Teacher Award winners share their highlights from IATEFL 2019


After 5 productive days of workshops, talks, and thought-provoking discussions, IATEFL 2019 has come to an end.

We have left full of inspiration and look forward to sharing everything we’ve learned on the blog over the coming months.

One thing which we are really sad about is saying goodbye to our Teacher Award winners.

It’s been an amazing experience sharing the week with such inspiring people who travelled from far and wide to be with us in Liverpool.

Here are some of their highlights from IATEFL 2019.

Mariana Garrone, Argentina

My week in Liverpool is coming to an end, after five days of non-stop learning and meeting new people. During this short but precious time, I have attended sessions with worldwide experts in the field of ELT, learned what’s new in the area of education, got to know this breathtaking British city and made friends with people from countries all around the world, including the Pearson staff and the rest of the winners of the Pearson English Teacher Award.

I have enjoyed the city of “The Beatles”, which is a rare combination of the new and the antique. There is the hefty, prepossessing Liverpool Cathedral, the fairytale-like brick houses, the museums and the churches. There is also the A.C.C Convention Center, the venue for IATEFL this year, and the modern malls and hotels. There’s just about everything you need and want to see! When you come over, don’t forget to visit The Cavern Club, Turtle Bay and the statues of The Beatles at the dock. This English city has deeply captivated me!

The sessions at IATEFL have been one of the most enriching things I’ve done in my life. Imagine me running up and down the convention centre choosing what session to attend next (regretting not having a time-turner like Hermione Granger to attend more than one at the same time), and going to see the exhibition and for a cup of tea during the breaks.

The Pearson staff, who came from all offices around the world (UK, USA, Japan, Turkey, Spain and more), did nothing but treat us well and care for us throughout all this time. They are smart, passionate, kind people who lead the way in the world of education. I feel like I have known them forever, especially Richelle and Charlie.

Last but certainly not least, my newest friends Matilda, Tetiana and Pablo have accompanied and supported me through everything! We’ve had so much fun and I’ll surely miss them until we fulfil our promises to visit each other. A strong experience like this creates life-lasting friendships. Our bond now is special, since we all come from different ends of the world.

I don’t want to sound cliche, but dreams come true! Mine has.

Matilda El Hage, Lebanon

It was English tea and a muffin. I wrapped my fingers around my white marbled mug. My eyes widened trying to capture as many details of the breathtaking Liverpool streets as possible.

Five days ago, I was dragging my luggage and rushing to catch my flight on time. Pearson English had offered me a trip to the United Kingdom for IATEFL, and I remember the rush of adrenaline that surged through my vocal chords when the results were announced. It was all so unbelievable!

I pause ever so briefly to take a nibble of my cupcake and step back into the background of my thoughts. The wining and dining, the Pearson team’s hospitality, the unbelievable opportunities that have begun to roll as a result of the Pearson English Teacher Award… it has all brought added value and skills that will forever mark my educational career.

I know that my life will never be the same again, but since I am still gazing at the lovely glistening streets of Liverpool, I shall pause the wheels of success until the end of the day, nibble my cupcake and sip on my English tea.

Tetiana Kulynok, Ukraine

It wasn’t just my Angel’s best performance ever – as I thought when learning I had won the award – this was the result of the work of an amazing team that makes teachers’ dreams come true. The team’s name is Pearson. From the very first day I was left in no doubt – they are AMAZING!

A foreign country and native speakers might cause challenges, if not stress, to a non-native visitor. But I was inspired by Jeremy Harmer’s story: “I decided to take the job because I didn’t believe in it. You can’t leave it like this if you don’t try.”

The next day Steve Oakes mentioned a quote during his splendid session: “Stay with what you would run from.” And I believe I will teach this to my students.

The Pearson team also taught me how to bring the world into my classroom. DIVERSITY is the way to do this. Thousands of teachers with so many different accents, appearances, clothes, opinions, and backgrounds all want the same thing: to do the best for their students.  

A friendly Liverpool also showed the best sample of diversity embracing the world. Diversity makes the world alive and definitely brings tolerance and peace to people.

Deep wisdom radiating from the people like Jeremy Harmer, Andrew Wright, Ken Beatty and many more – fills TEACHERS’ hearts with the true meaning of teaching, harmony and love.

And finally, when my emotions and impressions calm down – and I am back to the salt mines – I will still have 2 gifts:

  • First, my students will not only have me teaching them, but hundreds of the best teachers from all around the world teaching through me.
  • Second, the power. With such events we don’t just share what we can or know, but rather multiply our abilities, inspiration and powers.

Pablo Santos, Panama

“One of the biggest secrets for being successful in education is to dare to teach and never stop learning.”

This is just one of the many phrases I can use to summarize part of the learning I have taken from IATEFL. 

Since my arrival in Liverpool, I have had the opportunity to meet wonderful, inspiring, innovative and passionate teachers, editors and writers—each one sharing their ideas, knowledge, strategies and techniques through brilliant sessions. Being part of this great experience is just fantastic and I am very thankful to Pearson for empowering and motivating us to continue learning more about the world of teaching, especially when the people who benefit the most are our students.

Find out more about the 2019 Teacher Award winners.

If you weren’t able to attend IATEFL this year, visit our Twitter and Facebook pages to discover some of the highlights.





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