Alumni Spotlight: Leonie Gutzmore

After studying and working in the UK accountancy field, Leonie travelled to Japan in 2009 to try her hand at teaching. During her time, Leonie taught English to students of all ages, and travelled as much as possible. To solidify her teaching experience, Leonie chose to complete her Trinity CertTESOL.

Why did you choose this program?

teaching and traveling in Japan

I chose this program because I wanted to take my teaching career a step forward. Having worked in Japan for several years, I wanted to show future employers that I was serious about my teaching future by investing in it.

The Trinity CertTESOL course was often highly regarded by language teaching employers, so I decided to complete this course.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I was assisted in all areas by the course provider. The biggest provision was students for us to practice on each week as a group, as well as individuals for us to complete our learner profile. Once we were assigned a student, we had to arrange times to meet ourselves. The classrooms were adequately stocked with materials we could use in our lessons.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Before joining this course, it is important that you have enough time outside of class to complete the program. This course cannot be completed within the class hours solely and requires real dedication. The work required has to be of a high standard, so continue to check in with the tutors who are great at giving feedback

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

I decided to take this course once a week over five months. In one day we would cover a few topics in order to have variety throughout the day. These could include grammar and phonology, learning an unknown language or methodology. In one day we may change activities four times.

A few weeks into the course, we would have our volunteer students come in the mornings for teaching practice and then theory and review writing in the afternoon. Teaching practice was on average every two weeks per trainee.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?

Initially my biggest fear was that I would be treated like an outsider and that everyone would stare at me. Once I arrived in Japan I was just far too excited, happy, and intrigued to notice people looking at me.

I also spoke to my employers about it and they mentioned it was more out of curiosity than dislike. To overcome this, I tried to smile at anyone who looked at me just to break any tension either one of us might have felt.