Working in the private school, I realize just how much of my TESOL course I actually use each day. At the time I just wanted to get my certificate and to get on with it as I was already teaching for years. It was nothing more than a formality.
But once I had the certification doors did start to open, a higher pay scale and of course far more private students sought me out. It seems even if you know your job, and even very well, people still like to see the accreditation.
If you are considering a Teaching English as a Second Language Certification and are a native anglophone, you too can find yourself a satisfying teaching career throughout Europe. Recognized throughout the world, although many countries are happy with you being a native speaker to work in schools, a certification is beneficial. It may give you the confidence and the edge you need to work in a traditional classroom environment or in a language institute.
In the classroom setting, I find that it comes in handy specifically when getting the students to interact in groups or pairs when trying to get them to talk about a subject. I also spent a lot of time preparing lesson plans, by the week or month, and I use the template often to get organized.
Perhaps more seasoned teachers can handle the classroom setting better with 20-30 kids in each class, and are far better at creating lesson plans on the fly. For me teaching ESL grades 1-8, the lesson plans are already made for me. I spent many long hours creating lessons before I worked in the private sector, but the lessons are not wasted when supplementing standardized curriculum, which I find becoming more the rule and not the exception.
The private school has a standardized curriculum to follow. I have to say that going into class the first few weeks absolutely unprepared; I thanked the powers above for the prepared lesson plans. We progressed nicely, even with students that were testing the boundaries of their new teacher.
There were a few hiccups, which were to be expected, like trying to figure out how to find the CD’s on the server, as all my books CDs mysteriously went missing.
I needed sign-in codes for the computer and the Pronote homework systems, keys to unlock my many different classrooms, all while trying to quiet down the class long enough to actually give a lesson. And I wanted them to like me and me them and needed for everyone to feel comfortable with all the changes. Tall order!
I was the third teacher for these kids this year, with the unexpected resignation of my predecessor. I had to try to pick up where they left off, and of course my creativity took over, and fun tangents of music and games saturate my classroom.
My Motto, ‘I will do whatever it takes to get these kids talking in English.’ I think it was the energy of a new eager teacher.
I had already been teaching in France for five years when I arrived in Budapest, but only this last year did I work in a proper classroom setting. I have completely enjoyed every moment of it. To watch the kids go from low levels to talking, presenting ideas, writing creative stories; I am nothing short of impressed!
Even the little ones in my grade 2 and 3 classes improved even though I am not the person who loves to cut and paste, fold paper and colour, or try to organize a group of 19 kids all running in different directions. Instead I got out the coursework from my YouTube page on the Pumpkin Family and both classes now know all the characters in the TV show by name and are learning quickly while watching the English learning series. The other teachers are using the link too as a filler, so I am glad I can use some of the tried, tested and true lessons from France. All that hard work has not gone wasted.
We have also gone through all the songs from my Song and Play class teaching the old nursery songs from my own childhood growing up in Canada. They love them! And sometimes I hear them singing these oldies in the hallway and I think, well my job is done! And then of course the storytime page filled with beautifully written stories for them to read and listen to.
In a perfect world I would want to teach teenagers, grade 6-9. (Careful what you wish for, it often comes true!)
I believe that I can teach them far better as my character is strong and strict, very different than the European doting mother who works in many classrooms. Although I love the classes, really enjoy all of them, the older ones can use a native speaker like myself to help with accents and my personal experiences living in Canada, and travelling the world. It falls short on the wee ones.
I asked the principal of the school back in September if he would consider an extra spare class for English students that I could run; multi-levels that would focus on conversation and topic based vocabulary building. I was surprised when he said yes.
It was a huge success. Some students just wanted to talk, others needed help with their homework, but for three months I gave free private lessons three mornings and two afternoons in the school. After all, I was already stuck in the school waiting for our house to be built, and sure enough, December 24th we moved in to our Solymar home and my afterschool lessons were finished.
The outcome was that the few children below curriculum levels in my classes pulled up their socks and are were far more prepared to work in my classrooms until year’s end. Those few extra hours made an enormous difference to motivate them enough to get excited about their second (and some third) language.
For me, as their teacher, nothing is better than a class working hard together and enjoying themselves!
I felt grateful to go to work everyday and make a difference in these kid’s lives. I wish everyone felt like this going to work.
And now that I am on my last three days of work for the school year, I feel I should share how much I appreciated working these four classes. An honour, a gift and although next year I won’t be working in the school as much, (only two classes in middle school) I will always remember these four English classes during my first year at LFB with much fondness.