A few days ago I saw my name published in the ELT Gazette as part of the list of people who passed one or all parts of the Cambridge Delta in 2015. That’s when it hit me how much I’ve changed as a teacher thanks to going through the gruesome experience of working full-time and doing the Distance Delta.
For those of you who don’t know what the Delta is, it’s a teaching qualification through Cambridge that is considered a level 7 diploma (equivalent to Master’s level work). It’s for teachers of ESL/EFL teachers and consists of 3 modules–an exam, assignments (essays and observed lessons) and designing a course. It’s intense and complete nightmare but totally worth doing.
I still do a lot of the same things in the classroom that I did before my Delta, but now there’s a theory to the madness and I actually understand the theory. Here are some of the ways that my teaching has changed:
- I always start with a main aim or goal in mind and then work from that. That seems pretty basic, but all teachers are guilty of sometimes planning around an activity that seems like fun. Now I’m guilty of that a lot less often.
- I’m never thinking about one lesson at a time. I’m always thinking of the overarching goal I’ve set for the course and thinking of how lessons connect to each other. It might sound complicated and time consuming, but it’s actually cut down on the time I spend planning.
- I’m a lot more confident drilling language and focusing on pronunciation. I used to feel kind of strange standing in front of a group of students and saying the same word again and again with them repeating after me. Now I draw their attention to the movement of my lips, do whisper drills, silent drills etc. with absolutely no shame.
- I know where to look when I have a question about a language point or need a teaching idea. I never read methodology books before, but now I know exactly which one to open when I need to look up something.
- I’m not afraid to experiment. I love trying out new ideas that I’ve read about. I didn’t even know what dogme was before I started my Delta. Now I have the confidence to read about methods and then try them out.
- I feel a lot more prepared to deal with random questions from students. I used to dread teaching the present perfect because of all the questions students would ask. I had to research it and write an essay about it, so now I can answer any question about it without hesitation. I definitely feel a lot more knowledgeable about the language.
- I finally understand the difference between teaching and practicing skills. Now I don’t just practice listening or speaking in class. We focus on specific skills to help them speak or listen better.
This list could go on and on, but the bottom line is that doing the Delta is an endeavor worth taking on. It’s not easy, but you’ll feel and see the difference in your teaching. Plus, it opens up more job opportunities which is another major plus.