TESOL Part 1

In the midst of my jubilant packing for Turkey I’ve decided to talk a bit about how I found this job, some ways in which to find one, and my TESOL Certificate I completed a few months ago.

To start with I did my TESOL certificate face-to-face with the School for International Training (SIT) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is VERY pricy; nearly $3,000 altogether. The base tuition was $2,200 or so and you don’t need books. Since I was driving 9 hours to get there, I was concerned with where I’d live, eat, transportation, etc. Luckily the program director, John Kongsvik, was just an angel  throughout the whole pre,during, and after stages of the program. He sent me a list of people I could contact to find somewhere to stay but they were still way too expensive for my post undergrad/unemployed budget. For just a room in these homes (mind you the owners and their family/animals would be there too…basically a host family) were $600! That’s the price of a really nice apartment in Oklahoma! I couldn’t afford that so I made the decision to troll Craigslist in search of something more affordable. I succeeded! I found an artist who was leaving for the month and who lived outside of the city; 45 minutes outside to be exact. It was a hard month in her quarters. She knocked $50 off the original $250 if I agreed to take care of her two cats and dog; which I of course did. I was thankful for this and it would turn out that I had to spend $80 bucks a week driving back and forth at 80 MPH and I would be in great need of that little extra bit I was saving..well “saving.” I had some incidents with her cottage in this unpaved, unincorporated mountainous village in-between Santa Fe, Pecos, and Las Vegas New Mexico; but it’s irrelevant to the course.

The Course

I loved this course and recommend it to anyone. I can only speak about it from the amazing group of people I worked with, but I think the curriculum speaks for itself. The school of thought is basically get out there and do it instead of me telling you in theory how it should work. This is was just fine for me even though I was fearful and nervous at first. It’s nerve-wracking just before you do it, but after a few minutes, you’re fine. Our group were Spanish speaking beginners and about a week into the program we had an Intermediate student come in fresh from Mexico. His presence of course added a layer of difficult to planning that I found helpful.

As for the structure of the class, they ARE NOT playing when they say clear your schedule for a MONTH! It is a grueling month that you’re going to work your ASS off, but you’ll be enjoying it so it isn’t that bad. A sweet soul from my class had to drop it because she had some problems with her house AND she was leaving the country at the start of last month. It was too much for her. We had a cry feast on a few occasions.

John Kongsvik & Melissa Bodolla (so she got married a few days after our class ended so I don’t know her new last name) are amazing trainers. Their chemistry added a nice seamless dynamic to the course. Their experiences are very different, but were so helpful. John is in his forties, family, worked in Mali (Peace Corps 3 years), Russia, Peru, and is fluent in French, Spanish, and Bambara. Melissa has been teaching in Oman for three years, converted to Islam, married an Omani, taught in Chile, and across the US. Both did SIT’s MA TESOL course.

My only complaint with the program is with the actual certificate itself. I was underwhelmed and unimpressed. It looked cheap and didn’t met my expectations. I guess I was expecting heavy paper, gold ribbons on it or something, not this paper I figured I could have printed from my own computer or something. Meh. It’s really irrelevant to the fact that I had a great time, learned a lot, and believe the course prepared me to teach on my own; not to mention immense confidence to go out and do so.


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