Divya Madhavan

Wednesday 19 April 2023

Lean on me: stories of coaching, mentoring and teacher resilience

Of all the amazing things teachers achieve in classrooms around the world every day, one of the most amazing is perhaps how much teachers show up. Even when it's messy, even when it's underpaid, even when it's exhausting - we teachers have this incredible capacity to show up, to be there, to ensure presence. With this constant and reassuring presence, we shape learners and learning environments within (and sometimes despite) education systems. Teachers have always been the heroes of quieter revolutions, such as tolerance and understanding, achieved only through education. And as teachers of the world's international language, we know this reality of fostering understanding and acceptance through better communication all too well. We have always been the ones who fight the good fight that is education.
So, who shows up for teachers? When we're overwhelmed, feel undervalued, or are simply just tired: who do we lean on? How do we find ways to look after teachers continuously and not just in specific moments of training? Whose responsibility is teacher well-being? Where do we start? In this talk, I will explore a couple of starting points for developing teacher well-being and resilience, which are the informal and organic practices of coaching and mentoring that occur naturally in ELT environments. I will map out how coaching and mentoring initiatives can be embedded into organisations and how they can transform interactions and relationships through finer-tuned perceptions of self. Through stories of strong teachers who have built resilient environments, we will explore the roles of coach and mentor and how they fit with a teacher's identity.

Abour Divya:

Divya is the Director of the Department of Languages and Cultures at CentraleSupélec, an engineering school in France. She teaches courses in English and coaches debaters for inter-varsity competitions. Divya is also the Founder and Director of Université Paris-Saclay’s Academic Writing Center, which provides publications support and communications training and to France’s most prominent research communities. Through these experiences, she has come to value professional development that is truly meaningful and useful to busy teachers who so often have even busier lives. She is a graduate of the universities of Warwick, London, and Exeter and a Fellow of the RSA with extensive experience in building language policy, designing curricula, recruiting, and training teachers. As she has journeyed from a young language assistant over 20 years ago to heading a faculty today, Divya has leaned on the IATEFL community in so many ways, at so many moments, which is why she is so excited to be a part of the Harrogate conference in 2023.