During my journey as a teacher, it has been a gradual realization that my passion lies in languages. I delight in sparking a passion in students for reading and writing. It gives me immense pleasure to see discussions taking place and debates galore in the classroom.
When lockdown happened, I felt slightly bereft as I missed our coordinator’s frequent workshops. I have always reveled in learning and somehow felt like I was being deprived of an opportunity to grow when COVID hit us. At this point, I found Coursera, and it paved the way for me to engage in an immense amount of professional development in the comfort of my own home. I dabbled in a few courses to begin with, and have even written about my journey of taking their annual subscription package on my blog. I was very impressed by the courses offered by elite universities and found them to be exceptionally useful.
One of the courses that I came across was the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification offered by Arizona State University. This was also included in my annual subscription, and given my passion for languages, I had to dive in headfirst. It was a daunting task as it was a specialization involving six courses to be completed with multiple modules in each course. As I explored the course, I understood that it would also require me to submit videos of myself teaching a class. This somehow reassured me that the course was legitimate, as these videos would be considered when I would finally be assessed for my certificate.
I began my first module with trepidation but was instantly taken in by the instructors of the course. By this time, I had already enrolled and completed multiple courses on Coursera, so I was well-versed with how to go about completing courses online. However, it was my very first time laughing out loud as I watched videos of the instructors as they came up with hilarious anecdotes, role plays, and situations that would entirely pull in a student.
Every concept was made easy, even more so with the humor that the instructors seamlessly infused into every module. Even though the syllabus was vast and covered everything from grammar to virtual teaching, time flew by.
The format of the certificate was slightly different than the other Coursera certificates that I had undergone earlier. Every Coursera certification requires you to take a quiz at the end of every module and peer review fellow learners’ assignments, along with having your own work peer-reviewed by them in turn. However, in the Arizona State University certification, learners are assigned additional tasks of posting videos and lesson plans for review with every module. The peer-review process would enable a learner to reflect on their assignment and modify it according to feedback. Arizona State University organized this certification beautifully, as by the time you would reach the end of the last module, you would have completed all of the work that students would have required to achieve their certification. This included 10 lesson plans, 10 teaching videos, and even a teaching tool kit sample and a teaching pedagogy.
While this process was hard work, the whole process felt legitimate and helped me prepare myself for a teaching career in English.
Once I had submitted all of the required materials to Arizona State University, I received in-depth feedback along with a rubric that graded my work. I felt an immense amount of gratitude to the examiner as I understood that the feedback was genuine and constructive. I received my online certificate quickly and easily and even signed up for hardcopy to be sent to my home. I was apprehensive about this as I lived in India and was afraid that my certificate could get lost in the mail, but it arrived a month later in mint condition.
All in all, this was one of the most entertaining and informative courses that I have ever taken. At the end of this course, I realized that my learning journey had been so much more important than the actual certification itself. I had become competent in many techniques to be used in the English classroom and exposed to tips that would serve me as a teacher throughout my career. I definitely think this was a wonderful way to get so TESOL certified, especially when I couldn’t even move out of my own home.
If you would like to check out my blog post on Coursera and whether the annual subscrition was useful, do visit the link below-