Anke Jacobs came down especially from Birmingham to take the CertTESOL at Athena Teacher Training in October 2016. Here she writes about her experiences before, during and after the course.

“There were unexpected learning opportunities and insights, making the course more valuable than I had anticipated.”

  1. What did you do before you took your course at Athena?

I was working as a primary school teaching assistant while studying for my Bachelor’s degree in Education, aspiring to become a teacher.

  1. What was your experience on the course?

There were unexpected learning opportunities and insights, making the course more valuable than I had anticipated. I enjoyed it very much and generally coped well with the intensity of it. Walks by the sea to clear my head really helped!

  1. Where are you working now?

I’m back in Birmingham with my family, working part-time for two local language schools. I teach ESOL Levels A1-B2 at one of them, covering lessons as and when I’m needed. At the other school, I’m actually a German tutor, teaching both classes and one-to-one.

  1. How did your Athena course help you to get there?

The course provided me with the initial teaching qualification, experience and confidence I needed to make the leap from assistant to teacher. It’s been a solid foundation to build on and has helped me develop skills transferable to language teaching per se.

“It’s a bit like conducting an orchestra: everybody plays a different part but they collaborate beautifully and it all comes together in the end.”

  1. What would you recommend doing or visiting in your home town?

That depends entirely on the person’s interests! Being England’s second city, my home town Birmingham has a lot to offer: arts and culture, history, sports, parks and recreation, to name but a few. I personally like the city’s numerous theatres and concert halls which offer a great variety of affordable performances, and the social history museums, allowing both locals and visitors a glimpse into Birmingham’s illustrious past.

  1. What do you like most about your job?

I love the buzz I get from interacting with and engaging my learners when my prepared lesson takes off! It’s a bit like conducting an orchestra: everybody plays a different part but they collaborate beautifully and it all comes together in the end.

  1. Any future plans/ambitions/dreams?

Future plans… most importantly, I need to secure sufficient work to be able to earn a living as a language teacher. Secondly, I still want to take the next step and study for a full teaching qualification. Thirdly, I’m still considering working abroad or elsewhere in this country for a while, but I’m not yet brave enough to leave my children behind. My dream is to eventually live by the sea, probably not until they’ve flown the nest!

  1. Anything else you’d like to share with people visiting this site?

Whether you’re a CertTESOL or English language student, make the most of the learning and personal development opportunities you’re offered. In my opinion, there’s nothing greater than expanding your mind and outlook on life.

  1. Apart from teaching English, what other things do you like doing?

I love travelling to experience different cultures and cuisines; visiting cities, museums, galleries and exhibitions; going to the cinema, theatre and music concerts; cooking for others or going out for a meal to socialise; reading crime novels and engaging in crafty things like felting or crochet to wind down and relax.