Teachers are often asked ‘What is the best part of your job?’. We normally answer in one of two ways. We either say ‘You can meet so many really exceptional people’, or we say ‘There’s nothing more satisfying than helping people to improve their lives’. This year we have been so lucky because, despite the really difficult circumstances we have all faced, we’ve been able to help some really exceptional people achieve their academic and professional goals.
We have all faced some extraordinary challenges this year.
For our students, the challenge has been to get used to online learning, and we are happy to report that they have risen to the challenge magnificently. Initially, some students were nervous about switching from classroom-based learning to online learning, but with a positive attitude and a bit of help from their teachers, they have shown us that online learning is not just a ‘poor relation’ to classroom-based learning. Online lessons can be fun, flexible and varied; and they lead to excellent exam results.
We would particularly like to offer our congratulations to our most recent group of trainee teachers, who completed their CertTESOL course under unusually difficult circumstances (even by 2020 standards!). We started the course as a face-to-face course, but part-way through we had to shift it online to protect the safety of our students and staff in line with changes to Scottish government guidelines. This is the first time anywhere in the world that a CertTESOL course has switched from one mode of delivery to another, mid-course, and the fact that we were able to do this so quickly and successfully is a credit to the hard work and flexibility of the trainee teachers and their course tutors. So, here’s a big thank you to Chiara, Flick, Robert and Stephanie, who are now qualified teachers and made history in the process! We’d also like to send our special congratulations to Diletta, who came top of her group in her Italian teacher’s exam last month while studying with us online.
For us, the challenge has been to shift our courses online more quickly than anticipated. Looking back over the year, we have achieved a great deal. We are now delivering our General English, IELTS, Academic English, Medical English and Teacher Training courses online, and are getting excellent exam results and excellent feedback from our students. We are about to start our third season of free online conversation classes, which have helped us to reach out to students across Europe, Africa and Asia. We are also continuing to work on exciting new projects such as our packages focussing on Practical English.
It’s been inspiring to work with such extraordinary people doing extraordinary things in extraordinary times. It’s been a learning curve for us all but in many ways the events of this year have helped us to be better prepared for the future.
We hope that next year is a better year for you all. The signs are that next year we will be able to start travelling again, so if you haven’t been to see us yet, why not make 2021 the year you visit Edinburgh? In the meantime, we have lots to offer online, and our priority, as always, is to give you the best personal service. We are available to take bookings and enquiries over the holiday period, so if you want to learn some new skills, get a qualification or just find the chance to practise your English, please feel free to contact email@example.com and we’ll be happy to help.