Come for the surf, stay for the city!

Mike took the Trinity Certificate in TESOL in August 2017.  Here’s his story…

Mike observing one of his peers during teaching practice, August 2017

Why did you decide to take a Trinity Certificate in TESOL?

I knew I wanted to teach in Spain and previously undertook a 120-hour online TEFL course. I passed the course but still felt ill-equipped to actually start teaching. I had a couple of interviews with various schools in Spain, one was successful but deep down I didn’t feel competent in my skills as a teacher. Teaching is completely new to me and the TEFL does not include teaching practice, it is purely a theory course. So I turned down the job and decided to get a better qualification and do a more teaching-focused course. This lead me to research CELTAs. I was a little put off by the intensive reputation the course has: four weeks of five full days, with assignments to do. I then discovered the TESOL TrinityCert at Active Language in Cádiz was over five weeks with four days weeks. This appealed to me much more. I wanted time to relax as well as perform the best I can on the course. Also the TrinityCert has the same prestige as a CELTA.

What made you choose Cádiz?

I chose Cádiz because I heard it’s a great place – I love the beach! I’ve travelled around Spain and Andalusia before but never been here. Also, Cádiz is very Spanish. The last place I wanted to go was somewhere full of other English people. I wanted to be able to practise my (poor) Spanish. Plus I wanted to improve my surfing…not that I had much time during the course mind!

What have you been up to since you took the course?

I was very lucky and grateful to get a teaching job here in Cádiz at Active Language. It’s funny how everything worked out. I never planned on staying in Cádiz, I was just going to do the course and move to another city. But I really, really like it here and started applying for every academy in the city. I forwarded my CV to Simon at Active on the advice of Kate, one of the tutors on the course. A position unexpectedly opened up and I was chosen. As I said, I was very lucky and grateful to T, Kate, Chris and Simon for this opportunity. I really like Active, especially their focus on our development which is quite unique for English academies here.

Where are you now?

In Cadiz! I rent an apartment in the centre of the old town with another teacher (Stuart) who I did the course alongside and who I shared an apartment with initially during the course itself.

Why would you recommend (or not!) taking a course with Active Language?

I would recommend the course, yes. If you are serious about teaching and becoming the best teacher you can be then it’s the best thing you can do. For me it was a complete introduction to teaching so everything was new. It was intense and difficult but extremely rewarding. It was a rollercoaster of stress and fun. But you have to be ready, prepared and determined to do it. You need to have (or grow!) a thick skin. You need to listen to criticism and the feedback and take it on board even if it sucks to hear sometimes. You need to accept that you will have no evening Monday – Thursday. The course takes all day but you do have Friday, Saturday and Sunday free. You will have assignments to do over the weekend but if you get them done during the day you can still enjoy the awesome nightlife here. We did every weekend!

Active is a great, professional place to do the TrinityCert. Fantastic location in the centre of Cadiz. The tutors are patient, experienced and very knowledgable. They were always available when we had questions or were unsure. The assignments and exam were explained to us very well. The only bad thing was the heat in the classrooms. But it is southern Spain and was in the middle of summer!

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