“Sen Türk oldun artık.”
(You have become a Turk then).
This is a phrase I commonly hear these days when I meet people and tell them that I’ve been here for over 11 years, my wife is Turkish and we have a son. In many ways, it’s true. Although certain aspects of living here still startle me from time to time (I’ll never get used to the traffic for starters!), I’m sure there are many aspects of living in the UK that would be difficult to get accustomed to if I ever went back.
Image by Tolga “Musato”
This country has given me a lot over the years - a beautiful wife, an adorable son and a career as an English teacher, something I initially saw as a way to get a couple of years of ‘life experience’.
Turkey, like many countries these days, places a huge emphasis on learning English. A good command of the language can open doors to higher education and better career prospects. Unfortunately, that often means exams, exams and more exams and an education system driven by tests and grades.
As a result, teaching here can be a challenge. While schools, private colleges, evening courses and universities talk the talk of student-centred learning, collaboration, web 2.0 and a communicative approach, the very same institutions in practice often have much more ‘traditional’ expectations about learning and the expected roles of the teacher and the students.
Despite the restrictions I’ve often found myself working with during my time in Turkey, I am very optimistic about the future of language teaching and education in general here. Why? Because I have had the pleasure to work with and meet some of the most incredible teachers in this country who strive every day to do the best they can for their students while trying to make a difference in the schools they work in.
Well, I’m delighted to announce that I have persuaded a number of these wonderful teachers to contribute to a series I will be hosting on this blog over the coming weeks called “Teachers in Turkey”. There will be a wide variety of contributors from local teachers to native-speaker ones, kindergarten teachers to university ones, trainee teachers to teacher trainers and even a language coach! You will recognise some of the names from Twitter and the international EFL conference circuit I’m sure. Others will be new to you but they all have something to say and I hope you’ll find it useful.
First post comes on Monday!
Are you a Teacher in Turkey? Have I not approached you about joining in with this series yet? Then please, show your interest via the comments section and I’ll be in touch.