Margaret Stafford explains how, armed with a Teaching Council number, she found a job teaching English as a second or other language (ESOL) in Waterford Wexford ETB
I work with newcomers from all over the world and I’ve taught a range of levels and course types e.g. portfolio, family learning, refugee programmes. Currently, I’m working with refugees under the UN resettlement programme - it’s a challenging but extremely rewarding role and never boring!
The Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching in Further Education gave me the confidence to be in an adult classroom and to teach effectively through teaching practice and theory. While I never found it easy to do teaching practice, I learnt so much from the advice and practical help given to me by experienced teachers and mentors.
As a mature student, the course changed my life and career. Armed with a teaching council number, I found a job I love. The course also provided the practical skills of classroom management, problem-solving, devising lesson plans, timings, learning outcomes and reflective practice.
It also included designing a curriculum for modules within the ETB which I found gave me insights into the world of learning outcomes and portfolios. I found the support of the teaching co-coordinators to be outstanding, particularly helping me find teaching practice placements. They were so approachable and committed to helping and nothing seemed too much trouble.
I received lots of support and advice from my peers – there is definitely comfort in knowing others are experiencing the same emotions and fears. Before I did the course, I was working in a job which gave me very little satisfaction. Now, I have a job which I can’t believe I get paid for.
I truly believe I have changed and grew in knowledge and understanding because of the Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching in Further Education. I’ve also learned that teaching is a learning process, which means that, once you start the course, you will be, in the truest sense, a lifelong learner!