Aaron is one of our Trinity CertTESOL graduates currently living in Barcelona. In this blog post he offers us an insight into his motivations, the course and future plans as a newly qualified English teacher.
Which location and date did you take your Trinity CertTESOL?
I took the course in Barcelona, June 2017.
Why did you choose that location?
I have always had an affinity for Spain. Since I lived in Alicante in 2010 to learn Spanish, I have been trying to come back to either travel more within the country, vacation for a while or live here and work. It seems now I will be doing all three!
After moving to New York after graduating from university, I wasn’t able to travel much until I had a gap between jobs this past May. I then remembered my friend did the Trinity CertTESOL course in Prague so I spoke to him about the program to see how valuable he felt it was before renting out my apartment, packing up my bags and leaving on a plane to Barcelona three weeks later! Clearly he made an impression.
What is your background?
I am from California and moved to New York City after graduating from university about five years ago. I have travelled the world extensively through high school programs, church programs, youth ambassador programs and through studying abroad in university. Through this, I have been exposed to many cultures and people and I have always wanted to learn about their cultures and teach them about mine.
In my professional career, I have worked in many marketing jobs but was feeling a bit unappreciated for my work. Sitting behind a desk all day long not communicating with people made me feel a little depressed because I am such a people-person. I have always wanted to get my CertTESOL certificate and after I finally got a break between jobs I hopped on the opportunity to come to Barcelona to get it.
What are your reasons for taking the course?
Learning languages is one of my favorite hobbies. I have learned Spanish and Portuguese over the past seven years and have picked up tons of phrases in so many other languages. Having travelled the world so many times and realizing that many of my foreign friends didn’t speak English as well as they would like to, I have always tried to help them without knowing how to do it properly.
Taking the Trinity CertTESOL with Oxford TEFL really opened up my eyes to my own language. I was surprised to learn so much about how we speak and write and the irreplaceable tools to help teach someone how to do something, let alone a new language.
What was the course like?
I originally didn’t expect the course to be so intensive. After a few days in, I realized that I needed to focus my energy and give it my all. This program has taught me way more than how to “teach English”. It has taught me time management skills, public speaking skills, organizational skills and how to be a good teacher. The classes are tailored to what you need to know about all the stages to creating a lesson plan and teaching all different types of classes.
I feel like all of the assignments we had were very well designed to get us critically thinking and able to evaluate students needs as well as how to help them. Although I have always been good at analyzing data, it is a little different when you are assessing a person and trying to figure out their personal needs. These classes and assignments were really valuable in building this weak area for me.
What were the other trainees like?
At Oxford TEFL, I met so many amazing people that were trying to do the same thing or had already done it and were teaching there. My class of nineteen trainees (two groups) formed a commoderary to get through the program. Lots of coffee, advice and peer correction plus the countless hours of teacher feedback helped me to feel like I was able to teach right after graduating. Don’t ever hesitate to ask for help from anyone there, they will almost always have a moment to look something over for you to make sure you did it right!
What are you doing now that you have graduated?
After graduation, I immediately moved into a new apartment. I now live with three Spanish guys and get to practice speaking Spanish at home. I am also starting to teach one of my roommates and his girlfriend English because they don’t know how to speak very well. After graduating, opportunities such at this present themselves all the time. You just need to be persistent on leads if you are trying to tutor people and you will have plenty of work.
I am also pursuing teaching online courses to people around the world. There are many programs that connect you with students eager to learn and you can do it from anywhere!
The Oxford TEFL careers service provided to all graduates is really useful too and I know I can use this service whenever I want if I ever need any help finding work in the future.
Where do you plan to go next?
I would really like to live in Barcelona for a few months (to a year) because I love the culture, the beach and the amount of opportunities I have here. After that, I plan to go to Asia to teach. I am really interested in going to Thailand, South Korea or Japan for a year a year long program. I have not been able to travel much in Asia and now that I have my certificate, I can teach in many schools all over. Having the ability to move to a new country and have a special skill set that is valued is amazing and I couldn’t recommend the Trinity CertTESOL course more to anyone that loves to travel and to help people learn new skills!