I live in the United Kingdom. I am known online as ‘Teacher Phili’, which was a nickname that some children in a Tanzanian orphanage called me and it stuck! It has been my Twitter handle since August 2009. I have been an English language teacher since 2006. I am currently employed by UCLan (University of Central Lancashire) in the Centre for Collaborative Learning. I have previously been an ESOL tutor with Norfolk Community Learning Services, which became Adult Learning in 2019. In the summer of 2020, I worked for the English Language Teaching Centre at the University of Sheffield, on their 10-week pre-sessional programme, returning in 2021.
I have worked for several other organisations over the years. For example, I was employed by INTO UEA (2017-20) on two consecutive pre-sessional courses and as an IELTS invigilator throughout the year. Between 2009-11, I had several short-term contracts with Bell Educational Trust, including one that lead to a 5 month ‘tour of duty’ in Riyadh. I have also worked in South Korea (2007-8), Beijing (2009-10) and Vietnam (2012). For three years (also 2017-20), I was a committee member of the IATEFL Learning Technologies Special Interest Group, including being newsletter editor, then webmaster. Finally, I carried out promotional work for Teacher Training Videos from 2017-2020, along with some occasional social media work for ELT Training since 2021.
I am also a freelance English language tutor offering my services in the county of Norfolk, although since 2020 this has solely online using Skype and Zoom, because of the covid-19 pandemic restrictions to work.
Why did you decide to become a Globe PLC mentor?
Firstly, I was honoured to get asked. To get recognition in my field and have peer recommendations is a great feeling. I have only been writing and presenting on my PLC topic for a few years, but my lived experience goes back way further. I like the ethos that Globe has a member-driven and consultant-mentored approach. Too much professional learning is top-down, not ‘bottom-up’ and organic enough. Here, participants get to generate the discussions and take initiatives that potentially could lead to creating a brand new product or service within ELT. I don’t see my role as being in charge at all. Whilst I might start a discussion in the PLC, it is much more about what members bring or want to discuss.
What can people expect from the Mental Health in ELT PLC?
People who take part in the Mental Health in ELT PLC can expect chats, sharing of experiences, research and ideas on the mental health of both students AND teaching professionals. We can look at good practice within our profession, share tips and resources. In addition, it is a space where you can lead a discussion, develop an idea or resource and, perhaps, develop a project. As a mentor, I can facilitate this, but the PLC is what you want to make of it. You can take a lead the way if you wish and get others involved. I would be delighted to see you there!
Why would you encourage people to join Globe?
As the Communities of Practice states, this is probably the only place in the digital environment where people can come together not only to talk and share ideas, but to then take those ideas from their conceptual beginning through to a concrete product or service. The mentors are experts in their field and can draw on years of experience. But you have an opportunity to bring your own to the forum. It’s a subscription, ‘pay what you can’ membership and a free trial is available to see what is available.