This blog post was written by one of our Academic Managers Stephen Behan about his time working for the college.
I arrived in Austria on Friday 28th March 2014 with very little experience as a teacher. I had applied to the ABCi TEFL for Young Learners course as what was then a volunteer teacher. The application process had taken no time at all….applied on a Tuesday, interviewed on a Wednesday, accepted on a Thursday. At least I’d given myself about 3 weeks or so to go on my snowboarding holiday, get back to Dublin, move out of my house, say goodbye to family around the country and then pack my stuff and go. “Only 3 months” they said. “You can always fly home if you don’t like” another mused. “Sure why not?” I thought to myself. Never in a million years would I have imagined that here I would be 3 and a half years later, saying goodbye to my colleagues as the Academic Manager for Vienna of that same organisation.
During that time I have seen the English Teacher Training College expand and improve rapidly, moving out of a small office in Gmunden into 3 large campus buildings in Vorchdorf, Pressbaum and Wolfsberg. From starting back in 2014 with just 2 other teachers to now accepting approximately 50 student teachers for each course. From training in a garage room with the Director of the college itself (on a Saturday and Sunday) to supervising my own Senior Teachers doing input sessions and practical training all scheduled months in advance using Google Classroom and Google calendar. From sleeping in the same building as the main office of the college, to having 3 separate dormitories in all campuses for student teachers alone. It has been unbelievable to see how quickly things have changed and all because of the dedicated people involved with the college.
The practical teaching experience and life experiences I’ve had in my time here is immeasurable. I’ve taught in every single Bundesland in Austria from the mountains of Tirol and Vorarlberg to the beautiful lakes in Carinthia and to the vineyards in Lower Austria and everywhere in between. I even spent a few weeks in Bavaria, bringing our own special style of Communicative Language Teaching to as many places as we could. I’ve taught thousands and thousands of students and visited hundreds and hundreds of schools and trained hundreds of student teachers and met thousands of Austrian teachers and headmasters – as well as working with some of the most incredible people within the college that help to make this all happen. And that’s what I will always take with me – the people I have met all along the way. Because that’s what you want to remember when you look back….the difference you may have made in a students life….the affect you may have had on a young student teacher……the way you could make someones day a tiny bit better by sharing a joke in work. Those moments I will take with me and treasure for the rest of my life. Thank you Austria, thank you amazing Austrian kids and teachers and thank you ETTC – it’s been emotional.