- Lesson plans: idealism and realism. The course demanded precisely-timed lesson plans from students. Minute-by-minute timings were presented as standard practice. In reality, the detail within the plans was far greater than any full-time teacher could be expected to produce, and certainly not six or seven times a day. The course sets up new teachers with unrealistic expectations about their capacity to plan in such minute detail.
- Losing students' work Simply unacceptable. To have work lost twice, as happened to some students, is ridiculous. To have work lost because the folder it was in was stolen from the department's staff room by a member of the teaching staff is so far beyond a joke that it is almost unbelievable. Except I do believe it, because it happened to me.
- Teaching practice depends on good mentoring I was lucky. My mentors were both good teachers, and good mentors too. I received constructive feedback after I taught, and enjoyed clear discussions about learning aims and lesson ideas before I taught. Others weren't so lucky. If the quality of mentoring is so crucial to the development of trainees, how can the standard be allowed to be so varied?
- Level of commitment required Part of the way through the course, I was made redundant. Whilst I knew it was a blessing because of Japan and all, I didn't realise how much it would help my studies towards my Cert. TESOL qualifications. I sepnt more time in class than I had expected I would. I knew about the teaching practices, but hadn't budgeted for making further appoinments for feedback, as well as all of the lesson observations. In my pre-course interview, I was told I would need to take six half-days off work to allow for course commitments. In hindsight, I would estimate that more than twice this time was required.
Our moderator asked us if we would recommend the course to other people. The issues above notwithstanding, I still would. Whilst it's by no means a complete preparation to teach English, it does offer a theoretical and practical foundation upon which good teaching could start to be built. The course is good, but it could easily flop if you rely too heavily on the tutors. Being taught how to teach in a school isn't like being taught in a school. It's like being in business: you have to fight your way up.