I had clear expectations prior to the course that it would be intense and I was absolutely right, however I lost count of the amount of times we would laugh, sing, dance and be silly everyday. Exactly the right atmosphere to help lighten our load.
Our group was very small, with 4 students in total, which meant that we equally received more than enough time and guidance from our teacher Karen. She went out of her way to help us get to know each other and the students easily formed a very nurturing and supportive group, whereby we encouraged and praised each other from the first day of the course up until until we graduated and beyond. Solid friendships were formed :)
On our first day of the course, Karen told us that we'd be teaching a mini-lesson that same week on the Friday, and as daunting as that initially sounded, she built up the methods we would require throughout the week with ease. Karen assisted us with every single step from brainstorming lesson ideas, practicing the ESL techniques, planning our lessons, to preparing our materials and giving us incredibly positive yet constructive feedback at the end of the lessons. We each couldn't believe that we had taught, and that our students had had so much fun. That was a great end to a very rewarding first week.
Re-learning grammar was tough for most of us since we were all native speakers that had acquired English as opposed to having 'learnt' it in the traditional sense but Karen really helped to break down the various topics into digestible chunks, which we easily grasped, especially as she went out of her way to make her classes as fun and creative as possible.
The practical teaching element of the course had again initially sounded daunting but by the time the last week of the course had rolled around, we all felt extremely confident and were prepared with all of the tools and support required to teach a class for a full week.
Studying in Antigua was the cherry on the icing on the cake! Throughout the course, we had many materials to read and papers to write, yet working from the rooftop terrace of a cafe overlooking the lush Central Park and volcano in the distance made it a breeze. The daily walk to school each day was an absolute delight for my eyes, and taking a lunch break surrounded by gorgeous colloquial buildings, ancient ruins and colourful streets was exactly what we needed to recharge our batteries before the afternoon class.
Overall, it was an incredibly fulfilling 360 experience to have grown from being a student in a classroom, to a teacher that taught students grammar! I cannot recommend this course and Antigua enough to anyone who is considering becoming a TESL/ESL teacher. It really was a well paced course, in an incredibly supportive environment with the backdrop of such a stunning and fun town of Antigua.