Rachel Jones

Teach Enrich Empower

A massive learning curve

Having returned to the UK from teaching music at an international school in Kenya, I decided that I wanted to continue my work with international students and took The TEFL Academy course earlier this year.

I had been thinking for some time about taking a TEFL course, but didn’t know where to start. As I am mainly full time carer for my little son, I wanted something that I could mainly do from home. When I investigated The TEFL Academy course, it looked really manageable but also really fun. With an intensive weekend or lessons and then further study for home, it seemed perfect for me at the time. I took the weekend course in Nottingham and loved every minute of it. Judy Alden, our tutor, was so inspirational and creative. She taught us so many different ways to engage and teach different aspects of English. I then worked pretty hard for the next few weeks, putting together lesson plans and resources to teach different students of different ages and abilities. I’d recommend this course to anyone – it’s affordable and has given me a great amount of confidence to teach English as a foreign language.

After finishing the 120 hours, I began searching for fun summer jobs that could put my studies into practice. I applied for a couple and, only a week before I started, was offered a job for CERAN Juniors in Oakham in the Midlands.

As I have a toddler, I didn’t really feel that it was quite the right time for me to be setting off far afield to teach, but I did want to get started on my new career quickly, so accepted the job 40 minutes from where I live. Oakham is an absolutely beautiful town and the school’s facilities (and food!) are exceptional. In the evenings the kids did a variety of leisure activities including sports, board games and a zombie apocalypse (frightening stuff!) and at the weekend there were trips to London, York, Alton Towers and Stratford Upon Avon. The team of activities staff and teaching staff were all extremely diligent and the quality of the trip for the students was extremely high.

“After finishing the course, I began searching for fun summer jobs.”

CERAN is a method of teaching that involves the students being full immersed in the English language. Whilst students travel from all over Europe, Asia and Africa to study at the centre, it is hugely important that they enter into the CERAN method from the start and communicate solely in English from day one. This means that their spoken English improves immeasurably over the time that they spend in England. The priority is put on speaking and so most lessons involve a debate or drama activity rather than a long time spent writing. Dramas are a fantastic way to get to know the students better and they were often hilarious.

I taught for 4 and a half hours each day, working with groups of students who were relatively low ability – A2 and B1. For me it was a massive learning curve choosing the correct material and trying to make it engaging for a variety of age ranges (my lessons had kids age 11 through to 16 in them) but I now feel like I have built up a good stock of resources for future teaching. Once a week I taught individual lessons to pupils who had paid to have some extra attention and I loved this as I really got to expand their vocabulary and work on their pronunciation more closely.

I found myself using a lot of the resources and lesson plans I had made during my time doing The TEFL Academy course and so I’m really thankful for the time I put in to study during the course.

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