As someone with formal teaching experience as a New York City public school teacher and who also has a Master of Arts in Education, I was very particular in the TESOL program I chose. Two points really stood out for me as a student in the Columbia TESOL Certificate Program (TCP).
The first one was that the TCP is a real teaching program. The way I was taught to write lesson plans as a public-school teacher mirrored what was taught in the TCP. Many of the same classroom practices were taught in depth. The program was obviously geared toward TESOL teaching, but the teaching framework was the same. This was comforting, because I knew I was investing my money into a worthwhile program.
The second point of importance was the experience of those actually teaching me. The fact that my Classroom Practices teacher had 19+ experience as a teacher made me feel safe. This was the same for all the other TCP teachers. I knew I could trust them, because they had taught long enough to have tested the research being taught and to explain the practical applications in a way that was easily digestible. After the program ended, I was given the opportunity to teach ESL online as a Post-Certificate Teaching Associate (PCTA) in the Community Language Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. During this experience, I received one-on-one professional training by the CLP Level Coordinator and the TCP/CLP Director.
As I started to look for jobs, all my TCP teachers and the TCP/CLP Director were very supportive of me during the entire application process. They were ready and willing to provide recommendations. The TCP/CLP Director even took the time to organize a Zoom video conference to speak with a potential employer, which was helpful.
I now teach English for Academic Purposes (EAP) online at Jilin University in China, and I am very excited about it. In the meantime, my TCP teachers have offered to provide continued support, in terms of teaching practice, when needed. I really cannot thank them and the TESOL Certificate Program enough!