Friday, Jul. 20, 2018
All of the magic of teaching happens during the onsite portion of the TESOL Certificate Program where you put your knowledge and creativity to the test. One of the highlights of TCP is the opportunity to work with a Senior Teaching Mentor who guides you through your practicum week after week. Susan and Akiko share their experiences in working with their mentor, Frank.
When my teaching team met our mentor Frank, he immediately allayed our fears and showed us how to divide the lesson into discrete, but cohesive lessons. The structure of the two-hour class started with a language focus, continued with a pair activity that allowed students to practice with a classmate, and culminated in a task-based group activity. The class flowed seamlessly from one student teacher to the next, and the students loved it! This early positive experience gave us the confidence to continue digging deeper to improve the part of the lesson we were responsible for each week. We took turns teaching each of the three sections and gained experience planning for each type of lesson.
Frank helped us to shape and execute what we had learned in the online part of the TCP program into engaging and meaningful lessons. During our weeks of teaching, students were increasingly excited about participating in our lessons, and by the final weeks, they were fully absorbed in authentic communicative activities.
Frank approached us with a great sense of humor, encouragement, and pragmatism. After that first week of teaching, we knew how to structure the lessons, but it was up to us to develop and improve our individual lessons. Frank helped us to brainstorm ideas, gave us practical tips, and generously shared his experience in relevant and specific ways. He gave us the space to try out our own ideas while supporting and guiding us.
After each lesson, he provided constructive feedback to our team as a group and to each of us individually, addressing our specific questions and needs. Frank used a light and strategic touch in his mentoring to challenge us to refine our lessons and improve our techniques. But he also supported us with practical tools to develop as English language teachers. Perhaps most importantly, he revealed to us – through our own teaching – the joy of teaching students who forget they are learning English and become lost in authentic communication. We experienced that joy weekly, and he was right. “There’s nothing like it.”
Alumni, Mentors, Academics