The Oxford TEFL Blog

How the Trinity DipTESOL transformed my ELT career

Trinity DipTESOLJayne Kyte is one of our Trinity DipTESOL graduates. She has worked in the field of English Language Teaching in Switzerland for over 28 years, spending 9 years as Area Manager/ELT Consultant for Oxford University Press. She is currently a freelance teacher/teacher trainer and CELTA tutor. She is also a regular workshop presenter at local conferences and Teacher Development Chair for ETAS (English Teachers’ Association of Switzerland). Find out more here about her experience on the course and how it has helped her move into other areas of ELT.

 

How it all started

When I started teaching English as a foreign language with one evening course at a school in Basel Switzerland, little did I know it would lead to a fulfilling career in TEFL.

I began teaching as a way of getting out of the house one night a week, as I had three very young children. I loved being in the classroom right from the outset, and with the help of a good teacher’s book I got through the first year, relatively unscathed and hungry for more!  However, the more classes I took on, the more I became aware of the need for formal training. As the school I worked for offered a basic course in teaching languages communicatively, I signed up and so began my journey to becoming the teacher I am today.

After completing the LCCI Cert.TEB and a full-time CELTA in Cambridge, I was teaching up to 30 hours a week in various schools and companies. It was a hectic, exhausting life running from one lesson to another. In fact, my mother once joked that I could take a class on between midnight and 2am as there weren’t enough hours in the day.

How my needs changed

Slowly, I began to realise the need for more stability, as by that time, I was a divorced mother of three and my salary was supporting me and my children. I was still working at my original school for some of the time and was offered an 80% position which would include 40% teaching and 40% admin work, being responsible for the English teachers and teachers of other language such as Arabic and Chinese. I was thrilled with my new position, and it offered me the chance to try to influence the way languages were taught in the school. I was expected to organise teacher training and also do annual classroom observations with all of the 40 teachers I was responsible for.

However, I often encountered resistance from older teachers as they weren’t convinced by communicative methodology, as it was so different to what they had encountered during their own school days, and many of our teachers hadn’t had any formal language teaching training, they were ‘just’ native speakers. I therefore believed that if I had some more advanced education, I would be able firstly, to base my feedback to those teachers on research, and secondly, provide more meaningful teacher training for the teachers in the school. My school agreed to cover the costs of a course, and I began looking into possible courses.

How I found Oxford TEFL

As I had completed a CELTA, Cambridge was the first place I looked. I identified an online course for the DELTA but at that time (2006), you had to have a local tutor who would support you throughout the course. My school didn’t have anybody who could do this for me, so I had to look externally. I found a tutor but he wanted to charge a hefty sum for his work, the school wouldn’t pay for this, and I couldn’t afford it so I began looking at other alternatives. A colleague then pointed me in the direction of Oxford TEFL. I liked the look of the course. Online teaching was fairly new at that time, but it would offer me the flexibility I needed and I could spend a month in Barcelona at the end of the course, so I signed up and began in February 2006.

How the online phase worked

Although hard work, I enjoyed the online phase very much. I got to know my cohort online vey well. We were a varied bunch from all over the globe, and it was fascinating to learn about their teaching situations in comparison to mine, which had only ever been in one country. We collaborated well on various tasks and had online discussions at various times throughout the course. Our tutors were knowledgeable and supportive, I am still in touch with Lindsay Clandfield through my work with the ETAS (English Teachers Association of Switzerland) of which I am Professional Development Chair and Vice President. Although I often had to get up before 5.00am in order to work on the tasks and assignments, it was definitely worth it, and I gained such a lot of insight into why we do what we do in the classroom, my teaching definitely gained more depth.

How the face-to-face phase worked

In August 2006, I went to Barcelona for the face to face part of the course. It was great to finally put faces to names and I was in an apartment with the fellow trainees who I had got to know over the previous few months. I was very stressed about the written exam, in particular the grammar section, as I knew that I hadn’t done as much work as I should have done. Luckily, I had done just enough to scrape through, I was very relieved. Then we moved on to the Teaching Practice which was both enjoyable and challenging. The feedback from the tutors and my peers was invaluable, and I learned such a lot from teaching students who had a different mother tongue and cultural background to the students I normally taught. The final part of the course was the assessor’s visit and I found the phonology tasks really quite tough. However, the focus on phonology was so useful and further down the line in my career, I was very glad of the background teaching I received.

How the Trinity DipTESOL helped my career

Following on from the Trinity DipTESOL, I began to do more teacher training at ETAS conferences, and this led me to start looking beyond the school where I had been working for 18 years. I left teaching in 2008 and went into ELT publishing as area sales and marketing manager for OUP. In my position, I travelled the country speaking to teachers and advising them on the best ELT materials to meet their teaching needs. I also spent a lot of my time organising teacher training events. After several years in that position, I began to yearn for a return to the classroom, so in 2014 I took unpaid leave and trained to be a CELTA tutor, which I absolutely loved. I continued to work for OUP, but I was able to tutor on two CELTA courses per year. In 2017 I left OUP to work freelance as a teacher trainer, CELTA tutor and more recently teacher trainer for Cambridge Assessment. I enjoy the freedom that working freelance allows me, and also the variety it offers me. Recently, I was asked to work as an assistant course tutor on an online CELTA, so I have just signed up for a moderator’s course, and so my skills development goes on.

What now?

I turned 60 this year, but I still have plans for further development. In the summer I went to Turkey and worked on a CELTA course in Izmir. It was such an enriching experience, I learnt such a lot from both tutors and trainees.  I plan to continue teaching abroad at least once a year, as well as gaining experience in training teachers in the Swiss state system with my one-off workshops. I am planning on opening a small school offering general English classes and also in-company training locally which will give me a more regular income and allow me to get back to the chalk face for at least part of the week.

My advice to you?

To anyone wondering whether doing The Trinity DipTESOL will enhance their career chances, I would say ‘go for it’. There are so many opportunities for advancement in TEFL if you are prepared to put the effort in, but you need to make yourself stand out by taking the highest level of training you can. The Trinity DipTESOL turned me into a ‘thinking’ teacher, a teacher who knows why she does what she does in the classroom and why it develops the language skills of her students. Good luck!

If you too would like to advance your career in ELT and learn from our expert team of tutors, apply now for your chance to join the course starting on January 13th 2020.

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