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  • Karin Heuert Galvão

Reflections From Under a Rock: 2019 in retrospect.

That's it. 2020 is here and 2019 is going to stay in our memories. Last year was extremely different for me, in many ways, and I would like to share with you some of my reflections and observations.

For starters, as you might have noticed, I didn't write as much as I did in previous years. this is because I had so much on my plate that I couldn't find the creativity nor the energy to do so. I would say that this was certainly one of my biggest regrets of 2019. Writing has become to me a way to express my opinions, connect with people and a leave a mark, even if it's small one. I know I'm not as popular writer as some of the big names in the industry, and that I'm not as loud on social media, but for me, really, it's about having the opportunity to write and that's it. I will certainly schedule more time for that in 2020.

On another note, 2019 was the year that I faced the most resistance from students and teachers with the native and non-native English teacher shenanigans. I have to confess that it was the very first time in my life that I got so pissed off with this issue. It's a new year and people and institutions still use this nonsensical argument as a way to advertise their classes. So I urge you to prioritize training above a passport next time you look for a language course.

2019 was also the year that I had to face the "macho" world in ELT. For the very first time, I witnessed how being a woman in a leadership position can upset a lot of people, both men and women, and I dare to say, especially women. Never have I thought that I would feel as much prejudice from my own kind as I did in 2019. It also taught me that I need to be more understanding of the people that don't notice how sexist they are.

Last year also helped open my eyes to the fact that many companies and professionals are benefited from the little "presents" and "perks" they give other business and professionals, and in return they receive "favors". This is something that really upsets me, but apparently it's the rule in our ELT "community". I have to confess that I won't be convinced in the near future that this is the best way of doing business, because they way I see it, this is just a nice way of defining 'corruption'.

2019 also taught me that having this or that certificate or diploma means nothing if you're a horrible human being and a terrible professional. Professionals definitely should be respected for investing their time and money in the academic world, but this doesn't give them the right to be disrespectful to others. In addition, being organized and responsible is much more important than having a piece of paper that says you're a 'big shot'. My suggestion is that you focus on the quality of your work and on being a good and decent person, these can take you anywhere.

All in all, 2019 was surely a quieter year for me, I didn't write as much as I wanted, I didn't take as many courses as I expected, I didn't attended as many events as in the previous years, but I had the opportunity to reflect on my own practices, my personal life and my goals for the future, and for that I'm immensely grateful.

Happy New Year everyone! And may 2020 be filled with positive energy and good people around you, because at the end of the day this is what we really need: Kindness.

This post was also published on LinkedIn on January 1st, 2020.

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