Jan 22

Inspirational ELT #2 | Rachael's story

I first met Rachael Roberts in 2000 because she employed me! She had already been teaching a while and was a CELTA and Delta trainer, as well as managing the ESOL department at Solihull College and a couple of years later, she, I and another colleague, wrote IELTS Foundation together. I think that she’s really inspirational because she’s such a great example of the many different roles it’s possible to have through a career in English teaching. In this guest blog post, she describes where this has all taken her….
Jo Gakonga

Rachael's story- the many faces of ELT

I’ve been in ELT since 1989, when I planned to have a year out abroad before signing up for an MA in Theatre Directing. I did do the MA in the end- but in ELT, because by that time I had well and truly got the teaching (and travelling) bug.

Having been in the field for such a long time I have, unsurprisingly, worked in quite a lot of different roles: teaching both ELT and ESOL, teacher training, managing, and materials writing.

I’ve been a freelance materials writer now since 2008, and while I do really enjoy writing materials, and have been able to make a decent living from it, I realised more and more that I was missing the direct contact with people. I loved getting out to conferences and giving sessions, but with family commitments and no longer boundless energy, that was necessarily a bit limited.

Then a few years ago it came to me that what I had really loved about all my different roles was the opportunity to help people grow and change. Being a manager was great from a mentoring and support point of view- just not the paperwork and inspections!

I had actually trained as a counsellor and psychotherapist back in the late 90s. However, while this was invaluable in my work at the time as a manager and trainer- helping to develop my interpersonal skills, giving feedback and so on- I had never done it professionally.

Lightbulb moment! This was what I had really always wanted to do, even what I had been doing, just in some rather roundabout ways. So, I signed up for a Diploma in Coaching course at the University of Warwick, and on finishing launched my coaching business.

It’s been nearly three years since then, and a rollercoaster ride. I already had some ideas about running and marketing my business from having run my ELT writing business, but whereas that was business to business, suddenly I needed to find consistent individual clients. Fortunately I worked out that I needed more support, hired a fabulous business coach and did quite a bit of training in using social media, copywriting and so on. And now I’m generally fully booked 2-3 months ahead, and have also created a small group programme to help others set up and successfully run their ELT businesses.

If you want to find out more, check out my website Life-Resourceful and why not join my free Facebook group for ELT professionals wanting less stress and more balance in their lives? There are regular lives and guest experts with tips and strategies for managing stress, relaxation, healthy eating, stretches for desk workers, acupressure.. and a really lively and supportive group of over 500 other ELT professionals. 

If you have an ELT story that you'd like to share, just drop me a line to jo.gakonga@elt-training.com.
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