Name: Aleksandra Kudyba
Trinity qualification: Teaching Young Learners Extension Certificate (TYLEC)
Aleksandra Kudyba is a CertTESOL and TYLEC-qualified English teacher based in France. She talked to us about her first steps in English language teaching, her experiences on the course, and the impact that doing the courses has had on her teaching career.
Aleksandra told us she has been interested in languages since she was a young child.
“As a little kid, I had extra-curricular classes for English until I started high school - my father is fluent in German and my mum had a very good level in Russian, so for them it was quite important for me to also learn a second language.”
Aleksandra credits her English teacher at high school with first sparking her interest in language teaching.
“The first time he entered the classroom, he immediately started to speak with an amazing British accent, and I thought to myself, wow, I have a teacher with English as his first language.”
“When he ended the lesson, he immediately switched to Polish and I was blown away - I thought, if I can get to that level of English, it would be amazing!”
“Thanks to him, I noticed that languages could be taught in an interesting way - not just by looking at the rules and doing tonnes of exercises. There was a lot of importance placed on speaking, and listening, so my level of English just skyrocketed.”
On leaving high school, Aleksandra decided to do a BA in English Language, opting for a teaching specialism, which involved her doing teaching practice at the high school she had just left.
She went on to spend her second year in Sweden, eventually moving to France after her studies, where she did an MA in Social Linguistics.
After completing her MA, Aleksandra started looking for teaching work, but she soon realised that she would need an initial teaching qualification, such as CertTESOL, to even be considered for a role.
Determined to teach in France, Aleksandra decided to do a CertTESOL, but even after obtaining the certification, she found she was still struggling to stand out in the competitive jobs market in France.
“In France the big problem is that schools really like to have only native speakers for English teachers – with me being Polish, even though I had an MA and certification, a bit of discrimination still happens, unfortunately.”
Happily a decision to do one more qualification really helped Aleksandra turn a corner in her career.
“I decided to go for TYLEC, and thanks to that, all the doors opened - I really have to say that it gave a huge push to my career and put me where I am today.”
“Right after getting my certification, I contacted an old tutor of mine to let him know I was TYLEC qualified and 30 minutes after my e-mail he immediately contacted me. I remember it was Friday evening and on Monday morning I was already at school teaching!"
With one job under her belt, her network grew, and before long, Aleksandra also started working with Lyon University.
“I teach all levels and ages - the youngest students I have are five years old and the oldest student I had was, if I remember correctly, 80.”
We asked Aleksandra for some examples of the impact TYLEC has had on her teaching.
“I realised the importance of how you set up the classroom; The old-school way of placing the tables in rows causes a lot of problems - that's why only the first two rows actually did any work, and the rest was just chaos!”
“I learned that there needs to be a dynamic, not just sitting there for an hour listening to a teacher. I was also astonished that kids as young as five or six can actually do pair work!”
Aleksandra told us what she appreciated most about the course.
“The input sessions and the observations were great - I really like that we always had the opportunity to see the other candidates teach and I appreciated that we were always welcome to give feedback.”
“It was also great to get to see the tutors struggling with a difficult student and then seeing how they react on the spot - how they try to fix the situation or make sure everybody's calm.”
Aleksandra is already looking ahead to her next course.
“In September this year I would like to start doing a diploma, so that in the end I could be a tutor on TYLEC courses to prepare the new generation of teachers. I do feel quite passionate about what I do, so if I could help someone else, that would be great!”