The instructors at TtMadrid ran a month-long program I was a part of, like an American high school popularity contest and the instructors were “the most popular kids” and they chose who could be in their clique. These instructors abused their power, in an overall lowbrow way but did it nonetheless. I want to make clear that 99% of tefl students who end up with TtMadrid will not have problems to the degree that I did.
On week two, at the end of the day myself and a few others were called to go with the instructors to another room. Everyone that did not get called in the class knew exactly what was going on. The instructors did this with the intent to embarrass the students. They told us that we “were behind” when another student and I asked them to provide examples, they just raised their voices and reprimanded us. They never told me or gave any examples of why I was “behind.” Later on, when I was chatting with a couple of the other students, they confessed to me that they could not understand why I was called in by the instructors. When I taught English in China many years back; I had no complaints. The parents gave me good praise. A TEFL certificate certainly was not required, only a Bachelor’s degree. I also thought the whole point of this TEFL course is to learn the skills we need to teach English. Since we paid an excess amount of money to take the course at TtMadrid we were going to get the TEFL certificate one way or the other. Whether we are fit to teach English well should only be to the discretion of our future students and that is it, not the instructors. Oh, and one day the instructors taunted me that “I would never be an English teacher” and I cried as they continued to do it. The instructors should only be there to refresh grammatical rules we learned in school as children and how to prepare lesson plans, which at TtMadrid they used the PPP method (myself nor other English teachers I have spoken to have not been required to use PPP method lesson planning in any of our (paid) lessons, which are either already provided or the teacher is given freedom in their lesson planning according to the level being taught). As a side, I will say PPP is a good format to learn. However, the instructors are not there to stroke their egos and abuse their power. So why did they feel the need to taunt and embarrass students that they claimed “were behind?” Especially if each set of students in a program are only there for a month, then they never see us again. We were not part of the “cool kids group” I guess.
The instructors themselves were TtMadrid tefl students in 2013 and 2015. Imagine if I would have decided to do this just a few years ago and they could have been students like me in the same class. There you go they don’t have Master’s degrees themselves in English Literature of Grammar or anything like that. They are all smoke and mirrors. Not genuine people to say the least.
Anyway, the point is, for example, I have a Bachelor’s degree. In order to receive that degree, I had to pass College Algebra. I was not very good at Algebra and went to the tutoring my college offered; not once did my Algebra Professor taunt me because I was not that good at it or was behind.
Afterwards, I went to the front desk and asked to speak to the owner of the TtMadrid. I went into her office and explained to her what happened. I told her that the instructors had a personal bias toward me. The owner was acting sympathetic to me. In addition, the instructors like to pride themselves as if they are Ivy League Professors. It is a TEFL course. As I was talking to the owner, she even said this is not “rocket science.” I was like yeah exactly. After they found out I had spoken to the owner they were clearly not happy. They may have thought it would have caused a slight blip to their agenda, but clearly it didn’t. This made them more hostile toward me for the rest of the program.
One morning I was running late. I was entering the TtMadrid building with my phone in my hand. Classes start at 9:30. At 9:31, while in the elevator, I got a whatsapp message from one of the students, that an instructor was waiting for me and where was I. Before this happened on other days, some students would come late on some mornings and he would wait until 9:33-9:35 to have one of the other students whatsapp them.
I got reprimanded by the instructors one day because I was in the bathroom for “too long” when I was gone no longer than any other day. Then when I tried to reason with the instructor he threatened me. (That I was going to be kicked out of the program).
One of the students was a lovely woman from a non-Anglophone country. She spoke very broken English that I had a hard time understanding her. With all due respect the English she spoke was so broken that I do no feel she is qualified to be an English teacher; while she knows written English better than she can speak it. I think it is general knowledge that non-native English speakers need to do especially an oral interview test before they get accepted into any TEFL program. In any case, TtMadrid did not care and took her money.
It turned out I was partnered with this woman too. As part of completing the course we need a partner to do a long project of various tasks. I had a very hard time communicating with her because of her heavily broken English. This put additional stress on me and I had to do more work to make sure everything was curated and ready to turn in.
When I was teaching one of my mock classes. I created flash cards that I did with colored pencils since I had to create the lesson myself. I am an artist and I think the cards were drawn up very nicely, colorful and neatly. After the lesson, when an instructor had to give me a report she reprimanded me very rudely about how my flash cards looked “unprofessional.” Another requirement is that students have to sit in and do a report of other students as they teach. More than once, I saw students make teaching materials like games writing with ball-point pen and highlighters on notebook paper not written very neatly (looked like chicken-scratch), not cut pieces, but torn paper. The instructor was observing those same classes and never reprimanded them for having “unprofessional” material. Then she continued to give them higher marks than I got.
I signed up to take a TEFL course in Madrid via International TEFL Academy. (In addition I took the ITA Teaching Online course, the instructor for that one was very nice. She gave me A’s in all the sections, including the intro video. Which I had a hard time with since I am not a vlogger. I got an A overall in the course too.) Well anyway, after I signed up for the Madrid TEFL course I was redirected to TtMadrid. The way those instructors treated me, they could sense I am a sensitive and anxious person; also for sure there was something about my face/appearance that made me a target for them. They really wanted to break me and gaslight me. I paid an excessive amount of money, so I was stuck. I could not just quit. The instructors did try their absolute hardest to make me quit the course. There was no way I was going to do that.