Apart from the problem of wanting to be seen to be something. Another issue is that I am interested in sooo many things linked to our profession. I feel like my crisis is a bit about having too much choice. I want to do educational psychology, intercultural stuff, educational technology stuff, teacher educate, and so on. I want to be special.
Another problem is that it doesn't appear clear if the risk of specialising is worth it. I don't know how TEFL's big names achieved their successes, and knowing this might ease my mind. I don't have a mentor, so rely on spurious facts gained from biographys in book introductions and the like. From this I sometimes am able to get a fix on how they have managed their careers. I wonder how they dealt with financial, personal, existential, and motivational issues in their careers. Evolving as a professional is important to me, but I wonder at what cost this will come at.
Equally I feel my recent unemployed circumstances haven't helped this and have left me in the doldrums slightly. At the same time this period afforded me plenty of time for reading and reflection on my MA module on the education of language teachers module. This time and reading enabled me to pursue this specialisation. I have had a good few months in this respect with presentations for educators at ISTEK, Istanbul, online on the virtual round table, at ATEL's 14th ELT conference, Beirut. I go back to Lebanon next week for a week's teacher training work and have some work at the university of Manchester with some Chinese teachers too. This is all great, and a sign that my 'public' emergence as a teacher-educator is under way.
This idea of specialisation came out of a discussion with a very experienced EFL and management-head in Damascus. He was saying that the best thing he did was specialise. For him, this meant a move away from straight up EFL teaching, and towards business English. This was in the 1970s when ESP of any kind was perhaps fairly novel. From this he became one of the best, one of a few 'go to people', called in when they (clients, BC, IH, whoever) need a specialist ELT and management. I quite want to find myself in a position like this.
I feel reassured by Gary's comments on my previous post, his re-framing of specialisation to specialisations is helpful. The idea that a number of incarnations are possible is a hopeful one. This leaves open the door to me being a teacher educator, and an inter-cultural guy, and, and, and over the next 30-40 years of work. It's a relief to know that I don't have to choose a thing and stick with it, at least. On the other hand each specialisation involves just that, and becoming a highly knowledgeable, go-to person involves lots of graft, reflection, practice and time.