A 4-week TEFL Course: Exhausting, but so worth it!
By Carolyn Mitchell
As this TEFL course in Malaga draws to an end, I can honestly say that any remains of exhaustion are -overcome by excitement for what lies ahead. The course has been intense, fast-paced, challenging and rewarding. But best of all, this course has allowed me to get a little closer to a lifelong pursuit – that of becoming a teacher. Although it seems like a simple transition to make at any stage of one’s life, it never seemed to be the right time to leave my chosen career and pursue something I had always wanted to do. Something always got in the way. Call it fears, timing or just life. But two months ago, I had the opportunity to take some time off and contemplate what direction to take next. And there was only one thing on my mind – teaching. I was fortunate enough to be raised bilingual and so teaching English to Spanish people seemed like a great place to start.
When I started this TEFL course, I didn’t really know what to expect apart from the fact that we would be studying long hours and that the work load would be heavy. And this was not wrong. But it was by no means the focal point of the past four weeks. The centerpiece of this course was no doubt the opportunity it gave me to discover my capacity as an English teacher. It was a very practical way to determine what it felt like to teach real students, and whether I was comfortable doing so. Thankfully the answer was YES!
What I have learned
In terms of the finer details of what I have learned over the course, a few words come to mind: IPA, drill, elicit, lexis, STT, kinesthetic, gerund, ICQ and many more. Not only was I introduced to these words and many others, but I also learned how and when to use and apply them. I learned about the importance of classroom management in optimizing students’ learning ability. And how this topic was just as important as having the perfect lesson plan. I was able to determine the best way to interview a student and discover what her strength and weaknesses were. And in doing so, I learned how personal a one to one lesson can be and the role a teacher plays in an individual student’s progress. I learned about the importance of structure in a lesson, but without forgetting the importance of flow. And of course, I learned about preparing suitable lesson aims that involved reading, speaking, writing grammar, lexis and phonology. But more importantly, I learned how to teach all of those skills within a context that would keep my audience engaged and interested.
Exhausted and excited
As I write the last few lines of this reflection, I feel exhausted and excited. Exhausted from hours of work dedicating to improving my ability to teach English but excited about jumping into the real world and putting my newly acquired skills to practice. I would like to thank the entire team at TEFL in Spain as well as my colleagues for accompanying me on this journey. In particular, a huge thank you to Miriam, John and Charles for guiding us so gracefully through this course and for sharing their knowledge and expertise with us all. And with great excitement I can say now that my time has come to head out there and teach…finally!