10. Dear Isil and Dave,

    I admire your passion and drive. I also think it is one of the things that brought us close in the virtual world. The people I interact with and develop friendships with (hopefully only virtual in its beginning, then it becomes face to face) are all as committed and passionate as I feel.

    I have recently taken a distance graduate course on Assessment and it was hard to keep up with everything. I loved reading how you couldn't keep up with the reading in the beginning Isil, because I went through the same thing and you're confession made me feel less lonely in that, and maybe I wasn't that bad a person for having to do it.

    As teachers we have very busy, hectic schedules to make ends meet and adding serious study to it seems impossible. But we can't really stay away from it, can we? I remember that during the 3 months the course took place I slept an average of 3 hours a day, working full time and taking care of 2 kids... Not easy, but TOTALLY worth it. So worth it that I decided to take the Delta now, distance for modules 1 and 3, on site for module 2. I'm not sure how I will manage it, but reading about your experience, others like you and Dave (like Ty) give me strength and push me forward. It's nothing near a Masters, so if you can do it, maybe I can too.

    Power of the PLN. Support. Passion. Sharing.
    Thanks guys. XX

    Ceci

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  11. Hi Ceci,

    I hold the view that our lifestyles have dramatically changed over the past years. Meeting like-minded educators on twitter, then meeting with them in real life, ultimaltely becoming close friends, are all amazing!

    Lots of people around us cannot get why we are "still" studying, and what we are doing on the internet :) However, we all "#know-the-reason-why".

    You are totally inspiring, Ceci. I really admire you! Having two kids, working and studying so hard are not all that easy! Good luck with Delta, and I am sure you'll do great! Whenever you feel the suffer (it'll happen, we shouldn't hide the truth:) , pls just bare in mind that you are not alone, and I'll send you some virtual coffe- I promise :)

    Love My "P(2)LN": (Precious) Personal Learning Network :)

    All the best,

    Isil

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  12. Hi Dave and Isil,

    I am really sorry I had missed this post but very happy Isil brought it to my attention : )

    As the lovely people above mention, I too admire the courage and motivation of you (both). It is admirable to see, Isil, how you manged to motivate yourself and be a winner through all this : ) I must admit I have thought many times of doing a MA. For this specific one you helped me out tremendously with info, Isil and I thank you for that. Your post makes me feel much less "chicken" ; )

    Thank you so much!

    Best wishes,
    Vicky

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  13. Thank you for your kind word, dearest Vicky! I hope you can join us next year! :-)

    All the best,

    Isil

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