About Toby

I feel weird writing about teaching as though I know what I’m talking about. In the first post to this blog, I said I know I’m a solid teacher, but I’m not stellar. I have colleagues who are stellar teachers and I benefit from every conversation I have with them. Unfortunately, I can’t make them write a blog. I’m the only person I can force into writing a blog.

My credentials

The short version of this is that I have none. I mean, I completed Berlitz’s teacher training all those years ago, and I didn’t learn nothing. But, it was two weeks, eight hours a day, and apparent even at the time that it was intended as a fig leaf so that they could tell their customers they have ‘in-house training.’

Nonetheless, I began teaching more than ten years ago and, along the way, I learned through the tried-and-true method of ‘sink or swim.’ From time to time, I think about getting an additional certification, but I’ve since found a language school where I feel at home and get enough hours. Because I wouldn’t get paid more for a certificate, I don’t see the point in investing a lot of time in a certification.

What I have to say

By my count, that’s three paragraphs of me saying “I don’t know much about what I’m writing about.” However, I do think I have something to offer.

When I came to teaching and looked for advice on how to do it well, there were a lot of ‘paper mill’ certification programs that asked for money. Having moved to Germany before looking for work, I couldn’t afford that. I had to learn by pestering colleagues, asking students how they wanted to be taught (don’t do it!), and by figuring out what didn’t work. If you’re in the same boat, I hope I can help you skip the first several years of floundering.

(Don’t worry, you’ll still flounder.)

So, maybe the crumbs I’ve picked up doing this the hard way won’t be enough to make a meal, but they’re all I have to offer. If there’s a free resource that’s as good or better, let me know, and I’ll add it to my list of EFL resources. (In addition to using it myself.)