It may be disturbing, but when everything around us starts changing, we can only do two things:
- Hold tight to what we already know and believe that we will be safe forever.
- Anticipate what comes next and get ready for it.
We have already experienced the first situation, haven´t we? Remember when?
You may recall the day that we envisaged online learning so far in the horizon that we did not believe we had to hasten to learn more about how to integrate technology in our classes. In fact, we thought that job was for real innovators. We felt safe in our comfort zone, didn´t we? I do agree that many of us were unable to predict that the change would come without warning, but, in actual fact, it happened like an earthquake.
If we did learn the lesson, we should already be working on the second option. The only way to avoid getting caught off guard again is to be one step ahead.
Let me explain myself with a quotidian situation. If somebody told you that in two days the water service would be disrupted, what would you do? Wouldn´t you use the buckets, for example, that you already have, to collect water? Wouldn´t you buy more buckets if you felt that you did not have enough? Even though taking decisions related to our profession is not so simple, I think this common circumstance can give us an idea.
Regarding our profession, what comes next? How much time do we have to anticipate? Can we really get ahead when everything seems so immediate?
LEVERAGE YOUR ASSETS
The most important strength is already there: your knowledge of the language. I do not have to convince you that knowing a foreign language gives you a lot of opportunities and this is the one you need to grab to ensure your future. Your vision should focus on how to exploit this privilege.
BUILD THE PATH FOR SUCCESS
In order to target our efforts in the most effective way, it is necessary to identify a new area of work. One possibility is preparation for international examinations.
The best is to begin with just one exam at a time. To do so, consider the following:
- Identify which exam is the most requested in your area
- Familiarize yourself with the test. You can even take a complete practice test to experience firsthand what are things like from the test taker perspective.
- Purchase at least one book or guide for the test chosen. It will give you an idea of what needs to be learned to take the test. Most of the books come with practice tests which may also help you guide your students.
- Check official websites to learn what they recommend to test takers. Most of them come with free material and free practice tests as well.
- Check videos of other teachers or websites that are already offering the service. Check what they suggest to their potential students and take their recommendations as your first steps. Knowing your future competitors is mandatory.
- Prepare a basic plan which should have a set of objectives per area.
- Make a list of resources you will provide your students; they will always need to practice a lot.
- Identify the level of language a potential test taker must have to begin his preparation.
- Check what is the average time a person needs to be ready to take the exam he is interested in.
- Identify what you can offer that others will not; that will be your competitive differentiation.
Ready, set, go!
Roll up your sleeves and start working on your new successful life. Keep in mind what Socrates (470-399 BC) once said:
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy,
not on fighting the old,
but building on the new.