Sunday, 30 October 2016

A new challenge: studying to be a better teacher

I know, I know, it’s been ages since I last blogged – 10 months actually.  However I have made a new resolution to tie in with the start of a new challenge – to blog more.  And as for the new challenge, well I am about to embark on my DipTESOL (Diploma in teaching English as a second language).  This is the next step in a bigger plan I have been cultivating over the past year or so.

When I decided to take my CertTESOL three years ago, I really did see it as a stop gap as I took a breather from a 19 year career in advertising, PR and marketing and worked out what my next career move would be.  I never thought for one minute that I would thrive as a teacher and still be doing it three years later.  I didn’t think I had the temperament or patience, plus I swore too much.  Surprisingly I took to teaching like a duck to water achieving an ‘A’ in my CertTESOL and coming top of my course and toning down my ‘Sweary Mary’ side.

If you have read my blog before, you will know that my teaching career did have a few false starts – I still cringe thinking back to one of my first NET (Native English Teacher) job interviews I wrote about in this blog.  But despite the wobbly start I have spent the past few years gaining experience in teaching a range of age groups from 6 months old (ridiculous, I know!) to almost pensioners in a variety of settings from one to one tutorials to small groups to big school classrooms.  I have designed my own courses, delivered pre-designed courses and taught business English, conversational English, phonics, school curricula and even maritime English.  Despite the experience I have gained, I do feel slightly hampered.

You see I dropped out of university and never completed a degree.  I never saw the point at the time as I was lucky enough to get my first job in a very junior role at a sports marketing company where I worked on international golf tournaments and got to travel for the first time to Hong Kong and China.  This was followed by a temporary job at JWT, a massive very well-known ad agency, and through hard-work, long hours and sucking up to the right people at the right time I managed to get taken on permanently, promoted, and trained alongside all the milk-round super grads who had joined the agency with their Oxbridge degrees.  So I never saw the point of going back to uni to get a degree when I already had the job I would have wanted to get had I completed my degree!  The problem is though, that when you change careers and want to progress within the education sector, you really need to walk-the-walk and have some tangible qualifications and letters after your name. So, the purpose of doing my DipTESOL is three-fold:

1) To provide me with a higher level teaching qualification that will give me access to more job opportunities in the future
2) As part of a potential bigger plan to set me up for studying a Masters in Applied Linguistics or similar (if I decide I enjoy studying again)
3) But ultimately to make me a better teacher

So, from now until the end of next summer I am returning to student mode (while still teaching) and I am going to try to keep my blog updated so that I can document the highs and lows of studying for my DipTESOL.  I’m very excited to be starting this new challenge but equally slightly apprehensive. I’ve heard it’s quite tough at times so there may be some tear-y and tantrum-y blogs over the coming months! Regardless, the prospect of engaging my brain again and filling it with new information is quite exhilarating and I'm planning to embrace my inner geek.

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