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!
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...
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 title 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 what 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
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