2017 was without a doubt a whirlwind of a year for me. It was a year where I felt that I had fully spread my wings in the teaching world and things were really starting to click.
If you remember from my review of the previous year, I had spent some time travelling around South America. It was an amazing experience, memories I will cherish forever. When my girlfriend and I got to Peru, she received word of a job opportunity back in Dublin that was hard to pass up. Just when you think you have escaped the rat race, they find a way to reel you back in. So, we made a collective decision – a surprisingly quick one – whilst eating food in a bus station, that we would stop travelling and head home. For me, I would take my next step in my career – post-primary teaching; something that I had initially planned to do at some point while teaching English but was putting it off until I felt comfortable in my role as a teacher. I needed to apply for a Masters and was going to go with Hibernia. I was very sad to scrap our plans to travel around South America, and I hope we can pick up where we left off again some time in the near future.
After Christmas, we were back in Dublin, my girlfriend was settling into her new job, and I applied to Hibernia. The next thing for me was to find a job. I applied to four schools: Delfin, Berlitz, Atlantic, and The English Academy. I didn’t bother with Kaplan as I knew I probably wouldn’t get the hours I needed to pay for my college tuition fees. My first interview, with Atlantic, was awful. I was given a coursebook and was asked how I would go about planning a lesson from one of the book’s two-page spread. I drew a blank. I didn’t know how to go about it. I was offered really low-pay based on my interview, which was fair enough because that interview was an absolute stinker. I just needed to blow off a few cobwebs and get my head firmly screwed on that I was back teaching and not travelling.
I started to find my grove in 2016. I think things started to click for me in the summer when I had two great groups of young learners from Italy and was also given the responsibility of managing the FCE class at Kaplan.
For the first few months of 2016, though, things were relatively quiet. Being a new teacher around this time of the year doesn’t augur well in terms of receiving a stable income. Students are on Christmas break to escape the Irish cold and senior teachers are assigned to most classes, leaving me to scratch and claw to secure work. There were moments when I was on the verge of giving up and finding something else to do, but I hung in there, and I am glad that I did.
I was wrapping up my degree in English Literature and History, as I needed this to get accepted onto an MA programme in post-primary education, at a time where I was at a crossroads work-wise. I had been working in retail for most of my working life and had found it to be too comfortable to escape from. My girlfriend suggested that if I were planning on getting into secondary school teaching, it might be ideal to try out English language teaching to test the waters.
I enrolled on a CELTA course soon after and passed, thankfully, and was hired by the same training school, Kaplan, right off the bat. I took a quick trip to Rome before I started my new job in July.
I had some ups and some serious downs during this formative year and this is what I can recall. I guess the following has had some sort of impact on my current teaching or has moulded me in some way.
I completed my Cambridge CELTA in June 2015 with Kaplan in Dublin. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it propelled me into the ELT world. Looking back on my experience now, I would love to do it again, just to experience that magic once more. That’s why it is my objective, with my Delta now in hand, to be certified as a CELTA trainer either this year or the next. The following is what I can recall about my CELTA experience:
I was very much at a crossroads in my life before CELTA. I had been working in retail for over a decade as my main source of income and was getting gradually tired of it. You can get incredibly comfortable in retail, but it is something I think everyone should do at least once in their lives in order to be a better and forgiving customer.
I was looking for a change and had recently completed my BA in English and History. I was ready for the next step. My girlfriend suggested getting into English language teaching if I wanted to use my degree to pursue further interests in secondary school teaching. No word of a lie, I didn’t even think about English language teaching as an avenue for me. It is now a huge regret that I have today that I didn’t even consider this prospect when I was younger. But, you live and learn.