After 4 years of ITEPS I graduated last summer (2018), still doubtful if being a teacher was going to be my future. I started the course with these doubts, but lacking other brilliant ideas I decided to just go with it and see what teaching would bring me. Now, 4 years later, I can say that it brought me a lot, not only professionally but personally as well.
As someone who likes to keep a low profile, standing in front of 20-30 young kids was a terrifying idea. Especially if there’s at least 1 adult observing you from a corner of the room as well. I remember the first time this happened as if it were yesterday: I taught my very first lesson during a teaching practice 4 months into ITEPS. An ITEPS teacher came to observe me (and so did the classroom teacher and the teacher assistant) and I was so nervous I thought I wouldn’t be able to speak. The lesson was not so much of a lesson looking back. I read a book and had a conversation with the students about the story. But when I spoke to the ITEPS teacher and the classroom teacher afterwards (expecting a pile of criticism), they were super positive and sweet. It was the ego boost I needed to finish that first teaching practice.
Never would I have thought that I would take over a 4th grade for 2 weeks during my final teaching practice: planning all lessons, starting projects, following the curriculum, taking part in parent meetings. And during that, not even when 3 other teachers were standing in the back of the room observing me, was I nervous about what I was doing.
Not sure how my future looks like, I started substituting at Dutch schools since last August, to save money so I can travel for a few months in 2019. Substituting can be tough, as I don’t know where I’ll be teaching until a few days or hours before (no time to plan anything) and students tend to try and trick me into a lot. But it also teaches me to be more strict, know my limits, improvise and be flexible. It also reminded me why I chose to do the international teaching course instead of the Dutch one ;)
ITEPS has made me overcome my own fears of public speaking and I can definitely say that I have become a better leader, mentor, English speaker and person thanks to the lecturers and staff in Meppel. I'm absolutely sure they will do the same for you!