Starting the Trinity CertTESOL

After extensive research, I found the course that I wanted to do so I did all the formalities (e.g. attend a pre-course interview and make the payment) and wait for the course start date which was in September 2019. I had a month to get my shit together at home, ready for the course. I bought new folders, stationery and a coursebook because it had a lot of tips on how you should write some of the assignments such as the learner profile and materials assignment units. I also got a new laptop because my current one was dying on me and I needed something reliable to do my work. There’s only so much work you can do on your phone or tablet.

The start date came by fast, and I was nervous as hell. I looked up the venue on Google Maps to see how long it would take to get there, so I wasn’t late, as well as get some food because I was going to be in class for four hours. I don’t remember much of that day because so much has happened since then and it was so long ago. I remember sitting down and looking around the classroom at everyone coming in and talking to each other. I was trying to figure everyone out and see who I was going to like and who I was not going to like. I’m also a little bit socially awkward, so approaching people makes me feel anxious, so I let people come to me. When everyone arrived and settled down, we had to talk to the person sat next to us. I hate these kinds of icebreakers because I end up talking about myself more than asking the other person about themselves. I was partnered up with a lady called K, who had an interesting background. From what I remember, she was from London but moved to Manchester for her husband’s work, who is a journalist. She also talked about running clubs exclusively for women where you can do stuff like book clubs or other hobbies. The class flew by, and the next class was on Saturday, where we had to do our first Unknown Language lesson, and the language we were going to learn was Portuguese (Brazilian). I thought it would be easy because I’d studied Spanish before and assumed they were similar. They are similar, but also very different. I enjoyed this unit because it helped me walk into the shoes of those who are learning English.

After those two classes, that’s when the hard work started. It was time to prepare for the first teaching lesson which involved lesson planning. It’s tedious and time-consuming, but it has to be done. I struggled to get to grips with this because I wasn’t always specific in regards to anticipating problems or the main objectives. Still, by the third teaching practice session, I got the hang of it and lesson planning after that was easy. This is where the coursebook I purchased would have come in handy. I didn’t think to read that for guidance before class. Once we had completed this, SZ gave us a run through about the place where we were going to be doing our teaching. It was at a day centre run by a registered Catholic charity. I had never heard of the place, but it sounded like a place that did a lot of good for vulnerable members of the community. In this case, we were going to be teaching a classroom full of adult immigrants. Obviously, I was nervous about teaching because I had never taught before. I also felt nervous because I never worked with immigrants before and of course, I live in a country where the mass media demonise such people, which creates stereotypes which are sown into people’s heads. Now, don’t get me wrong. I do not have a problem with immigrants. The majority of them are fleeing persecution in their own countries and are looking for a better life. Also, I was worried that they wouldn’t understand anything I said. I don’t talk like the Queen, unfortunately, and whenever I speak slowly, I sound like I’m condescending and I hate being like that. The class was over, and when I went home, I went to bed because I was tired and had to go to the centre to meet everyone so wanted to feel refreshed.

Lessons learned:

  • Be open when meeting new people and don’t be afraid to approach others. If you feel nervous while doing icebreakers, ask questions focused on the other person, so you avoid talking about yourself too much.
  • Don’t assume a language will be easy to learn because it’s similar to a language you have learned in the past.
  • If you’re going to buy a coursebook that’s related to CELTA or Trinity, USE IT.

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