The Terrace Pau

This blog is about teaching and learning English

Experiencing the heat! – A trip down ESOL lane June 7, 2012

Filed under: Language Training — The Terrace Pau @ 4:42 pm

It’s just a year ago since I embarked on an ESOL training course in Central London. It’s a good time to reflect and perhaps come to some conclusions as to whether or not it was a life changing moment.
Actually the life changing part is of no doubt, but not because of the course alone. It was everything else that my wife and I were setting out to achieve. This plan involved selling our house in London, moving to another country and setting up a new business there. But I digress from what I originally set out to do, which was to examine one year on the highs and lows of taking on a teaching course and hopefully make it interesting enough for others to read. It might also help others looking to do a similar course in the future.
The decision to do the course was an easy one to make as it was part of a long term plan that my wife and I had been discussing for at least two years. The company I had been working for for many years agreed, very decently, to pay for my course as part of my severance package. So cost was not an issue, the main thing was where should I do it? Here I took time to research the market and I would advise everyone else to do the same. It was obvious that living on the outskirts of London, it would be the first place to start the search.
In my quest to find the best course I spoke to Language Schools, teachers who had qualified themselves and also read a number of articles on the subject. What rose head and shoulders above the rest was International House in Covent Garden. This does a one month intensive Cambridge CELTA course which seemed to tick all the boxes.
Having chosen the course and the venue, the next thing is to pay the money to join – WRONG! The next bit was the interview to see whether they would accept me onto the programme. And what an interview; I wasn’t over confident but I had done all the reading that was expected of me so I should be OK. My role in my company over the years was as a salesman so I’m no shrinking violet, but my interviewer was going to put me through my paces. As it went on I felt there was a real possibility that I was going to fall at the first hurdle, but no, I was over and into the final straight. However, I just hoped that I would not have to meet my interviewer again. A real personality clash I told myself.
On the first day I met my new fellow students. Two engaged young Americans, a young Polish woman, an Algerian woman and the remaining four including myself were Brits. All of them were really interesting and had a story to tell in their own right. As we sat there waiting for our tutor to arrive I mentioned my nightmare of an interview to my neighbour. Just before I could finish the story our new tutor for the full four weeks came into the room. It was my interviewer and I was too far from the door to be able to escape. The next four weeks however proved that she was a true professional and a very good lead tutor.
I had fulfilled the first part of my plan now all I had to do was to get through the next four weeks without failing. I really had no idea what I had let myself in for. As the days past I realised that all the other qualifications I had achieved, came nowhere near the intense pressure that I found myself under this time and that included an MBA. I had entered this programme with one idea in my head – it was a means to an end. But it became much more than that. In the next instalment I’ll look at how the pressure increases with every day that passes.


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