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Seeing things in a new light: What TEFL brings to your future self?

Seeing things in a new light: What TEFL brings to your future self? | ITTT | TEFL Blog

I moved to Argentina almost 2 years ago now, and, surprisingly to most of my family and friends, I started teaching Catalan in a language school. I say “surprisingly” because they have made fun of my Catalan accent since I can remember, as it is more of a mix of accents put into one. Fun fact: you can’t really tell from which part of Catalonia I am only from listening to me. Although I try my best to speak “standard Catalan” when I teach, my accent does slip away sometimes, which makes it quite interesting. The sentence “all’s well that ends well” comes to mind in this situation. I ended up turning this into an opportunity to teach about the different dialects and regions of my homeland.

Improving your teaching experience

The main aim of the TEFL course is no other than to present you with a wide range of options that you can incorporate in your teaching. This goes from learning how to effectively manage a classroom, planning a lesson, or coming up with new games to learning that the methodology and needs to be tailored-made for each student considering the age range, the needs of your student, and even the nationality.

I didn’t expect to enjoy the “planning and organizing a class” unit that much. I have come to realize that optimization, time management and planning play an important part in the teaching process. It goes without saying that organizing a lesson can help you anticipate future challenges that can come up in the classroom so they don’t take you by surprise and you can address the issue confidently. And even if being flexible and being able to improvise is important, as life doesn’t always go according to plan, this also gives you a sense of comfort and confidence, which are important qualities if you want your students to be receptive and inquiring.

As for my experience, this course has provided me with a broad range of teaching resources and methods that will definitely help me improve the way I teach and become more confident and satisfied with my teaching, as well as easier for me to help my students reach their goals and motivate them.

I have to say I did have a hard time with the whole classroom arrangement issue when I started teaching. There were times I had a class of almost 20 people in a fairly small room and it took me a while to get to a place where the classroom disposition would feel natural and helpful for my students as well as for myself.

Teacher-learner: two concepts better conceived as an interacting pair

“Teacher” and “learner” are two concepts usually assessed separately but that are not intrinsically alien to each other. The concept of “teacher” can’t exist without the concept of “student” and so, these two are inherently united. To have a better understanding of what makes a good student, or a good teacher can improve your learning and teaching experience, respectively.

Becoming a better learner

Not so long ago, I found myself attending class for the first time since I started teaching English in the language school. I couldn’t help but analyze my teacher’s every move and sentence. I was constantly thinking: How is what she is saying influencing my learning experience? Into what lesson stage does this activity fall into? How is the classroom disposition helping the learning process? There’s a reason for everything! I hope you have fun finding it out.

Personally, I find it easier to put myself in my teacher’s shoes, which can help in my quest to finding the reason behind everything. I have also become more organized when learning a certain topic and finding resources that facilitate the acquisition of set topic.

As a teacher, I believe there are no silly questions and realizing this has made it easier for me to ask for help and inquire a bit more without feeling ashamed

Remembering your role as a student

Do you remember what it used to be like when you were a student? Take a deep breath and embark on a journey into your past. Ask yourself: How did I feel when I was a student? What worked for me and what didn’t? What motivated me? What was my attention span?

Remembering your days as a student can help you empathize more easily with the difficulties that your students are going through in the present. I firmly believe that each one of us is a permanent student in life, whereas you are a primary school kid, a university student, a non-formal education student, a daughter, a friend, a parent, and so on. The point is, that we often forget that to live is to learn and we are constantly learning new things and discovering new horizons. So, you have infinite learning potential to become the best teacher you can possibly be.

Are you ready for your own TEFL journey?

We are constantly trying to improve our teaching methodology and searching for new tools that can benefit our students. And if we pay close attention, we can also become better students in the process. As every person is a whole world, not every teaching method or activity works for everyone.

Learning in its purest form is fun and leaves you with a taste of plain satisfaction. But sometimes life and prejudice get in the way of this and taints our conception of what learning and discovery should be, which is inherent in our human nature. So, I encourage you to have fun learning and to inquire even about the smallest things.

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