2019 Alumni TEFL Course Experience
In February 2019 I took on a part-time teaching job at a language school close to Toulon, France. I am a Dutch citizen and English isn’t my first language, but I am fluent enough to be able to teach several evening classes. And so, I did. Via this school, I was then approached by another institution to teach English to future hotel directors and hotel receptionists.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Marieke V. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Seeing as I have a bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management, this seemed like the perfect fit. While teaching I realized that being fluent in English and being able to teach English are two very different things. I found the TEFL-course and decided to sign up. Here is how the course has helped me improve my teaching skills and my overall teaching experience.
What did I learn in the course?
Firstly, the course has helped me by explaining and naming all the different rules of grammar. I already knew how to use English grammar correctly but to explain the rules to students, is a whole other matter completely. After finishing the units, the present, the past and the future suddenly became something that I not only mastered but that I could explain to my students.
Secondly, the course has helped me bring structure to my lessons. The lesson plans have helped me put order into my classes and have helped organize the language points that I want to teach. I now know that I first need to engage my students before I can start the study phase of my lesson and that mixing it up will keep my lessons interesting and will motivate my students. I have also learned that it is important to plan a few lessons but to not stick too tightly to the schedule when changes might be necessary.
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Thirdly, the course has suggested numerous helpful sources of teaching material. I have learned the difference between authentic and created materials and how to use them both productively in a lesson. The school at which I teach has very limited sources available and I was thus struggling to find the right materials for my students. This was especially challenging for my classes with the future hotel directors seeing as I am teaching very specific English language points. The abundance of internet sites where the material is available and knowing where to look has made my life a lot easier and my lessons a lot more interesting and enjoyable.
Fourthly, the course has described how to teach a proper first lesson. Building rapport with the students is something I am naturally good at, but during my first lesson, I only took fifteen minutes for introductions and then I moved on to grammar. From September I will do this differently and use the tips and advice that unit 20 has given me. For my first lesson, I will get to know the students through several activities, I will do warm-up activities, I will check their level of English and lastly, I will do a needs analysis. The grammar can wait until lesson two. This will make sure that the rapport that I build with the students is even stronger.
Finally, the course has helped me figure out how to deal with a class that contains students with different levels of English. This is the case with the hotel directors and receptionists. I found myself struggling to keep my lessons interesting while at the same time trying to help every individual student. During the course I have learned different approaches to tackle this problem, for example; pair work, dividing the class into different groups and give them different tasks, dividing the class into different groups and give them the same materials but slightly different tasks or even taking no further action. I will need to come up with a specific strategy after my first lesson when I have been able to determine the level of English for each student.
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In summary, the course has made my personal teaching experience a lot more pleasant. I feel more confident and knowledgeable as a teacher and it shows in my classes. I highly recommend this course to anyone starting as an English teacher; it has made a world of difference for me.
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