The best thing I've learned from my TEFL/TESOL course - by Samantha M.
2018-12-04 Linda Dunsmore Alumni Experiences
Before making my way through these certificate programs, I have had very minimal teaching experience, especially regarding teaching language. I have taken language classes, and I am a coach for Speech and Debate at a high school. I previously thought I would be able to handle teaching English as a foreign language without very much training or though. How much could really be beyond what I was seeing as a student and coach? I could definitely handle it. Well, I soon learned I was extremely wrong. I thought to take these courses on a whim because it would not hurt to have the training, even if I knew what was being taught. I quickly learned that there was a whole lot out there that I have yet to learn and I don’t think I will ever be done learning.
Throughout the main 220-hour TEFL certificate course and the CTBE course, the most important thing I have learned is that every single person is different. Of course, I personally promote difference and equality for those who are different. However, I have never sat down and thought about this on a teaching level. I have only promoted difference and handled it on a personal level. Much different from that of teaching.
Every Student Is Different
Each unit has continuously reiterated that all students are different. They may be on different learning or comprehension levels, or they may have different learning abilities or needs. No one person will ever be a “cookie cutter”. So, I need to be prepared to not be prepared, in a sense. I could prepare to teach pre-intermediate level learners at a business. However, once I assess them, I could learn that they are all lower, higher, or all scattered on their ability and comprehension with English.
These certificate programs have also taught me how to better prepare myself and handle situations where each student may be on a different level than the student next to them. The main lesson is to be adaptable and able to change to the needs of those I am teaching. At the end of the day, it is not about me as a teacher, it is about the student and how well they are comprehending the information I am relaying. If they do not comprehend the information, I need to be able to adapt my original plan to make sure they are properly learning. Not just going with the flow to finish a course. Learning.
The Most Important Lesson Learned
Being a teacher, or hoping to be one in the future, this is one of the most valuable lessons anyone could learn. Do not try to fit your students in a box, or force them to follow a lesson plan that is above or below their level of learning. Adapt. Change. Work with them. If the students are unhappy about the service, that will be voiced to their superiors, and then it will reflect on you. This could mean anything from being reprimanded to losing credibility within the whole community. So, be willing to accept that students are different, even if they are in the same grade, “level”, or program.
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