08 October 2009

Cer ti fied.

So this past weekend, I drove home from ACL at 3:30 in the morning to complete my final weekend of training and receive a certificate of completion from the Oxford Seminars TESOL/TESL/TEFL program. "What does this mean?" you ask.

I ask myself the same question.

But you know, there was a reason (or multiple reasons) why I chose this particular certification.

I thought about just doing it online for half the price, but then I'd be...doing it online. And how credible is that, really? I also considered another Houston course, which was less expensive but was more hours of credit. Hm. Then I looked at where it was being held, and it ended up that it was in a hotel somewhere. That just seems slightly sketchy to me. The only one remaining was the Oxford course - only 60 hours, but it was also held at a reputable university and offered free job placement assistance upon completion.

Just in case anyone looking to get into the TESOL business runs across this, I'll tell you how the class ended up being. First of all, my classmates (9 others) were all very smart and genuinely nice. Our teacher was also very intelligent and had a lot of experience teaching abroad. I felt comfortable in the setting and with all the people.

The class ended up being, as the Oxford Seminars title suggests, more of a seminar than an actual instruction course. We spent our time discussing how to behave abroad, what to expect as far a job offers, the kinds of things to stay away from, etc. We talked briefly about learning styles and how to teach (book info), but it was mostly common sense or, as my teacher put it, "something we were going to learn anyway." Many times, our conversations devolved into rather morbid topics about the state of the world, but I usually felt we were discussing things worth discussing. We had to give two practice lessons, one alone (10 minutes) and one with a partner (30 minutes), and we were evaluated by the teacher and our peers. We also got a crash course on English grammar.

Basically, I learned that we'll probably have to teach from a book, which will outline the lessons for us. I also learned that unless you're a complete dumbass or are not ready to move your life to another country, you'll probably be okay and learn everything you need to know as you go.

In the end, I'm really glad I chose to go through Oxford Seminars. It might not be as many hours as some courses, but it was actually pretty fun and did a lot to prepare me mentally. I had a great teacher who told it like it is and gave us a ton of helpful information and resources. I had great classmates who were kind and supportive of everyone. I really do feel like I'm ready to begin looking for my future job. I sent an email to the teacher placement service to tell them I'm ready to start; my top three countries of choice are: Argentina, Peru, and Mexico.

Wish me luck! :)