Flatmates and Diploma buddies

Jack and JG had both been teaching for five years when they decided to take the Trinity Diploma in TESOL.  Here's their story...
La Caleta, the city beach of Cádiz

JG: As flatmates, we had quite different approaches to the course.  During the online component, Jack was much more organised and so gave me a kick when I needed to be getting on with things, but at the same time I had a calming effect and helped him not get too stressed.  Interestingly though, when it came to the teaching practice, he was much more laid-back about it, whilst I was the one tearing my hair out!

Jack: The good thing as well was that we were both in the zone – it’s like going to a library and everyone else around you is working, doing the same thing.  And there was a great feeling of camaraderie.

JG: We didn’t need to bore other people with Diploma talk!

Jack: But it was also great to have a moan to someone about it who understood.

Why did you do the course?

Jack: After five years teaching, I felt I was ready for the next step. I wanted a new challenge and also know that the Diploma will help me in my future ELT career, in terms of promotions or getting into teacher training.  As well as making you a better teacher, the Diploma can open many doors.  Having the possibility of doing the face-to-face component here in Cádiz, where I was living and working, was a great advantage.  I’d also heard that the DELTA might be more theoretical, whereas I was attracted by the emphasis on phonology and its practical implications in the classroom.

JG: Similarly to Jack, after five years I felt I’d reached my teaching plateau. I often felt like I was rehashing the same ideas and also that there were aspects of my teaching which I needed to fine-tune.  For example, doing the Diploma made me much more aware of how I can teach and improve learners’ listening skills – in fact, I did one of my projects on the topic.

How has doing the Diploma made you a better teacher?

JG: I feel like I’m a completely different teacher now.  And as a conference speaker as well, when I look back at the stuff I did before the Diploma, I know I would do something totally different now.  You have this arsenal of ideas which you didn’t have before.  Also, my planning is now super-quick because on the Diploma you spend days planning just one lesson!  Like I said before though, everything is fine-tuned and I’ve got a much better awareness of why I’m doing things.

Jack: For me, it’s made me much more aware of how I can make more of materials.  For example, I now exploit reading texts to the full – linking them to a listening I’ve prepared myself or working on phonology or another aspect of the language.  As well, I don’t just work on phonology reactively as I used to – I feel better equipped to foresee problems before they happen and I appreciate that there’s so much you can do with phonology, such as working on features of connected speech or looking at word stress.

What are your plans for the future?

JG: I’ve been working at a summer school in the UK for the past three years, and they offered me a DOS position for next summer on the provision that I had the Diploma.

Jack: Now that we’ve almost finished (just the exam in November to do), I’m really looking forward to having the time to apply everything I’ve learnt.  I definitely want to continue teaching, but I hope to get into teacher training or move into a DOS position at some point.  Having done the Diploma, I feel more ready to help new teachers, which is a key aspect of a DOS’ role.

To find out more about the Trinity Diploma, click here.

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