I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the beginning of the summer/winter… depending on where you are 🙂 I am currently working on my research project, which is of course about native and nonnative English-speaking ESL teachers, and I am contacting several Intensive English Programs all over the US. The responses I get from the school administrators are amazing. Sometimes, they are very discouraging, and some administrators even admit that their policy is to never hire nonnative speakers of English. Sometimes, their responses are very encouraging. Some administrators are very enthusiastic about my project and do everything they can to help me, even though it is a difficult project. Sometimes, I doubt this project will make a difference and I want to quit. Other times, I know that what I am doing is important.
I am learning many things by doing this project. For example, I understand better the importance of helping one another in academia. One administrator told me, “I know how difficult it is to find participants for a PhD project but I am not interested in your project and I don’t want to help you.” Another administrator told me, “I love your project and find it very important. Right now, we are working on 4 other projects so we are very busy, but if you don’t find anyone else, don’t hesitate to call me again and we’ll be glad to help you!” Everything that people have told me, even the smallest encouragement, has stayed with me and helps me go on whenever I am discouraged. This will strongly influence the way I respond to people in the future.
Another thing that I am learning is that you can never be too prepared and you can never ask too many people for help! And that even if you think you have thought about everything, you’ll have good and bad surprises along the way. My best surprise was to see how many people agreed to participate. My worst surprise was to see that working with many people was a lot harder than expected. I wish I had a degree in management! If I had one piece of advice to give to people who are starting their MA or PhD research, it would be this: write things down! Everything! Telephone conversations, emails, letters, names, dates, places, thoughts… Because you think you’ll remember, but after having talked with 30 people and received 50 emails per day, you won’t remember anything!
That was my two cents for the day. So long.