Tener la camiseta bien puesta: “Have the shirt on well”


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Según el Diccionario De Chileno Actual, la frase, “tener la camiseta bien puesta” significa:

Ser leal; entregarse a una causa; esforzarse en el trabajo; cf. puesto, hincha, dar lo mejor de sí.

Por ejemplo: “la hinchada del Colo tiene la camiseta bien puesta con el equipo; nunca lo abandona.”

In the picture, I am wearing the shirt of a former employer, and yes, I “have the shirt on well.”

This Chilean phrase has a metaphorical meaning of being committed to the success of your employer. There is little doubt that I am willing to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to make a positive contribution to the success of my employer.

Beyond that, however, I am even more deeply committed to the success of any and all Teachers of English.

That is what has led me to write more than 100 books about Teaching and Learning English as a Foreign Language, as well as various topics of personal interest. More often than not, that has led to much research and late-night writing, after my workday was complete.

Also, it has meant a great deal to me when, over the years, students of English Pedagogy from various universities have contacted me to cite my work in their thesis. It has always meant an opportunity for me to go back and revise my work from the standpoint of the passage of time.

Questions arise always. For example:

Do I still think the same way as when I wrote the original work?

Has my thinking evolved in some way?

Has my methodology responded adequately to the demands of Chilean students in real-world teaching and learning conditions?

As you can imagine, working with English Pedagogy students (future teachers themselves) on a thesis has been a rich and rewarding learning experience for me.

What I’m saying is that writing and publishing your work is a durable way for me to leave a permanent record, a written record of my experience as a teacher, showing my evolution in thought and practice.

My successes are here, and so are my failures. Victory and defeat can be found in equal measure here. I am certain there is much of value here for any teacher.

I want you to know something that is quite amazing, even to me.

For the past ten years, I have averaged writing about ten books per year.

That’s a tremendous amount of writing.

My efforts have been rewarded with more than a million site visits to read on this blog (another amazing fact). In fact, when I first reached the 500 thousand site visits milestone, I published my thoughts about it here.

This book, Born To Teach, was the 50th book that I wrote, and it coincided with me reaching the milestone of 1 million site visits.

This book, available only in paperback form, contains 5 thematic areas I was deeply interested in during the timeframe from 2012 – 2013:
1. Teaching 4 Skills
2. Connectivism: A Learning Theory
3. A Thousand Models of Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
4. One Million Blog Readers
5. Professional Learning Network (PLN)

In sum, what I share with you in my work is a very thorough look into my thinking, my methods and practices.

This is my philosophy put to the actual test of real world challenges.

Again, the collection of thematic topics in this book is an actual snapshot of a moment in time, relevant to that moment (2012-2013).

If it helps you, to find your way to success, or to avoid the obstacles to success which I did not avoid, then my book, any or all of my books, serve their purpose.

In this way, I “have the shirt of the English Language Teaching profession on very well,” and that is my intent…



Born to Teach: Becoming A Gifted Teacher
April 7, 2013

I have always been a “gifted teacher”, as John Dewey put it, in his 1929 book, “The Sources of a Science of Education”. I am intuitive. I prepare classes, anticipate problems and alternative pathways through a lesson. Yet, if I am honest with you, I must say that I try to be fluid, to “flow” from beginning, to middle, to end.

Bruce Lee, the famous martial artist, put it like this:

“Empty your mind.

Be formless, shapeless.

Like water.

Now, you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup.

You put it into a bottle, it becomes the bottle.

You put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot.

Now water can flow, or it can crash.

Be water my friend.”

John Dewey admitted that “…success in teaching is often not in any direct ratio to knowledge of educational principles.”

This is often true in English Language Teaching, where years of study can produce a teacher well-schooled in culture, sociology, psychology, pedagogy and grammar, yet deficient in the ability to speak, read, understand, or write in English, or vice versa.

Nonetheless, Dewey felt that:

“But what is overlooked …is that the successes of such individuals tend to be born and to die with them: beneficial consequences extend only to those pupils who have personal contact with such gifted teachers… the contributions of such men and women in the past have been thus confined, and the only way by which we can prevent such waste in the future is by methods which enable us to make an analysis of what the gifted teacher does intuitively, so that something accruing from his work can be communicated to others.”

In essence, that’s what my books are all about, leaving a written record of my intuitive experience, so it may be shared with others, now and in the future…

la camiseta

About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
This entry was posted in Culture, Education, EFL, PLN, Reflections, Research, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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