TEFL Graduate Interview: James Clements
James completed his Trinity CertTESOL course at TEFL in Spain in Malaga in February 2019. After office temping for some time and tutoring GCSE Science, James decided to broaden his horizons and put his academic talents to greater use. In the blog, James talks about his experience on his TEFL course in Malaga, the advantages of the free careers service and what he enjoyed about the face-to-face and online teaching practice.
- What were you doing before you took the TESOL course?
Before the TEFL course, I was office temping. I decided that I didn’t want to work in an office environment anymore as I found it very tedious and dissatisfying. I have a BSc degree in Environmental Science (International) and an MSc degree in Environment, Politics and Globalisation, but I hadn’t been fortunate enough to have secured a long-term career using my degrees. I wanted a career where I could help people and put my academic talents to greater use. I had enjoyed tutoring GCSE Science whilst I was studying at university, and so I thought that it would be worth giving TEFL a try – and I’m very glad that I did!
- What attracted you to TEFL in Spain in Malaga?
I chose TEFL in Spain in Malaga for several reasons. I decided that I was most interested in the Trinity College London CertTESOL course because I was intrigued by the prospect of studying the Unknown Language module. I liked the look of the TEFL in Spain website and was impressed with the speed at which my questions were answered. I was also keen to enrol on a TEFL course overseas for a welcome break from the rainy UK winter! Furthermore, I love the Mediterranean climate and lifestyle and wanted to improve my Spanish and experience teaching Spanish-speaking students. Taking all of the above factors into consideration, the 5-week Trinity TESOL course starting in the second week of January, with TEFL in Spain in sunny Malaga, was the perfect choice!
- What did you enjoy most on your Trinity CertTESOL course?
I loved studying the Unknown Language module during the first week of the course. My fellow trainees and I experienced learning Hindi for four lessons. It was definitely a course
highlight and was a great introduction to the course for all of us! I really enjoyed my teaching practice sessions. I felt very proud of the improvements I had made during the course of my seven teaching practice sessions. I also had a great time getting to know my A2 and B2 Spanish-speaking teaching practice students. I have even kept in touch with some of them for online intercambio (English-Spanish language exchange) sessions!
- Were the trainers helpful on the course?
The trainers at TEFL in Spain were very helpful on the course. They went above and beyond their call of duty to ensure that every one of us passed the course – and that we were all enjoying our time in Malaga as well! The trainers complemented each other superbly as they work very well together as a team, but also have their own individual styles and specialist areas of interest in TEFL training. Therefore, all of the trainees benefitted from their complete spectrum of expertise, which enabled us to greatly improve and develop our abilities and confidence in the classroom as new teachers.
- What type of support does TEFL in Spain offer when helping you find work?
TEFL in Spain offer a full careers service which I found to be very useful with lots of hints and tips provided, including CV and cover letter writing, in addition to letters of recommendation and references. Unfortunately, the Coronavirus situation emerged shortly after the course finished and so I haven’t been able to pursue face-to-face job opportunities in Spain as planned. However, the careers service has been very helpful in supporting the move into online teaching during this unexpected Coronavirus era. I also found the TEFL in Spain Facebook group to be very useful. It has been a great platform to share photos from my time on the course in Malaga, to keep in touch with other TEFL in Spain graduates, and to keep up to date with the latest developments in the TEFL industry, such as online job opportunities and EFL resources.
- Tell us about the teaching practice?
I loved the teaching practice and greatly benefitted from the additional unobserved teaching practice after the course. I taught my A2 class unobserved for two whole hours! Teaching unobserved was important for my growing confidence and allowed me time and space to develop my own teaching style. More recently, I have particularly found the online unobserved teaching practice after the course to be highly beneficial. It enabled me to re-engage with TEFL and I gained valuable experience in online EFL teaching. I also practised using the video conferencing platform Zoom, which also enabled me to further develop and improve my IT skills and general use of ICT in the TEFL classroom. As well as seeing some familiar faces among my A2 and B2 Spanish students from my face-to-face teaching practice sessions in Malaga, I also gained experience of teaching Italian students (who attend TEFL in Spain’s sister school in Rome – TEFL in Italy).
- What are your thoughts on the after-care service once you had completed the course?
I definitely felt that there was an after-care service once I had completed the course. We have received a lot of continual careers advice and support. The team at TEFL in Spain ensured that our certificates were sent to us promptly and, more recently, during the current Coronavirus situation we have been heavily supported through the process of moving into online teaching, with invites to webinars, Zoom video conferencing chats and online teaching practice sessions available to all TEFL in Spain graduates.
- What are you doing now?
I have been applying for online teaching positions since gaining valuable experience in this new found area through TEFL in Spain. I now have interviews lined up and am looking forward to showcasing my new skills!
If you are thinking about teaching abroad and you would like to explore new horizons, why not consider the Online Blended Trinity CertTESOL course. This course allows you to study from the comfort of your own home, then join us in sunny Malaga for 1-week! Apply for your course online or face to face here or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book an informal video chat!