After five years of teaching English I now finally have a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate which is a professional teaching qualification recognised internationally. For the last six months I have been getting up every Sunday on my day-off at 8am (you might not think that’s so early but for someone who gets up at about 11am on weekdays its early!) to go to Kasai which is about 80 minutes away door to door.
The training sessions were between 10am and 6pm and that’s on top of my regular five days at the school so Saturday nights out have been sacrificed and my other day off has often been taken up doing preparation, going to observe other teachers or other such projects.
I had been meaning to do this course for a couple of years but often had other commitments in the past. I thought it was better to start back in January when the weather was more gloomy. It has of course been very nice at times recently but better to have it that way when the end was in sight rather than starting off in July while everyone else is out enjoying the Summer sun.
Though hard work at times, it has to be said that it was really enjoyable thanks to the banter and camaraderie between myself and my fellow course particpants; Arthur, Joe, Mary-Ann, Michael and Paul. The course included teaching practice every Sunday morning followed by two input sessions in the afternoon which were often a struggle due to the tiredness of all involved following what had gone on before. We were split into two groups of three with one group teaching to intermediate/upper-intermediate level while the other did elementary/pre-intermediate level.
As part of the course we learned Welsh for four lessons just so that we knew what it was like with the boot on the other foot. It was quite a shock to be put in this situation and really hammered home how hard it can be for learners of a new language. On top of this we also had to do a 90 minute interview on dictatphone and then complile a huge needs analysis of that student based on their weaknesses in terms of grammatical and phonological problems etc. There was a whole lot more besides that but I won’t bore you with any more details. It was hard work but rewarding nevertheless and I can now look forward to having my days-off back.
The photos below are of our post celebration drink last Sunday (minus Paul who had gone home before the photo was taken) as well as some photos of my final lesson from June 7th