My First Year as a Teacher Trainer

My First Year as a Teacher Trainer

September 2021. A new city, a new job and with it, new challenges. Fortunately, one of them was not fighting over desk space – I had my own! Bright and eyed full of wonder at what was to come, this Kiwi kid from literally half a world away had just landed in San Sebastian to become a teacher trainer at London School of Languages. Having recently completed the Delta course, I was keen for the step up in responsibility so that I could put this hard-earned knowledge into practice. Dull it was not. Rewarding it was.

Over the course of this debut year my responsibilities have been varied and more often than not, exactly what I’d hoped to be involved in. In short, they primarily consisted of:

  • delivering Continuing Professional Development (CPD) sessions
  • observing lessons – a big shout out to all those teachers who “suffered” two observers at the same time!
  • writing blog posts
  • editing and proofreading material
  • researching and creating course content
  • discussing miscellaneous language/teaching issues
  • and of course, any odd jobs that crop up in the life of a teacher. Who knew that Larry the Laminator and Garry the Guillotine would have a new amigo?

And if that wasn’t enough to be involved in, London School of Languages (through its sister company, LTS) holds its own ELT conference right here in San Sebastian. This was a chance to hear from legends of the English language teaching world and come away inspired for the future and the fact that it happened here, on my doorstep, was amazing. The next one can’t come round quickly enough!

All of the above was of course done in conjunction with teaching my allotted classes and everything that that entails (teachers – you know what I’m talking about). Luckily, the dual roles were split between morning and afternoon so it was relatively easy to separate the two. The daily routine soon bled into weekly, then monthly and wow a year has flown by. Hence you dear reader, be you fellow teacher, student or stranger, get to read this moment of reflection.

As you know, we have been (and still are) navigating the thorn of a Covid world which has required a flexible approach to work and also an upskilling in technology. This year has reawakened long dormant PowerPoint, Microsoft Office and editing skills, and I must admit, there is a real satisfaction in knowing not only what all of those buttons do BUT actually being able to use them too! Though there is still plenty to learn. Regarding the production of content itself, I eventually found out that the old adages of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) and Less is Best, do ring true. No one wants professorial-type lectures nor oodles of material in the hope that something sticks; and I apologise for any excess from my early training days when this may have been the case.

As mentioned in the title, I work in the teacher training department, which means I’m surrounded by a team of highly experienced others. You can imagine the office discussions: excitement over semantics, debating the merits and pitfalls of teaching methods or falling in love with a new coursebook like it was a just-released Harry Potter novel, well, almost. Anyway, thanks to my colleagues’ collective guidance, I feel like I’m finally able to channel my energy and drive in a meaningful direction. Teacher training is a field that I’ve been interested in for quite a while but until now never had a clear path to achieving that aim. I’d like to offer a sincere thank you to everyone who has helped and been a part of my journey and ongoing professional development this year. Your input, no matter how small was, and is, appreciated. Thank you. You all rock.

Where to from here? Well, more of the above of course but who really knows? Part of the joy of teaching is that no two days are the same, even more so when you throw teacher training in the mix. Becoming a CELTA trainer is on the horizon, as is helping design future courses like our upcoming CLIL course and potentially delivering some webinars. This year has definitely thrown kindling on the metaphorical ‘teaching fire’ (not that it had ever gone out, but it definitely ebbs and flows), so regardless of what lies ahead, I feel excited and ready for the challenge. In San Sebastian, and at London School of Languages, this wandering Kiwi has finally found his home away from home.

 

Sam Denman

July 2022

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