“I did it – so can you!” A recent TEFL graduate shares
Name: Susanne Blöcher
What were you doing before your TEFL Course?
I literally jumped into the course after just having finished my Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management in Edinburgh – my graduation ball was the night before the course start in Málaga! I cannot believe that since then, only one month has passed.
Alongside my studies I had worked in Tour Operating, but never had the feeling of doing something “meaningful”. I realised that I wanted a career where you can make a visible impact and constantly interact with people – that’s when Teaching came to my mind!
What made you decide to take the TEFL Course in Malaga, Spain?
After doing some research, I quickly figured out that only an on-site certificate such as the Trinity CerTESOLwould be recognised by employers worldwide.
Why Málaga? I would be lying if I said that, after years of living in Scotland, the prospect of the Costa del Sol’s eternal sunshine didn’t influence my decision. But actually it was because TEFL-in-Spain offers the unique opportunity of doing a Teaching and Marketing internship. This meant combining two areas that I am passionate about and providing me the opportunity to gain hands-on teaching experience straight after completing the certificate!
Reading all the positive testimonials on the website already made a good impression on me, which got reconfirmed during the professional selection process: a thorough Skype interview, an extensive pre-course pack to prepare future trainees, and the reassuring speed of response anytime I had questions.
How would you sum up your course experience?
In three words: insightful – immersive – intense
Insightful not only because of all the theoretical knowledge you learn in the input sessions every afternoon, but also because of the insight you gain into your own strengths and weaknesses. During the course, I truly became more aware of myself since you are constantly observed and evaluated by your tutors and peers, and expected to constantly evaluate yourself.
Immersive because from Day 1, even without any prior knowledge, you become a part of the TEFL-world with all its jargon (ICQs, L1, CCQs, etc.), you have a dual role of a teacher and a student and you will spend up to 10 hours in the school building surrounded by the same group of people working towards the same aims as you. I have never got to know anyone so well so quickly and I consider them as my “Málaga family”!
Intense because you will require immense strength and discipline to handle the multiple deadlines! Sometimes you feel like you have no brain capacity left after an input session, but still you know that until the next morning you need to prepare a lesson and finish that last section of the Guided Observation journal. Sleep becomes a luxury for those 4 weeks…
Which advice would you give to future TEFL-trainees?
Do your pre-tasks before the course!
This will make it a lot easier for you to get your head around the TEFL concepts introduced quite rapidly throughout the course, and save you some time to look them up when you are expected to complete the actual coursework.
Every trainee will have a moment when they feel lost, but remember that the whole team at TEFL-in-Spain is there to support you and make you pass! Take their advice, it is backed up by years of experience and extremely valuable.
Also talk to your course mates who are all in the same boat as you – once you support each other, it will get a lot easier and way more fun!
Take it one step at a time!
Yellow folder, blue folder, white folder to hand in… Sometimes you may have the feeling that an unclimbable mountain of work is building up in front of you, but don’t get intimidated! By keeping track of deadlines and always focussing on the next hand-in date, you will be able to manage!
Were there any funny moments that you remember from your course?
I remember plenty of shared laughs, such as in the week where we wrote each other messages in phonetic script only on the whiteboard in the common room that we had to decipher. Within the first days, we created a WhatsApp group and regularly met up outside of the classroom. My personal highlight was our weekly “TEFL-Bootcamp” on the Malagueta beach, organised by one of the trainees who was a Personal Trainer. Sometimes you just need to sweat to forget!
What have you been doing since gaining your TEFL qualification?
TEFL-in-Spain immediately allowed me to teach my own Cambridge Exam Preparation class – a bit scary as a fresh graduate, but actually just being “thrown in” the best ways to expand your teaching skills and looks great on your CV. I have also completed additional modules of Teaching Young Learners and Business English, both widening my career prospects as a TEFL teacher.
What are you planning to do next?
What you will realise when you finally hold your TEFL-certificate in your hands is that the whole wide world is open to you!
My next destination is the Middle East, having been fascinated by their culture for ages. I am currently applying for teaching jobs there, and the constant job postings and CV writing tips by the Careers team at TEFL-in-Spain are a great help.