Hi, dear Reader(s). I hope you are having a great day. Soon it will be Christmas Day. Are you excited about that? I know I am, and I hope you are too.
Today, I’m continuing an EdCamp tradition of presenting the members of the organizing committee. When you ask me why it is important to do such a thing (after all, who cares who organizes the event), I could give you several answers, but I will tell you what I believe is the most important answer:
Volunteers. #EdCamp Santiago Organizing Committee Members are all volunteers. They receive no pay, nothing at all, for their service to their colleagues, and ultimately, their service to their profession.
That’s right, what they do is sacrifice their family time, their social time, their free time in which they could be doing something else they enjoy, in order to ensure you have a great experience at #EdCampSantiago.
They are optimistic, idealistic, altruistic people.
They are highly motivated, dedicated people.
They actually believe that one person can make a difference in the quality of education the sons and daughters of Chile receive.
For me, that’s absolutely amazing, that there are people who would do such a thing…for nothing. I love to be with such people, because frankly, it inspires me to try to be the best possible teacher I can be. For 2013, #EdCampSantiago has an incredibly talented, awesome, awe inspiring team of educators working together, from all over the country of Chile, and even beyond its borders.
I have been introducing that team to you, one by one, for you to get to know them, and yes, in some small measure, take up their passion about the teaching profession. I know I have.
Today, it’s my turn. Yes, I’m writing about myself. The idea is for me to say a few words with you, trying to honestly reflect how I feel about education, not only in Chile, but globally. My wife Gaby would say that’s an impossible task, because I owe everything I have ever achieved in my life to the fact that I was lucky enough to receive a good education in my hometown of Luxora, Arkansas.
I’ll tell you one thing about my education, and then another important thing. My entire family, from my mother, my brother, Charlie, all three of my sisters, Linda, Kathy, and Bernice, as well as myself, we all had the same teacher in the first grade, Mrs. Johnson. As I’ve said before, Mrs. Johnson did her job well.
One final fact about me and my education I want to take this opportunity to share with you. Often people refer to me as “Professor Baker”. I am not sure if they are paying me a compliment, or confusing my email address – email@example.com – as indicating that I am an actual holder of a doctorate degree.
When I went to school, back in Luxora, Arkansas, a classmate of mine, an outstanding athlete and scholar in his own right, Eddie Ray George, used to refer to me as “Professor”. We both knew he was only paying me an indirect compliment.
Here in Chile, when I began working in the public school system as an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher, the students referred to me as, “Profesor”. The students and I both knew they were meaning the equivalent of the English word, “teacher”, through their use of the Spanish equivalent, “profesor”.
One day, early in 2004, when I was considering changing my email address from the rather inadequate one I had been using – firstname.lastname@example.org – I was advised by a Chilean teacher who I respect a great deal for his committment to quality education in English Language Teaching (he shall remain unnamed so as not to embarrass him with my praise), to use a term that conferred dignity to what I was doing as a teacher, and at the same time, clearly identify me with education.
That is how and why my email address became – email@example.com.
No, that’s not a spelling mistake. In Spanish, “profesor is spelled with only one letter “s“, and not two, as it is in the English spelling.
My educational background is really quite straightforward. Let me share it with you.
After graduating from Luxora High School with honors (4th in my class), I joined the United States Army, where I had the fortune to become an instructor of Digital Electronics and Computer Fundamentals, in 1985, at Fort Bliss, in El Paso, Texas.
This was historically almost at the beginning of the digital era in communications technology, an event that has influenced my life positively.
I also hold a Diploma in English Language Teaching Methodology, known as the “DELTA”. I also have a Certificate in English Language Teaching, known as the “CELTA”.
Professionally, I graduated from the Berufsfachschule für Krankenpflege in Eschenbach, Germany after successfully completing a government regulated, three-year (3 years) program of instruction in nursing, which is regulated by the Nursing Law (Krankenpflegegesetz) which applies to all nursing candidates in Germany.
To be clear, I am referring to the same intense, professional nursing education program that in Chile requires 5 to 6 years of education. In Germany, its done in 3 years, with a heavy emphasis on actual hands-on, clinical training, rotating among various hospitals and medical specialties.
After completion of the program, career progression is provided for by continuous professional education which prepares the nurse in Germany to assume various roles in specialties, management, leadership, and in training. It is a system predicated on the principle of life-long learning, which is the hallmark of any medical professional.
Obviously, my education and training was completed 100% in German, which makes me a trilingual, a person fluent in 3 languages, which is quite rare here in Chile. At least, in my experience, I have not met many trilinguals in my 12 years living and working in Chile.
I am fluent in German, Spanish and my mother tongue, English. I have first hand experience what it feels like to be a student, in a classroom, where another language is being used to teach subjects like Chemistry, Physics, Physiology, Anatomy, Psychology, etc.
It is quite demanding, psychologically, emotionally, and socially.
Yet the one lesson I carry away from my personal experience of learning in a foreign language is this: perseverance. One day the “magic” happens, and you understand first, then secondly speak, fluently, the target language – in my case, German, and now, Spanish.
Perseverance, never give up, and in language learning, you will never be beaten, no matter how many time you fail to win. I apply this truism with all my students, in all my classes, in all ages, in all levels of ability: Never give up, and you will be the victor in your language learning efforts…
I apologize for the long preamble, but I wanted to share with you, dear Reader(s), an essential aspect of who I am, as a person, and as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Now let’s look at my bio information that relates to me being a member of the #EdCampSantiago Organizing Committee:
Member of the School Innovation Community (Comunidad de Innovación Escolar), sponsored by Fundación Telefónica & Fundación Educación 2020 (both from Chile). Members participate in activities, workshops and meetings to interchange experiences, share Best Practice and promote school innovation projects.
Co-Founder and Co-Organizer of EdCamp Santiago 2012. Responsible for all social media promotion of the event.
Created and maintained the EdCamp Santiago wikipage, blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Scoopit. and internet newspaper (paper.li).
Set up a primary and a secondary ticket system (Eventbis and Eventbrite).
Helped obtain 14 sponsors from 3 countries (USA, UK, Chile) for EdCamp Santiago 2012.
Collaborated with professional educators from Brazil, Canada, the UK, the USA and Chile.
Helped establish partnership with educators from EdCamp Delta, from Delta Secondary School in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
12 years experience as an EFL teacher in Chile. I have worked in institutes, private schools, public and private universities.
Experienced International Baccalaureate teacher in IB Diploma Program (DP) – Language B (High Level), Middle Years Program (MYP). Led the English Department in the successful IB MYP authorization process & visit.
I have given 45 workshops, seminars and teacher training events. My professional goal is a leadership position at a school or ELT organization. I am the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010 – 2011).
Author of several books on Connectivism Pedagogy for EFL Teachers, MOOC Pedagogy, and English Language Teaching. I have written and self-published 48 books, all available at Amazon ===> http://amzn.to/PCX6ho
My book, “Pecha Kucha & English Language Teaching”, is now available, on sale at Amazon. Click this link: http://amzn.to/NvgIjc
Past-Member (2011-2012) of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), currently HETL Ambassador for Chile.
International Baccalaureate DP & MYP teacher. The International Baccalaureate® (IB) offers high quality programmes of international education to a worldwide community of schools. There are more than 900,000 IB students in over 140 countries.
Author of several books on Connectivism Pedagogy for EFL Teachers, MOOC Pedagogy, and English Language Teaching. I have written and self-published over 40 books, all available at Amazon ===> http://amzn.to/PCX6ho
Endorsements from professionals on LinkedIn