My name is Maslin Costiniano and I would like to share with all of you an experience that I feel has contributed to my recent success in procuring my next step after graduation, which is an internship as a teaching assistant in Japan.
In my third year I took part in a placement scheme organised and supported by the Applied Linguistics department. It was an afterschool programme at Dylan Thomas Community School. In this programme we were guest speakers/teachers to students ranging from year 7 to year 10. In these sessions we were tasked with delivering pre-prepared materials with the goal of encouraging and/or motivating students to aim higher and to not be daunted by the myths surrounding further education.
My fellow student volunteers were very supportive and we worked together well. We all had the same ambition thus we were all motivated to make the most out of the experience, and it is in this attitude we developed our ‘teacher’s instincts’. I say this because as not-yet-qualified teachers we questioned and changed the pre-made materials in our second visit, as we felt that we wanted to take ownership of the materials. As a result of this initiative taking, we got more practice and experience in a skill that would not normally be part of the placement. We designed our own lessons and materials, and corresponded with the supervising teacher in the school to propose new topics. My experience in the lesson planning was quite valuable to me as I learnt the efficiency and value of having other teachers’ input and ideas. It was very informative to have a second, and often third, opinion on the activity I was pitching.
The most valuable experience for me was learning to adjust and adapt my already existing teaching knowledge (having done a CELTA) to suit a new setting. However, I discovered that many of the techniques and principles in teaching, whether the teaching is teaching English as a foreign language or teaching of English at secondary school, were interchangeable. This has given me more confidence in exploring the different types of students I might teach in the future. It has been quite enlightening in terms of the external factors that could affect students’ learning, for example, the importance of forging good teacher-student relationships and the value of working as a team in the teaching profession.
I highly recommend this placement for those who aspire to be teachers of any kind, it definitely increased my potential for employability: I’ve gone from having no work experience to now having several that I can include in my CV and draw on in interviews.