A few years ago, I was chatting to another teacher and mentioned I was thinking of doing the diploma. She said sh’ed been thinking about it for 10 years and still hadn’t done it! This was the impetus I needed to get me started (i.e. time flies … and you never get around to doing stuff!). I was pleased to have a great and supportive tutor, without whom I simply couldn’t have done it. (N.B. So you don’t waste time or fail modules, ALWAYS send your work to your tutor for checking/suggestions!)
I decided to start with Teaching Practice, as this seemed the most daunting. It was, admittedly, no picnic, and I’d never worked so hard in my life. However, it made me completely reassess my classroom practices (i.e. WHY was I talking so much and not letting the LEARNERS speak, and struggle a bit on their own - as they would in reality!?). Like the exam, T.P. is set within a limited time frame, so you get through it, … somehow! Sophia had prepared us so much in preceding T.P. lessons that the final external T.P. exam seemed a breeze in comparison!
The most challenging part was the portfolio, as it’s left largely up to you what you do. Choose something that interests you, but that you can read up on. Two of my projects had very little literature about them, so I struggled to justify my theories etc. I felt like I was expected to write like an academic on subjects I was researching, yet knew little about, and was somewhat dismayed at the rather negative feedback and down-marking shown to me by the TESOL U.K. person marking my final projects. My interest in the topics really did make them very interesting to research, nevertheless, and so easier to complete.
It took me nearly 4 years to finish my Diploma, and I wouldn’t recommend doing it as slowly as I did, as you can lose momentum (and the will to live, lol!). However, not rushing through it did allow me to really see how it could/can improve my teaching, and that development doesn’t stop with getting a TESOL Diploma certificate, which, I’m pleased to say I finally did.